Shanghai | Maekawa 前川

Maekawa in the 'Japanese Town' - Changning, is considered one of the best Japanese restaurant in Shanghai. It is a perfect place for sushi cravers as well as those who prefers more variety of dishes beyond nigiri omakase. A lot of my friends recommended me Maekawa as their favorite nigiri sushi place in town, all the fish are sourced from Nagasaki everyday.


Visited: August.17th.2015 (Dinner)

Address: 2F, 191 Songyuan Road, near Hongsong Road, Changning, Shanghai

Hours: 17:30-00:00 daily


Before starting the meal, i found that most of the diners there were Japanese, which is very different from Sushi Oyama, Tatsumi,Naramoto,etc, where most of the guests are Chinese.


Maekawa offers three kinds of kaiseki priced at 560/800/1000 RMB, each include raw and cooked dishes and 5 pieces of nigiri sushi. Besides that, sushi sets ranged from 200 to 1000 are also available. A la carte menu is also available for people who prefers order piece by piece or trying different dishes. My friend and i was not in a mood to eat a lot, so we picked 560 omakase with some a la carte items if needed.


You should try the signature sesame tofu while eating at Maekawa. The tofu was made in house, silky, creamy and a bit sticky, with a very lovely sesame flavor. The aromatic grilled Matsutake was a seasonal topping to the tofu, the entire dish was quite enjotable.


There are 5 kinds of fresh sashimi in the platter, we were quite impressive with its fresh and umami flavors. I loved the clean and creamy ika (squid); chutoro was certainly my favorite - rich in oils and perfectly melt on my tongue; Aji was high in flavor and the scallions nicely enhanced its umami flavor.


Hokkaido octopus was quite disappointed, too tough for our liking. But it's true that its very hard to deal with octopus, no matter raw or cooked, it is alway quite chewy. While its umami and clean taste lasts, and the homemade plum soy is nice to pair with.


My partner is a regular at Maekawa, thus Chef Maekawa serves us a complimentary dish of fresh fish roe with Hokkaido crab. The crab meat was juicy and sweet, fish roe was a bit fishy but i enjoyed it popping in my mouth. The jelly was made of crab broth which enhanced the umami flavor of the dish.


Summer is the best season to eat eel, the most common way to prepare eel is to steam/grill it and served with sweet sauce. Here at Maekawa, the chef grilled the eel without any additional flavors, best to keep its own flavors. The skin of the eel was a bit chewy, the flesh underneath was tender and simply delicious.  Braised gobo in the center added some sweetness to the dish. The fish cake on the side was made of mixed white fish, and grilled with edamame.


Chef Maekawa prepared some gari for us first, aweful flavor but the ginger was too tough.


Fresh and clean. Shari was in body temperature, each grain evenly seasoned, although a bit sticky for my liking, it is probably so far my favorite in Shanghai. (My partner said the stickiness was perfect for her). In general, the shari and fish was very sync.


Chef topped with some abalone sauce on the sanma nigiri, then seared it in front of us, lastly finish with some garnished radish and chopped scallions. The fish itself was tender and flavorful, with an aromatic grilled flavor. It was a quite unique piece, i will miss it.


Chutoro was high in oil contents, very fresh and delicious, really enjoyed it melted in my mouth.


I love to try kohada at every sushiya, it nicely showcases the chef's cuilnary skills because it's very hard to process silver fish. The flesh itself was tender and a bit chewy, with a deep flavor but could be more sour.



The last two pieces of sushi in the omakase set were Ikura (salmon roe) and uni (sea urchin). Ikura was incredible fresh, with abundant umami juice inside. Two different types of uni were served, one from Nagasaki another one from Hokkaido. The one from Hokkaido was more creamy and Nagasaki one was firmer. Chef gave us some nori (seawead) to serve with, I enhoyed both types of uni for their freshness and endless aftertaste. Definitely another highlight of the meal.



Tamago was well-balanced, umami flavor from the shrimp broth and eggs with a sweet twist. My partner really loved it but i personally preferred the sponge-cake ones.


Maekawa's homemade caramel pudding was probably the best pudding i recently had in China. It has a strawberry and sake blend, very smooth and silky. Impressive ending.

DSC04877Chef Maekawa

Although we attemped to order more pieces, we were pretty full by the end. Compare to most of other upscale Japanese restaurants which are seriously overpriced, i think 560 CNY per head for such high quality food was a really a steal. As i mentioned, Maekawa's shari is probably the best i have had in Shanghai. The fish were premium in quality and processed well. The only disappointment is Chef Maekawa himself speaks very few Chinese, i cannot speak Japanese so it's a pity that i cannot communicate with him, but he is very warmful and friendly. Anyway, Maekawa is a really great place to go for quality sushi in Shanghai.