Ask Chinese designer Han Feng what she loves most about her hometown, and she doesn’t hesitate: the art scene. One of her top stops is James Cohan Gallery, in the French Concession. “He’s brought international talent, such as Italy’s Francesco Clemente and New York video artist Bill Viola, to China for the first time,” she says. Feng reveals a few other favorites below.


“In the morning, I often head to the intersection of Changle and Xiangyang North Roads for a hearty meal fresh off the outdoor stoves: pan-fried breads; Chinese churros; steamed buns with different fillings.”

“The classic Shanghainese cuisine at Fu 1039 ($$), in the Changning neighborhood, is simply amazing. They serve delicious pork stew in a two-layer ceramic pot filled with water so the meat stays tender.”

“Hidden in a tiny basement, Old Jesse (41 Tianping Rd.; 86-21/6282-9260; $$) is the place to try home-style cooking. I always recommend the fried scallion codfish.”


“I buy plates and bowls at Spin Ceramics, a huge warehouse of affordable dinnerware. The packaging in wooden boxes is beautiful and thoughtful—it’s great for gifts.”

“Owned by an Englishwoman, Madame Mao’s Dowry (207 Fumin Rd.) is filled with antique furniture and iconic Chinese art from the time of Mao. I go there for paper products and notebooks.”


“To get a real taste of the city’s creative pulse, don’t miss the M50 area, where old warehouses have been converted into galleries. Shangh Art was one of the first to promote contemporary Chinese art.”

“The photography hub M97 Gallery (97 Moganshan Rd., second floor) hosts up-and-comers as well as Western artists who have lived in China for decades. I especially love the acrobatic self-portraits by Li Wei.”

—As told to Brooke Porter