6 Places to Get Savory Pies Perfect for Winter

By Cristina Ng

Shanghai is quickly sliding into the coldest days of winter, and small plates are no longer going to cut it. Grey days and bone-chilling temperatures call for a hearty meal, preferably with hefty butter crusts, flaky biscuit dough, sheets of crisp filo or piles of mash. While the humble meat pie dates back to at least the Middle Ages, these Shanghai versions show that weve come a long way from the days of eating crow.

1. The Bull and Claws Chicken Tikka Pie 

Image courtesy of Bull and Claw

Sometimes we eat a dish that is so comforting and delicious that it inspires an entire article. This savory pie list came about after lunch at The Bull and Claw. Meeting a friend who was craving lobster, we couldnt ignore the words chicken tikka pie on the menu. A one-course lunch set (RMB68) includes a soft drink, and theres an additional RMB18 charge for the pie. 

Gently spiced chicken tikka filling and the clever addition of melted cheddar come inside a crisp puff pastry shell. The inspired pie comes with a generous helping of creamed sweet potato mash.

Bull and Claw, 110 Fenyang Lu, by Fuxing Zhong Lu 110, .

2. Pie Societys Venison Fig Pie

Image courtesy of Pie Society

You cannot talk about pies in Shanghai without talking about Pie Society. In addition to their regular tasty line-up, winter pies have joined the menu. We are especially excited about the return of Oh Dear! This stick to your ribs meal features New Zealand venison cooked in red wine with juniper, figs, carrots and potatoes. 

Classic pies are RMB58 solo or RMB78 with one side dish and gravy. Were partial to the minty mushy peas or sweet potato and carrot mash, but you do you.

Pie Society, 102, Bldg 5, 381 Panyu Lu, by Fahuazhen Lu 3815102, .

Pie Society Canteen, 688 Shaanxi Bei Lu, by Wuding Lu 688, .

3. Eggs Chicken, Bacon + Red-Eye Gravy with Scallion Buttermilk Biscuit 

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

When Egg chef Jamie Pea visited her cousin in Hong Kong, he taught her some of the lessons gathered one summer at Husk in South Carolina. One of those secrets included red-eye gravy, created by sizzling bacon and burning onions, then deglazing with hot coffee. 

That flavorsome sauce forms the backbone of Peas pot pie (RMB65). She uses chicken thighs plus skin (hello flavor!), oyster mushrooms for additional meatiness and toasted buckwheat for texture, all balanced with a smidge of dark brown sugar syrup and a glug of vinegar. A big fluffy scallion buttermilk biscuit is on hand to sop all the yumminess up.

Egg, 12 Xiangyang Bei Lu, by Changle Lu 12, .

4. Oha Eaterys Rabbit from the Birds

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

With so many excellent restaurants in town, and new ones opening all the time, its easy to forget one of your favorites. We stopped into Oha Eatery recently to see whats good and discovered a brand new menu.

One of the winter dishes, Rabbit from the Birds (RMB82), is an addictive filo dough pastry with spicy stewed rabbit inside. The mix of Guizhou lemon pepper with fresh and dry chilis gives the meat a complexity balanced by a fresh fennel salad. Slightly sweet and sour tamarind paste takes this to the next level.

Oha, 23 Anfu Lu, by Changshu Lu 23, .

5. Shanghai Taverns Pork Pie

Image by Betty Richardson/That's

When youre in the mood for British comfort food in the classiest of settings, Shanghai Tavern is the obvious choice. They dont just do a traditional pork pie here, they wheel out an impressively long rectangular one the length of a human arm. A clean slice (RMB128) is made through the golden hot water crust, containing chopped seasoned pork and a layer of savory gelatinized stock. It's perfect with English piccalilli, pickled vegetables and three types of mustard alongside.

Shanghai Tavern, 1/F, Heritage Building, The Shanghai EDITION, 199 Nanjing Dong Lu, by Jiangxi Zhong Lu 1991, .

6. The Sheds Tuck Shop Pies

Image courtesy of Tuck Shop Pies

For more casual days, The Shed has all three varieties of Tuck Shop Pies on offer. Created by a couple of expats from Wellington, the pies are made from New Zealand beef and dairy. Choose from beef and cheese, steak and mushroom or chicken and leak (all RMB55). Or for days you want to stay in, grab a Tuck Shop Pie from the frozen case in grocery stores around town.

The Shed (Jing'an), 698 Shaanxi Bei Lu, by Kangding Lu 698, .

The Shed (Laowai Jie), 31 Laowai Jie, 3338 Hongmei Lu, by Hongxu Lu 333831, .

[Cover image courtesy of Pie Society]

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