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Jun 4, 2004 11:15 AM

new find at Shangri-la

  • g

We are diligently working our way through the menu although it takes discipline not to order the same things that we liked before. On the other hand, almost nothing has ever disappointed us. On our most recent visit we asked for the unassumingly-named "Pork with Preserved Mustard" (which I don't remember having read about here). The waiter looked worried and told us that Chinese people like this but that some Americans do not and we might not like it. Turns out, that's because it has fat in it. Don't worry, we said. What arrived looked like very thick, short slices of bacon (pork belly?) that were meltingly succulent and in a rich sauce with a sticky quality that made us think it was some sort of pork reduction, beautifully flavored with hints of anise and other seasonings, and with slightly crunchy morsels of what we assume is chopped preserved mustard (greens). Pure heaven.

As I believe has been mentioned here, they have new furniture (including some square tables with flaps that become larger round tables, giving more seating for large parties) and new dishes, very attractive. Also a new page of menu items including "silver fish" which the waiter showed us as he brought it to another table, looked like smelts maybe -- very small.

149 Belmont Street, Belmont

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  1. When are they open (or not open), and what is the closest T stop? Also, your favorite dishes so far?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Joe

      Shangri-La, 149 Belmont Street, Belmont, 617-489-1488

      Closed Monday
      Lunch: Tuesday-Sunday 11:30-3:00
      Dinner: Tues-Thurs 5-9:30; Fri and Sat 5-10; Sun 4-9:30

      I think there is dim sum Sunday and maybe Saturday but I’ve never been there for that.

      T: from Harvard Square take the 73 bus, Waverly Square, I think there is a stop nearly right in front.

      Things we have tried so far (I’ve been making notes in a takeout menu so I don’t forget):

      A2. Scallion Pancake
      A3. Steamed Red Bean Bun
      A4. Pan Fried Turnip Cake – this is a real favorite and we always ask for extra spicy sauce.
      A11. Chicken wings. Chicken wings are chicken wings, we thought – wrong – these are fried to order and are meaty, very crispy and delicious.
      A17. Boiled Wonton with Spicy Sauce – very good, on a bed of bean sprouts
      A22. Jelly Fish. My friends liked, I didn’t try because never sure what counts as shellfish and I’m very allergic.
      A32. Salt-Watered Duck – I liked, my friends were lukewarm – it had good duck taste but not crispy.
      A33. Bean Curd Skin Roll – we love this, it’s hard to describe but sort of a jelly roll with sheets of bean curd filled with mushrooms.
      A36. Stir Fried Bean Sprouts in Sesame Sauce – don’t remember it but I know we loved it.

      Sp4. Home Style Egg Drop Soup. We all normally hate egg drop soup (except the kids) but this is completely different – a lovely, light but flavorful broth with clear, slippery noodles (bean thread?), baby spinach, shitake mushrooms, and water chestnuts, topped with sort of an egg soufflé. It’s one of the best soups any of us has ever had, and interestingly the kids like it so much they’ve kind of gone off the normal kind of egg drop soup.
      Sp8. Hot and Sour Soup – very good and extremely hot in the spicy sense.

      B5. Beef with Bean Curd Sheet and Mustard. Very tasty, tofu is cut like linguini, mustard greens are earthy tasting, dish is not spicy.
      B6. Twice Cooked Roast Beef. Spicy and yummy, don't remember details.
      B10. Beef with peapods. OK but boring, can’t remember why we ordered it.

      P2. Yu Hsiang Pork. Nothing like the glop you get most places – spicy, aromatic, crunchy veggies, flavorful pork – one of my very favorites. The lunch menu calls it Pork with Spicy Garlic Sauce.
      P3. Chung King Pork. Sliced pork, dried bean curd, cabbage and spicy sauce – very good. This minus the tofu is called Twice-Cooked Pork on the lunch menu.
      P8. Pork with Preserved Mustard – dish that started this thread -- fabulous!
      P9. Jumbo Meatball with Chinese Veg. Very good, don’t remember specifics.

      V2. Sautéed Sprout of Snow Peas. Delicious, perfectly cooked and seasoned, a bit expensive (market price).
      V10. Black Mushroom and Chinese Vegetable. Baby bok choy and mushrooms in a delicate sauce, beautifully presented.
      V18. Home Style Bean Curd with Vegetable. My notes say “OK”, I don’t remember it.

      S7. Fish fillets with Bean Curd. Another favorite – tender chunks of mild white fish, creamy tofu with a bit of a crust, spicy, aromatic tomato-based sauce with ginger and scallions.
      S14. Whole Fish with Spicy Sauce. Really good but takes awhile to cook so you tend to have gotten full eating everything else by the time it arrives – not that that has ever stopped us from finishing it!!

      Lunch menu – in addition to above notes, the Yu Hsiang Eggplant is very good, the Three Delight (beef, shrimp and chicken with veggies – which it is possible to get as Two Delight without the shrimp) has large pieces of beef and chicken and a nice assortment of veggies but I found the sauce a bit one-dimensional, hot without much else, the only sauce I can think of that I have had here about which I would say that.

      The kids always get Vegetable Moo Shi and while it’s not something I’d order myself, it’s the best version I have ever tasted.

      Of course, there are tons of stuff we still want to try based on recommendations here: Tung An Chicken, Ginger Chicken Casserole, etc.

      OK, I know for sure where I’m going for dinner tonight!!

      1. re: GretchenS

        be sure to try the pork with preserved tofu and chives and red pepper - the best!

        I adore the ginger chicken casserole, too.

        the eggplant with spicy sauce is incredible - like the Taiwan Cafe's, I'm told - tons of Thai basil.

        1. re: chowcat

          Thanks for the suggestions, we'll be sure to try them!

    2. Thank you for the "Pork with Preserved Mustard" recommendation. We'll need to avoid checking cholesterol for awhile but it was certainly good.

      We also had the "silver fish" off the new pink menu insert. This is one of the best dishes we've ever had at Shangri-La, I think. Something much smaller than smelt (sardines? sprats?) cleaned (!) and deep fried in a light batter, then stir fried with shedded onion, etc. in a very spicy light (transparent) sauce.

      We also tried the cold "Bean Curd Skin Rolled With Mushroom" off the appetizer menu. This was big chunks of tofu soaked in a sesame sauce, black mushroom caps, some other vegetable (cooked turnip, perhaps?) which was quite good. Not to be confused with "Bean Curd Skin Roll" (thin tofu skin rolled around mushrooms and fried) or "Stir Fried Bean Sprouts in Sesame Sauce" (thin tofu skin rolled around bean sprouts and fried).

      I have to say, half the pleasure/adventure of the place is that the menu descriptions seldom reveal much about what to expect.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Samovar

        Of course we had to go back last night and try the "silver fish" after your review -- it certainly was delicious, a fairly pronounced (in a pleasant way) fish taste and a lovely combination of textures and flavors from the fried fish and raw or nearly raw sprouts, slivered onions, slivered peppers and a few other things I can't remember. Also had the shredded pork with preserved tofu and red chilies and the sauteed watercress with garlic, both outstanding. That place never disappoints! With one app (the aforementioned "Bean Curd Skin Roll") and one beer, total was $37 for three, just silly for such consistently amazing food.

      2. I had heard a lot of good things about this place so I really looked forward to my lunch today. Got a nice window table in this smallish restaurant and lunch items comes with Hot and Sour soup and I must say that the soup was really delicious even if it looked a bit different. I ordered the Shredded Pork with Hot Peppers with chicken wing. The chicken wing turned out to be a winglet but it was tasty with a crisp exterior. The Shredded Pork with hot peppers lacked both pork and hot peppers. There was some slivers of pork and no hot peppers at all so this was a big disappointment. I know that ordering from the lunch menu isn't the best idea but I wanted to see what I got having never been here before. The service was good and the portion was big. This place has such a good reputation that I will be back and try more items.


        2 Replies
        1. re: Ferrari328

          Based on that photo, I think part of the problem is that you didn't get the dish that you ordered - that looks more like the item on the dinner menu called "Pork & Dried Beancurd with Chives and Red Pepper," minus the red pepper. There's certainly plenty of chives and dried beancurd there, though!

          1. re: Ferrari328

            Usually there are fresh serranos in that dish. One of my fave lunch items actually. They must have been out.

          2. I went back today to give them another chance and tried the Twice Cooked Pork from the lunch menu and wasn't too impressed, it was only pork and cabbage and the pork were the overly tenderized pork but the cabbage was cooked nicely and the sauce had some heat to it. The soup was good.


            2 Replies
            1. re: Ferrari328

              You really need to review the more thorough and slightly more recent Shangri-La threads for better recommendations. It has been discussed many times that the more recognizable menu items are not their strong suit. Are you ordering off a lunch special menu? If so, maybe that's not the way to go.

              Here's a better thread:

              And mine:

              1. re: Alcachofa

                Alcachofa, I have read the other threads and as I said in my first post, the lunch menu items are not ideal but I was there for lunch and wanted to see what I got.