Yi Jia Yi ("1+1"), Shanghai
This was frustrating. I asked around to see what one usually eats for a late night snack in Shanghai, and believe it or not, the answer was Yong He soy milk (like the one from Taiwan - although also with a strange knockoff of the KFC Colonel Sanders logo, I might add). Not satisfied, I asked some others, and another guy recommended Din Tai Fung. Finally, I just jumped in a cab and told the cabbie to take me to late night food. He took me to some street (was it Xian Xia Road?) that was supposedly famous for late night food in Shanghai. And what do they serve there? Taiwanese food like hot pot! Argh - I didn't come all the way to Mainland China to eat Taiwanese food. So I scoured the street, back and forth, back and forth. I could not find a place to my satisfaction. I figured that the best places had to be the ones with the biggest crowds, but the places with the biggest crowds were the Taiwanese hot pot places. After a few rounds of unsuccessful searching, I capitulated and ended up at this "1+1" restaurant, which I thought I heard the cabbie mentioning, so I figured at least it was somewhat local. (To my dismay, the full name of the restaurant mentioned Tainan Dan Zi Mian from Taiwan. I just can't win!)
It was not very good. The waitress could not recommend anything, so I ended up ordering some Sichuan "water cooked beef." It lacked spiciness. It lacked numbingess. And the beef was so artificially tender that I suspect that heavy meat tenderizer was used. Wow - Chuan back in Singapore was seriously much better and authentic (as were places that I had been to in Beijing). Hmph. I suspect that maybe this place is like a Denny's of Shanghai or something. Well, at least it wasn't a ripoff. I paid only RMB20 (US$2.50).