Shanghai Papa: classics with a modern touch
I recently discovered Shanghai Papa in Rotterdam and added this gem to my top five favourite Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands. Not only do I love the flavours of their dishes, it's just such a lovely place to hang out, relax and enjoy a meal with friends and family.
But what really drew me to Shanghai Papa in the first place was their story. How Shanghai Papa was established out of respect and love for family. Owner Maggie Chau took over her father’s restaurant when he fell ill a few years ago. The concept of Shanghai Papa was created to honour her father’s legacy but at the same time she put her own passion and vision into it.
Shanghai Papa opened just a month before the first lockdown in 2020. Ms. Chau explained that it was tough at the time and they had to find ways to get to their customers. She said, “We used everything, flyers, deliveries. When newspaper De Volkskrant came over to do a story, we hoped that all Covid restrictions would be lifted again so that we could welcome new customers.”
Thankfully business is good today. Shanghai Papa has a great location in the centre of Rotterdam. The interior is beautifully styled inspired by Shanghai in the 1930s. When I walked in for the first time, the scarlet wall in the back immediately caught my eye. 1930s objects, such as an old gramophone, add class to the restaurant. I love the rotan rice baskets stacked against the black ceiling. The decoration overall is just so very cool and stylish.
I visited Shanghai Papa twice in the past 3 weeks. Once for dinner and once for lunch. The dishes on the menu are available all day but I had more dim sum dishes for my lunch visit. On their menu, some dishes are marked with a ‘must try’ stamp, look out for those.
My favourite dishes so far:
✨Golden Prawn – Super crunchy fried prawns covered with salty egg yolk bits. Just yum, an absolute musty try!
✨Shanghai Papa (SHPP) Rettich Squares – which is turnip cake stir fried with cured meat, dried shrimp and a special SHPP sauce.
✨The classic Cha Siu Bao – what makes the SHPP cha siu bao so special is the level of fluffiness of the bao. It’s like taking a bite into a cloud!
✨Pan-fried Duck Bao – with a hint of hoi sin sauce, this soft-on-the-inside-and-with-a-slight-of-crunch-on-the-outside bao is a delicious dim sum dish for lunch or a great side dish for dinner.
Shanghai Papa has found a unique concept of bringing some of the old classics into today’s modern age. One Chinese restaurant I highly recommend. Go and check it out!
3011 HG Rotterdam
Phone: +31 102299689
Sun – Mon: 12:00 – 22:30
Wed – Thurs: 16:00 – 22:30
Fri – Sat: 12:00 – 23:00