Lotus Eatery is a Yunnan restaurant in Shanghai that does delicious food at honest prices. It is an extremely popular restaurant favored by both locals and expats.

If you ask any expat where their favorite Yunnan restaurant is in Shanghai, chances are they’ll say Lotus Eatery.

Yunnan Food at Lotus Eatery

Yunnan cuisine is vastly varied. The province is in southwestern China and borders Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Tibet, as well as Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. Yunnan province is also one of the most ethnically diverse provinces in China.

Lotus Eatery does a fine job to capture the best of what the province has to offer. One of the most popular dishes and requisite orders is the rubing, a soft, light cheese made from goat’s milk, which is then pan-fried and served with dipping condiments. Others highlights include mashed potato flavored with spring onions and chili, fried kidney beans, and Miao-style fried fish. (The restaurant and selection is also endorsed by my Yunnan-native friends.)

Below are photos, dish names, and tasting notes to help with your order!

Rubing, pan-fried Dali goat cheese. Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Rubing 乳饼 (¥48), pan-fried Dali goat cheese, a must-order. Served with a mild chili dip and salt-pepper-spice powder. There’s a deep-fried version, which isn’t as enjoyable as this.
Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Cucumber flowers with garlic (¥32), a cold appetizer.
Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Spicy Mint Salad (¥26) 凉拌薄荷色拉
Fresh mint tossed with fermented soy beans, chili, and light soya sauce. Palate cleanser or appetizer.
Ice Plant/Ice Lettuce. Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Ice Lettuce/Ice Plant 冰草 (¥19) – These fleshy leaves are covered with frosted dew-like bubbles. The crisp, crunchy greens are served over ice with a house soya sauce mix and light yogurt to dip. (Not a fan of the yogurt, but the soya sauce is a great accompaniment.)
Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Fried long beans with pork mince (¥28)
Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Fried Pancakes (¥29), self-explanatory.
Jingpo black chicken spicy salad. Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Jingpo Black Chicken Spicy Salad (¥46) 青柠黑凤凰
It’s a cold dish flavored with heaps of bright lime juice and chilies. The chicken is tender, and it’s great as a starter or with rice.
Yunnan Grandma's Mashed Potatoes. Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Yunnan Grandma’s Mashed Potatoes 滇池老奶洋芋 (¥28)
Simple and comforting
Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Kunming Fried Potatoes (¥26) 昆明炸洋芋
Grilled mushrooms. Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Grilled Assorted Mushrooms in Banana Leaf (¥48) 芭蕉叶包野菌
Fragrant mushrooms imbued with the flowery scent of banana leaves.
Minced beef. Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Minced Beef (¥48) similar to ones found in Thailand.
Not spicy, great with rice.
Crispy red kidney beans. Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Crispy Red Kidney Beans (¥26) with dried chili.
Not spicy, highly addictive.
Miao Barbecued Fish (¥78) 苗家秘制香酥鱼
A highlight. Not sure if it’s barbecued or fried, but it tastes really good. Not spicy and very fragrant.
Yunnan cuisine at Lotus Eatery, a popular restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Pu’er Tea Fried Beef (¥68) 普洱茶香牛肉

Need To Knows

The restaurant isn’t very large, but the space is certainly maximized. Weekends are packed to the gills with diners and there’s usually a waiting line. And they usually don’t take reservations for peak hours on weekends. There are a few round tables and private rooms for large groups of 8 to sometimes 18 at a squeeze. Chinese-English menus with photos for to help those uninitiated.


Lotus Eatery
Address: 1112 Dingxi Lu, near Wuyi Lu 定西路1112号, 近武夷路
Tel: 62498398
Hours: 11:30am-10:30pm