After Shanghai opened its gates to foreign traders, the locals quickly opened their hearts and stomachs to the Western food. According to documentary records, the first Western restaurant, Xiang Fan, was founded in Fuzhou Road. At that time, Western dishes were also known as "Fan dishes".
Shanghai Western Cuisine – Haipai 海派 Cuisine - absorbed the traditions of several cuisines from other regions of China and of Western cooking.Yet, it was the Russian community and their two dishes: borscht and buttered bread (butterbrot) that gained a great popularity in Shanghai due to their low prices.
By the end of 1937, Shanghai had more than 200 Haipai restaurants, most of them were located in Xiafei Road (today’s Middle Huaihai Road) and Fuzhou Road.
The establishment of the rule of the Communist Party of China was a turning point in the development of Shanghai Western cuisine. A large number of Western-style restaurants closed down during this period, and only in the Huangpu District 18 restaurants remained after adopting the pattern of public-private Joint Management. Besides, due to a shortage of supplies at the time, "going to western restaurants" was not a common thing for ordinary people. However, the Shanghai people still tried every means to enjoy western food in this difficult era. One way was to use a variety of local ingredients instead of importing Western ingredients,such as using self-roll soda crackers in lieu of bread powder.
Since the reform and opening up in China, the number of authentic Chinese restaurants in Shanghai has increased dramatically. On the contrary, the numbers of Western-style restaurants that offer Haipai dishes have declined gradually, and a lot of them shut off in the 1990s.