When I was in high school, I went through a phase in which I would only bring bagels or Wheat Thins for lunch because I could conveniently eat them during class. For some reason, I was never hungry during the school’s designated lunch break. So imagine a student in a statistics or biology class diligently taking notes with one hand yet shoving a bagel or crackers into her mouth with her other hand. That was basically me for half of my high-school career.
This semester, I have class from 11 AM to 4 PM. With only fifteen-minute breaks in between classes, my “lunch break” is a small window of time, so I opt to bring lunch. But laziness soon kicked in, and I quickly lost motivation to continue making elaborate sandwiches every week. When I found out about Spread the Bagel – a bagel delivery service in Shanghai, memories of eating lunch in class came back.
Spread the Bagel was started in 2010 by an American expat who decided that Shanghai needed to be exposed to the goodness of bagels. Her service has since gained quite a following – mainly from other expats – and her bagels are now sold in various third-party locations. It’s most convenient and cheap, though, to order directly from Spread the Bagel’s website. All you have to do is place an order by 6PM, and your bagels will be delivered to you the next day. For a half a dozen bagels, prices range from 45RMB-65RMB.
I ordered an assorted half dozen consisting of plain, chocolate, blueberry, garlic, cinnamon raisin, and Parmesan. It cost 65RMB plus a 15RMB delivery fee. These bagels will probably be smaller than what you’re used to, but what they lack in size they make up for in height. They’re also chewy and surprisingly filling. When you order an assorted dozen, you also have the option of adding in a 250g tub of cream cheese for free or for 10RMB depending on what flavor you get.
The blueberry and cinnamon raisin didn’t have distinct flavors and were a bit of a let-down; they also had burnt tops that affected their taste. The chocolate, though, was spot on and quite sweet – I probably didn’t even need to add cream cheese. The garlic, Parmesan, and plain were tasty as well – especially when toasted.
I’ve tried a few of Spread the Bagel’s spreads – from my own orders and from friends. The honey walnut cream cheese was addicting. When spread on top of a chocolate bagel, you’ll feel as if you’re eating dessert. My second favorite would be the vegetable spread; it has a strong flavor, though, so be warned if you don’t like onions. I never had the chance to try it, but my friend commented that the sun-dried tomato cream cheese was too salty.
Considering Shanghai’s premium on all things non-Chinese, Spread the Bagel’s prices are relatively reasonable. But at $1 USD per bagel, it’s still not something I would buy as a staple. If you ever have a craving, though, Spread the Bagel is probably the most convenient way to satisfy your bagel needs.
Now all I need now are some Wheat Thins…
Spread the Bagel