The ability to brave Wei Xiang Zhai's unforgiving atmosphere is a good determinant of where you're a true Shanghailander or a "laowai out of water." The space is cramped like a stock car, hygiene is minimal, and the whole time you're eating, ceaseless crowds are clamoring around your table like gulls around a beached sea bass. And the maitre d's got little patience for your beginner Chinese. But bite the belt, their sumptuous sesame noodles (麻酱面, ma jiang mian, 9RMB) are well worth the hassle.

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