We love Shanghai. And with top-notch cocktail bars, off-the-hook restaurants and fabulous nights out hitting the tiles, how could you not? Here's this year's shortlist, with nominees hand-picked by our editors, for the Time Out Love Shanghai Awards 2016. Want to spread the love? Click here to vote for your city favourites – shortlisted or not!
Everything about Nat Alexander's Yang Jing Bang concept is compelling – the story of its name
; that it's pop-up only; the collaborators he finds; and the 'pidgin' Chinese food itself. Wavering between classic Chinese dishes of the local area and inventive mash-ups, Alexander has been doing things this year to get excited about.
Paul Eschbach, Jean Georges Restaurants China & Hong Kong
Imagine being the executive chef of a whole building of restaurants. That's Paul Eschbach's life at Three on the Bund where he runs Jean-Georges
earlier this year he also took on oversight of Mercato in Hong Kong as well – a strong testament to the fact the man's killing it. The culinary programme at Three on the Bund has always been spot on, and it's Eschbach behind the scenes, with his team, making the magic happen.
Jenny Gao, Fly by Jing
Jenny Gao is making all your Chinese food dreams come true. First, it was with chic, contemporary guabao
, which she co-founded and opened last autumn. This year, she's turned her sights towards the cuisine of her hometown Chengdu, making what Gao calls 'Sichuan soul food'. A modern take on the region's street foods – 'sweetwater noodles' (tianshui mian
) and the like – her new venture Fly by Jing has been holding one-offs around town that pretty much sell out every time. We won't be surprised if a bricks-and-mortar pops up soon.
Camden Hauge, Egg
The girl don't stop. You can catch ladyboss Camden Hauge at one of the regular guest chef events at her café Egg, or at the monthly instalment of Shanghai Supperclub (which Hauge has run with co-founder Olivia Mok for three years), or at a launch party for her new events company Social Supply, or at the biannual food festival FEAST she started in the spring, or... you get the point. 'I contain multitudes' seems to be Hauge's ethos, and the Shanghai food scene is far the better for it.
A quick drink and a bite at Union Trading Company? If you try to do that, you'll just straight-up end up having dinner. Whether it's the irresistible menu of playful bar bites at Union – classy IKEA meatballs and Tater Tot nachos FTW – or oozy, gooey grilled cheese sandwiches with a hit of kimchi at his new deli Madison Kitchen, Austin Hu always has something delicious up his sleeve.
Take your friend who 'doesn't like dessert' to The Commune Social and you're gonna break a sweat grappling the plate away from them come the last course ('one spoon will be fine' – don't believe it). Dessert doesn't take a backseat to the rest of the menu here, which is all due to pastry chef Kim Melvin and her wild – and wildly tasty – sweet concoctions.