For Jamie Pea, brunch is, quite literally, life. A transplant from New Jersey, Pea leads the kitchen at popular Shanghai restaurant Egg, where everyone from out-of-towners to the city’s entrepreneurial up-and-comers goes for tall iced coffees and a menu of seasonal dishes (all of which, of course, can be topped with an egg). Working side by side with owner Camden Hauge, Pea makes every millennial’s favorite meal her number one priority daily, whether she’s eating it herself or cooking it for Egg’s loyal fanbase.
“Though I rarely get out for a typical brunch—working at Egg, known for serving brunch seven days a week, keeps me pretty busy on weekends—the rare moments I do get out for a late-morning indulgence are sweeter for it,” Pea says. Here, the brunch master shares her favorite spots to spend slow mornings in Shanghai.
Heritage by Madison
An elegant yet relaxed place for small plates with big flavor and thoughtfully sourced ingredients, cooked and plated in front of you if you get a seat at the open kitchen bar top. The food reflects chef Austin Hu’s heritage—American and Chinese with a background in fine dining, as well as over-the-top comfort food. Favorite dishes include General Hu’s Cauliflower, crispy and sticky-sweet, and duck bolognese alla chittara topped with cold julienned vegetables to cut the richness. The small portions mean you can pick-and-mix (and, in my case, end up eating every single dish on the menu).
Unit 107, N1 Block, The Bund Finance Center, 600 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu. 中山东二路600号BFC外滩金融中心北区一层N1栋107.
Wei Xiang Zhai (味香斋)
A no-frills, French Concession stalwart run by a crew of cheery Shanghainese grannies, specializing in one superlative thing: spools of springy noodles topped with a rich, savory sesame sauce, sprinkled with onion and a ruby-red drizzle of chili oil. Sidling into the rickety, faux-wooden booths with the sun streaming through the perpetually open doors completes the experience of this local breakfast dish and all-day-snack.
14 Yandang Lu (雁荡路14号)
XiangLe Baozi is where I and my neighbors get our daily bread in the form of baozi—sweet, fluffy steamed buns filled with meat or a variety of bright-green leafy veg and pickled green beans. I like the veggie ones, including the spicy tofu baozi. It’s a rough, gruff little landmark on the main intersection of XiangYang and ChangLe (hence its name combining the two streets), where you’ll see the gruff ladies lifting high piles of giant steamer baskets, wide as bistro tables, bathing the long queue of old neighborhood folks and young expats in plumes of sweet, yeasty breakfast fog. They’re open daily from 6:00 until they run out—usually by 12 p.m.
Corner of XiangYang Bei Lu and ChangLe Lu