Shanghai Sandwiches: Co. Cheese Melt Bar vs. Market 101 by Goga

Co. Cheese Melt Bar

Co. Cheese Melt Bar

I love sandwiches. It’s one of the things I miss most from the States. Recently, more and more sandwich shops have popped up in Shanghai. I felt it was my duty to try them and report back.

Co. Cheese Melt Bar (32 Yuyuan Dong Lu; 愚园东路32号) opened just a few months ago in Shanghai. It’s a small establishment with mostly counter seating and only a couple of high tables. You definitely can’t come here with a big group of people. While you can choose your own sandwich fixings, I’d recommend picking one of the twelve gourmet cheese melts.

Avocado, Ham, Pear, Brie and Arugula Grilled Cheese

Avocado, Ham, Pear, Brie and Arugula Grilled Cheese

There were too many choices to pick from so my friend and I decided to split three sandwiches between the two of us. We ordered: 1) Avocado, ham, pear, brie and arugula, 2) Double Glouchester cheese, mashed potato, cranberry sauce, turkey and stuffing, and 3) Kraft Mac & Cheese, cheddar and gouda. All sandwiches are served with a small serving of potato chips and homemade pickled goods. The avocado, ham, pear, brie and arugula sandwich felt like a fancy grilled cheese sandwich. I really enjoyed the combination and it was the “lightest” of the three.

Thanksgiving Dinner Sandwich

Thanksgiving Dinner Sandwich

The Thanksgiving dinner is an incredibly clever idea. It basically reminded me of the wonderful period of time after Thanksgiving when you basically eat Thanksgiving leftovers for a week. You can’t really go wrong with the combination of cheese, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. It’s definitely a filling sandwich.

Kraft Mac & Cheese Sandwich

Kraft Mac & Cheese Sandwich

I think my favorite was actually the Kraft Mac & Cheese sandwich. It tasted like my childhood in a sandwich. I really liked the creativity that the owner, Greg, had with all of his sandwich ideas. Next time, I would add avocado to the sandwich and order myself a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup to dip that bad boy in. While the sandwiches were delicious, my only complaint was that the wait was really long. The place wasn’t even full and we definitely waited over 20 minutes for our food. I guess on the bright side, while you’re waiting for your food, you can hop over next door to CinnaSwirl and get yourself an amazing cinnamon roll.

Market 101

Market 101

I was really excited to try Market 101 by Goga (1226 Changle Lu; 长乐路1226号) and my friend and I made a special trip just to get the sandwiches. Goga is one of my favorite restaurants in Shanghai and the owner, Brad Turley, hails from Menlo Park. I figured he would understand my need for California sandwiches.

We ordered a turkey, avocado and bacon sandwich on ciabatta and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. While the sandwiches looked promising, they were disappointing. My turkey, avocado and bacon sandwich had so much promise. It was piled high with delicious fresh vegetables and was a decent-sized sandwich. All of the elements were there, but it fell flat because the turkey didn’t really have any taste. The grilled cheese and ham sandwich was nicely toasted, but there was way too much butter. The sandwich became way too heavy and rich. I couldn’t even finish my half. At 75 RMB, it was a hefty price, especially compared to Co. Cheese Melt Bar’s sandwiches, which average around 50 RMB.

Also, the staff at Market 101 was Chinese and didn’t speak any English. It led to some misunderstandings of our order. I want to like Market 101, but I probably won’t make a special trip there any time soon. If I do go back, I would order the roast beef or salami sandwich, which I think will have more flavor than the turkey.

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