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Slurp on hot laksa at the top 3 places in Shanghai

We love slurping on the laksa offerings at Starling and Café Sambal, but variety is the spice of life, so Time Out hunt out a few more spots to try as the weather starts cooling down

Orchard CRC

Also known as ‘that restaurant downstairs from I Love Shanghai’, Orchard CRC is a treasure trove of great Singaporean food. Think black and white ‘carrot cake’ (35RMB) – a stir-fried dim sum dish that’s nothing like the Western dessert – and decadent coconut-based chendol drinks (29RMB). And while this eatery doesn’t win any prizes in the ambiance department, it’s worth stepping inside past the half manhalf fish statue at the door for the laksa (45RMB).

The broth is fragrant thanks to the liberal addition of belacan (dried shrimp paste) and boasts the perfect balance of coconut milk and spice. For those who like things hot, there are jars of sambal belacan (shrimp paste chili sauce) scattered about the tables; add a couple of scoops to help intensify the soup’s flavours. As you get into the bowl,the liquid becomes creamier and coats the authentic rice noodles. Warning: be careful of the tofu puffs; these little babies explode upon bite, sending scalding hot soup everywhere.

Orchard CRC Restaurant and Pub is at 1788 Xinzha Lu, near Jiaozhou Lu.

Yalong Yalong

The design concept at the charming Yalong Yalong screams retro Singapore with its wooden signboard, enamel plates and rooster emblazoned cutlery. The interior resembles the old shop houses that used to litter the messy streets of the Lion City. Opening earlier this year, this spot has been getting solid reviews thanks to the chicken rice (39RMB) and of course, the laksa (38RMB).

The laksa here benefits from a generous portion of coconut milk, giving it a strong aroma and flavour throughout. Although the soup is slightly too watery, the rice noodles remain springy until the very end, meaning every last spoonful is worth savouring. The bowl caters to spice-sensitive palates and goes easy on the addition of dried prawns, meaning that if you’re a traditionalist you might find the flavours too mild, but if you’re in the area it will definitely serve to alleviate any pesky laksa cravings.

Yalong Yalong is at Thumb Plaza, 199 Fangdian Lu, near Dingxiang Lu.

Huji Lan

Huji Lan’s accessibility and locationthe Nanjing Dong Lu metro station (head out from exit 3) is a big plus. It’s befuddlinglydesigned menu is less convenient, but it contains a delicious hidden gem, the Huji Lan laksa (48RMB), a must-order for many diners here.

Although the broth lacks the flaming orange colour that normally characterises this dish, it tastes considerably better than it looks – Huji Lan’s version would pass the grade in a food court in Singapore without any problems. However, while the broth has a good fiery kick, the confusing and unnecessary addition of string beans pushes this laksa to third place on this list.

Huji Lan is at Level 6, Hongyi Plaza, 299 Nanjing Dong Lu, near Henan Lu.

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