The best Chinese dessert shops in Shanghai

These places are pretty sweet

Photograph: @五条人糖水铺 via Weibo
One of the best things about living in a melting pot like Shanghai is easy access to cuisines from all corners of the country, and thankfully, that doesn't stop with the main course. From time-honoured brands to new independent innovators, here are some of the not-to-miss Chinese dessert shops in Shanghai.

Xiaotuanyuan Tangshuipu (小团圆糖水铺)

Xiaotuanyuan is a hole-in-the-wall dessert shop hidden along quiet Yanqing Lu. Its green-painted doors paired with grey-painted cement walls give the store a charming rustic vibe – no wonder it was chosen as one the backdrop for an episode of drama series, My True Friend.

Pop by this tiny shop (there are about five seats total) for its best-selling mango dessert with coconut milk and black glutinous rice (28RMB), as well as purple sweet potato with glutinous rice balls (25RMB).

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123 Yanqing Lu

Wahsum Tongshui (华心糖水铺)

Located on the quieter side of Nanjing Xi Lu, stopping for dessert at Wahsum Tongshui is like being transported to Hong Kong. As a fan of the city's culture, the shop owner opened Wahsum with the intention to replicate Hong Kong's vibes – think intimate seating, vintage-patterned floor tiles, coloured window panes and neon lights. Amongst a total of 150 desserts, mango sago (40RMB), original soufflé (44RMB) and serradura pudding (48RMB) are some of its best sellers.

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790 Nanjing Xi Lu

Five People Dessert Shop (五条人糖水铺)

What started out as a small dessert shop in Xiamen has morphed into a 400-store chain across the country. Five People won the hearts of many with its creativity in dessert-making and strong publicity – its jiggly, coconut-flavoured Piggy Pudding (22RMB for two) became internet famous earlier this year when the company offered to give 10,000RMB to any user on TikTok whose post featuring its sweets got more than a million likes.

Five People is also famous for its other picture-perfect sweets like caramel milk pudding (15RMB), assorted fruit ‘hot pot’ (88RMB) and rose pudding (5RMB).

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3299 Caobao Lu

Baoshifu Pastry (鲍师傅)

Baoshifu is a pastry chain from Beijing selling mayonnaise-stuffed pastries covered in seaweed and meat floss (31RMB/500g). Sounds meh, but this pastry had people queuing for more than four hours in the winter cold when it first opened its doors in February 2017.

Thankfully, the queues are less intense now. Baoshifu's snacks are freshly made in batches every hour and restricted to a maximum of two kilos per purchase. Other popular flavours include lemon floss (34RMB/500g) and salted egg floss (34RMB/500g).

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221 Xizang Nan Lu

Cassava (木薯糖水餐室)

Hailing from Guangxi, this shop is known for its cassava-based desserts. For 15RMB, you can get a very generous serving of sweet cassava root soup that is slow-cooked for hours, turning into a starchy and mushy mushy dessert. Other options at this one include coconut tapioca cakes (16RMB) and snow pear soup with white fungus (20RMB).

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87 Yangzhai Lu

Hashi Harbin Food Factory (哈尔滨食品厂)

Harbin Food Factory is a time-honoured confectionery that opened back in 1936. While it’s a nostalgic flavour for older generations, Harbin Food Factory also successfully captured the hearts of many young people who appreciate the craftsmanship that this brand puts in to every one of its confections.

We recommend the butterfly biscuits (45RMB/500g), which you can smell from almost a block away. Its almond biscuits (60RMB/500g) and peanut butter chocolate cakes (60RMB/500g) also tend to sell out quickly.

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603 Huaihai Zhong Lu

Shen Da Cheng (沈大成)

Opened in 1875, Shen Dacheng is the go-to brand for anything glutinous rice. Other than its traditionally famous red bean paste-filled qingtuan (4RMB) and salted egg yolk with meat floss qingtuan (8RMB), Shen Dacheng has also come up with new innovations like matcha and milk ‘ice cream’ qingtuan, pre-packed in fours and going at 35RMB on Tmall.

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636 Nanjing Dong Lu

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