​Yao Ji Da Tie Guo is a Chinese restaurant that specializes in Tie Guo Dun (铁锅炖) or “Iron Pot Stew”, a Dongbei form of cooking.

Plus, it’s open until 4am.

There’s also song and dance, but we’ll get to that later on.

Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

The Food: Tie Guo Dun & How To Order

Tie Guo Dun is a Dongbei “dish” centered on a deep cast iron pot, whereby soup, chicken, pork, vegetables, noodles, and corn cakes are thrown in and cooked all together. It’s similar to Sichuan’s Gan Guo or “Dry Pot”, or like hotpot with less volume of soup.

Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Similar to hotpot, you first choose a “stew base,” a hardy stock to broil your order of meats, vegetables, noodles and whatnot. The bases include pork bones (¥238), chicken-mushroom (¥298), goose (¥298), and fish (¥268).

We go for the signature free-range chicken (¥258). A whole free-range chicken—gizzards, liver, hearts and all—is cooked long and slow in an already rich stock with ginger and spices. That soup is tumbled into a massive cast-iron pot in the center of the table, along with the foodstuff you’ve ordered.

Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Here are a few things ordered: goose claw (¥58), greens (¥15), black ear mushrooms (¥18), tofu skin (¥15), potatoes (¥15), rice cake (¥15), oyster mushrooms (¥38), tea tree mushrooms (¥30), and spare ribs (¥118), mountain yam (¥20) and noodles (¥20).

Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

One must-order is the corn cakes (玉米饼, ¥2/piece), an essential item of the whole ensemble. These corn cakes are affixed to the side of the pot just above the simmering line of your stew.

Corn cakes. Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Corn cakes at Yao Ji, a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

The catch about ordering them is that you can only do it once, before the pot is covered to stew. So be sure you have enough of those before the lid goes on.

Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

The mealy corn cakes are crisped on the bottom with a fluffy center, making them an ideal vessel to soak up all the stew. Oh, and every time a pancake is placed on the pot, the server bellows idioms of well wishes.

Eat the pot stuff with a raw garlic and chili dip.

Chili sauce. Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Get some side dishes too.

Dip and pickles. Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Dip in Pickles (蘸酱菜, ¥28) – Raw veg and tofu sheets with a dipping sauce of fermented bean paste and stir-fried egg.
Tofu with meat sauce. Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Tofu with Meat Sauce (酱泼豆腐, ¥20) – It is what it is. Cold tofu topped with minced meat.
Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Eggplant, Potato, Peppers (茄子土豆辣椒闷子, ¥48) – All those things mashed up. A pure comfort dish.

It’s going to get really campy halfway through your meal.

There will be performances. They provide earplugs. There’s audience participation! You get to chug beers in front of everyone. Then there’s a duet, followed by a song and dance by the staff, all of who hail from Dongbei.

Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Even if your Putonghua is native, you might not understand much of what they’re singing about—they’re performing in Dongbei dialect. Just sit back, eat your food, and enjoy the show.

Drinks Situation

BYOB is allowed!

Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

They do have beer: Suntory 450ml (¥10), Tsingtao (¥12), and a bunch others. Plus a wide selection of baijiu and huangjiu by the bottle, and soft drinks.

In Summary: Eat More Chinese Food

For many of us living in Shanghai, our knowledge of Dongbei cuisine is based off weekend getaways to Beijing and the menu at Dongbei Four Seasons Dumpling King. Add this to your food list.

Yao Ji is a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in Dongbei-style Iron Pot Stew "Tie Guo Dun". Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Food here is good—it’s great! Plus, it’s Dongbei-ren approved. It’s one of those no-frills meals (if you’re not counting the performance acts), and you’ll be duly satiated. Yao Ji has been around for a while, so if you haven’t been yet or heard about it, it’s definitely worth trying.

Average check is around ¥130.


Yao Ji Da Tie Guo 姚稷大铁锅
Multiple locations.
Wanhangdu Lu: 529-3 Wanhangdu Lu, near Wuding Xi Lu 万航渡路529-3号, 近武定西路
Tel: 13122833333, 52761988
Hours: 10am-4am
Changping Lu: 317-5 Changping Lu, near Shaanxi Bei Lu 昌平路317-5号, 近陕西北路
Tel: 13122833333, 52761988
Hours: 10am-4am