To Do Cooking

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Yunnan
928 Liuzhou Lu

What is it? 

Yunnan’s government is on a culinary road show, opening restaurants in Beijing, Guangzhou and now Shanghai to promote the food culture and ingredients of the famously bio-diverse region. The boss of this city’s outlets is a friendly Nanjinger who is vice president of the Yunnan Merchant’s Association.


To Do Cooking, Shanghai’s second restaurant in the programme after Beyond the Clouds, is a more rustic and affordable dining room just west of Xujiahui. The tables and walls are made of rough unpolished wood and etched brown glass pendant lamps hang overhead. Waitstaff wear embroidered shoulder bags and headscarves of the traditional coloured-stripe cotton cloth of Yunnan province.


How does it work?

Aimed more at families and local residents than the more upscale lounge Beyond the Clouds near the Bund, To Do Cooking offers a country-style menu filled with dishes inspired by the home cooking of the dozens of minorities of Yunnan; a cuisine rich in cumin, chillies, fermented sauces, bamboo, smoked ham, mushrooms and wild vegetables. An impressive 80 per cent of ingredients are air-shipped from Yunnan and they use no MSG or artificial flavours. A large picture menu illustrates the choices which you then tick off yourself on a paper menu.


What’s the top order?

Yunnan cuisine is perhaps most renowned for its mushrooms and there are different fungi in season every month, which are offered as specials on the menu. Right now, the fresh niuganjun (cow liver mushroom, 88RMB, pictured), sliced ribbon-thin and sautéed with Yunnan green peppers, are extraordinarily fragrant with a meaty depth and al dente texture. Also terrific is the grandma’s mashed potato (16RMB), a richly savoury purée with pickled vegetables, tomato and chives.


What’s the verdict? This fresh and hearty Yunnan food served in huge portions at decent prices is a great introduction to the cuisine of the province. Unlike Beijing, Shanghai’s Yunnan restaurants are thin on the ground (the group’s other venue Beyond the Clouds and Jinxian Lu’s Southern Barbarian being the notable standouts), so although it’s a bit out of the way, To Do Eating is a worthy destination, especially for big groups and families who will have plenty of room to spread out, with two large main halls and ten private rooms. 

By Crystyl Mo

Venue name: To Do Cooking
Opening hours: Open 11am - 2pm, 5pm - 9.30pm daily
Metro: Yishan Lu
English address: Second Floor, Belle International Plaza, 928, Liuzhou Lu, near Xuhong Zhong Lu, Xuhui district
Chinese address: 纳东云南小菜 徐汇区柳州路928号百丽国际广场2楼, 近徐虹中路