Shanghai's best DIY salad bars

Customise your own super summer salads

Photography by Corine Tiah

Tired of having to swap out ingredients in your pre-made salad? Time Out checks out some of the best create-your-own salad bars across Shanghai.


Max & Salad

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What’s on offer?
This Jingan spot’s customised salad option allows you to choose from around 50 different types of ingredients. Customers pick their toppings by selecting the poker chips on display, each detailing the ingredient and the calories per portion. There is no minimum selection needed, but the staff recommend seven to eight items for a filling meal. We got complimentary kidney beans and croutons in our salad, and you can select up to two free dressings. Try their low-calorie apple yoghurt dressing for a sweet kick.

Good for Knowing your daily nutrition intake. The store prints out a receipt that details how much of your daily calories, iron, vitamin and protein requirements have been fulfilled.

Average price per person 55RMB

Max & Salad is at 282 Yuyuan Lu, near Wulumuqi Bei Lu, Jingan district, and four other locations around town.


Meal Salad

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What’s on offer?
Meal Salad’s DIY salad includes a colourful, standard base of mixed greens, purple cabbage, carrot, cucumber and sweet potato. You can then choose three additional toppings for free. The regular salad (28RMB) is filling, but you can add protein choices (6-8RMB) or more toppings (from 3RMB each) as required and each salad comes with a complimentary piece of wholewheat bread. While the menu boasts an extensive list of ingredients, on our visits we’ve found that not all of them are available at all times, while some have simply been discontinued.

Good for A cheap bite. At 28RMB, the basic salad is a great value lunch on the go.

Average price per person 40RMB

Meal Salad is at Level 4, Reel Shanghai, 1601 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Changde Lu, Jingan district and five other locations around town.


Salad Express

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What’s on offer?
Buried in the Super Brand Mall basement, Salad Express’ venue is small, but their salad bar offers over 50 different options (starting from just 2RMB) and 11 salad dressings. There’s no minimum number you need to hit, and you can even order just protein or just toppings if you want to. Some of the more interesting toppings here include coix seeds and buttered toast. The salad is presented neatly, and is convenient for takeaway.

Good for Generous servings. We had a thick slab of roasted chicken breast (12RMB) and half an avocado (8RMB) for our salad, and left full.

Average price per person 45RMB

Salad Express is at B2, Super Brand Mall, 168 Lujiazui Xi Lu, near Lujiazui Ring Road, Pudong.


Saladgreen

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What’s on offer?
There are almost 60 toppings at this joint near Jiangwan Stadium, divided into clear sections such as ‘Roasted’, ‘Cheese’ and ‘Fruits’. The calories per portion are listed on the menu (though they conveniently avoid doing this for the dressings, of which you can add two for free). There is no minimum order, but you have to select a base of either mixed lettuce or romaine lettuce, and the starting price of 12RMB seems a touch high. Still, the diversity of options makes it a worthwhile salad stop.

Good for Easy selection process from the neat and tidy menu.

Average price per person 55RMB

Saladgreen is at 99 Zhixing Lu, near Daxue Lu, Yangpu district.


Souperfresh

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What’s on offer?
Offering a buffet-style salad bar, Souperfresh serves up seven vegetable bases, over 20 other toppings and ten dressings to choose from. You also get to pick from ten ready-made, classic salads such as a creamy potato salad, egg mayo or quinoa salad. The buffet also offers soups, breads, sandwiches, pasta and rice. Try the super cheesy pizza bread and curry-like Spicy Thai pumpkin soup for hearty accompaniments. A note of caution though: this store is slated to close in August and it is yet to find a new location.

Good for Having a variety of options. And adding heartier sustenance.

Average price per person 68RMB

Souperfresh is at 3213 Hongmei Lu, near Chengjiaqiaozhi Lu, Minhang district.


Sproutworks

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What’s on offer?
A familiar option around town, Sproutworks offer a range of ‘sides’, which are like mini-salads, of which you can choose two to six (30-70RMB) from 14 pre-made options. The sides frequently change, but some of our favourites include the Indian carrot salad and the southwestern bean salad. Also try the light, fresh kale with red quinoa side. You can also opt for one of the fresh tossed salads.

Good for A reliable, reasonable meal; check out the lunch deals.

Average price per person 50RMB

Sproutworks is at B2, Super Brand Mall, 168 Lujiazui Xi Lu, near Lujiazui Ring Road, Pudong and four other locations around town.

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