Why Shanghai’s Bustling Private Dining Scene is on the rise

Food is important in China. And with it, tech is becoming ever more significant as more Chinese app companies become top gamers. Yet the marriage of the two has given rise to huge opportunities for passionate eaters, entrepreneurs, chefs and restaurants of all scales. With popular food delivery apps such as

With popular food delivery apps such as Baidu Waimai and ele.me being used in almost every city in China, a new wave of social dining apps have come to the public’s attention in other big cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen.

Apps such as Youfan, Huoli, Homeeat have created a sub-section of foods apps, with a focus on private dining, and under-the-radar dining locations; hidden gems where the surprise is both the food and the location.

Here, we take you through some of the city’s best and well-hidden venues, with special courses created by famous chefs in the great melting pot that is Shanghai.


Cheng Yuan

115 Tai’an Road / 86 (0)21 3218 1092

A secret eatery buried at the back of an anonymous nongtang, Cheng Yuan serves as a perfect place to host those who have a soft spot for 1930s Shanghai. Inside, it’s a clutter of antiques, and vitrines housing all manner of chinoiserie. The 7-course Shanghainese food takes place in three of its rooms – we recommend the one with a glass atrium overlooking the serene gardens.

david mao
David Mao Private Dining

Tel: 86 138 1607 5824

Dining at Mao’s private kitchen is guaranteed to be a fun experience. A movie star in 1980s Taiwan, and a head-strong PR working with top-notch fashion brands before becoming an award-winning chef leaving his culinary footprints in Vancouver, Paris, Taiwan and most recently Shanghai, Chef Mao has a pocketful of stories to lead you into his culinary world.


Tai’an Table

This is the new restaurant project of long-time Shanghai chef and restaurateur Stefan Stiller: a small dining room with an open kitchen and a seasonal tasting menu. Expect a 10-course Asian Western fusion meal in an old lanehouse near Jiaotong University – very low-key and modern. Address details are given out when booking on its website.


VVJ Kitchen

Contact: vivian@eatriceyet.com

Husband and wife duo Jeff and Vivian’s 5-course Italian feast has been one of the most booked on Huoli. They’ve hosted guests from various demographics, ages, races and nationalities, from expats who want to play host to their families coming to town, to travellers craving a taste of Chinese family kitchen.

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