1) TMSK in Plaza 66: less posh than the one in XTD. Good food. A cold app of hard boiled eggs, sliced, deep fried and tossed with spicy fermented black beans was well recieved. I really like a dish of braised beef shank with fermented orange peel that was actually more like a slightly smokey, lightly dried beef with carrot rounds and some chillies. Pizza was pretty good, as was the Italian pasta.. they do fusion but more by combining dishes on the menu and playing with wording (eg Chinese style Bolognese) than by mucking things up. Hommade ice cream was tasty, rum and raisin in particular, green tea less so. Papaya sorbet good as well. One thing to steer clear of was a fish bouillon with tofu terrine that tasted like shanghai tap water (ie mud). about 200RMB per person with a drink each so a bit steep.
2)Yu Xing: Wei Hai Lu, Cheng Du bei lu. Nice dining room with classical chinese (dark red wood) bent. located on the 3rd floor of a mall. A cold starter of rabbit with orange peel was delicious and numbing and a now favourite dish of pumpkin with lily bulb was as good as ever. Sichuan pickles were too salty. Standout dish was a roasted pigeon that was beyond sexy, succulent, and crisp. the most tender juciest pigeon I've ever met. Served with sichuan pepper+ salt dip. Ma po dofu was good, perfect texture. Ribs with cumin were massive and fat laden .. perfect if you like that, it was too much for us, coming as it did at the end of the meal. Dan dan noodles were good, nice texture, laden with chili oil. Pot stickers, nothing to worry about.
All in all a great meal well worth a return visit and at 50RMB per person (no abalone or sharks fin for us) a good deal. Very numbing and spicy but not intolerable, and probably not as much as in Sichuan.
3) Guyi Hunan Resto..I have the adress somewhere. In the french concession, reviewed by NYtimes. bit of a line up and our reservations didn't work, we had to wait 45 minutes. Very good duck hot pot. appetizer of pumpkin and lily bulb was again, winner. smoked bamboo shoots with air dried pork (or something like this) was truly delicious, just fatty enough, not tooo smokey. Ribs with cumin were much more lean than at Yu Xing, better to my mind but my bro found them to be too dry.. they were a bit low on the meat side of things. Bullfrog cooked in bamboo was forgettable. Deep fried eel was nice, a bit like elongated Eel McNuggets. There are various grubs and larvae on the menu but we decided to forgo the pleasure. Dessert of fermented rice soup with sesame dumplings was gentle, lightly sweet and the dumplings were tasty, oozing sesame paste. The Australians didn't like it much but me and the bro though it was a nice understated way to end the meal.
Thanks Gary.. guess I should just get on to google. Fodors and face masks eh? Well doesn't mean the food's bad. Hey Gary where would you go for a hairy crab feast?
In passing we went for nasty dim sum yesterday. Across the mall from TMSK is Zen, Cantonese resto. Ok, it wasn't horrible, but Crystal Jade is at least 3 times as good, with a better setting (neither hold a flame to HK or Toronto/Vancouver, but that's beside the point). Anyhow, I'd never had greasey har gow, but I have now: they actually oozed liquid fat when bitten into. Har Cheung was ok, the shrimp were big at least, but the rice sheet wasn't fresh. Ditto for the Wu gok: formed in the morning and fried to order, they wern't well enough cooked and the taro didn't feather out enough, and where it didn't there was a sort of dried skin. The filling was lightly curry flavoured which was nice, and not too heavy. Fried noodles with scallop, shrimp, and scrambled egg was ok: wide rice noodles in greasy egg sauce.
Overall way expensive for pretty poor food.
We had lunch today at Shanghai Tony's .. a Sichuan style resto chain. It was thoroughly average. Not a flame to Yu Xin.
The places that have the hairy crab feasts are generally listed in the English language press, either Shanghai Star or Shanghai Daily. I'm an online subscriber to Shanghai Daily, maybe I'll check later from home (I'm at work now).
I hope to get to Shanghai in November for a month or so and may be looking for a crab fest myself. It depends on the availability of my brother-in-law's apartment, as we are renting ours out unil Spring.
re: Gary Soup
I had trouble finding listings in the online versions of the print media, but the Xianzai Shanghai brought me this promotion from the JW Mariott:
"Hairy Crab Fever at JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai
The long-awaited Hairy Crab returns to JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai. The Shanghainese delicacy, famous for its flavourful meat and sweet fragrant taste, can be enjoyed from Chinese Executive Chef Law's speciality dishes at the Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant (39F) from October 9 to November 15. Lunch and dinner is served from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm respectively. Dinner buffet at Marriott Cafe (38F) will also feature all-you-can-eat hairy crab without extra charge (RMB228* per person) from October 1 to November 15. Served daily from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm. For reservations please call (021) 5359 4969."
Also, the Purple Mountain Hotel in Pudong is offering crab beasts from 78 pp up. The Central Hotel will continue to have the most famous crab fest, the Wang Bao He crab festival, and Jereme Leung has an undoubtedly pricey crab fest at the Whampoa Club. I'm sure there are several more. Just watch the papers.
To tell the truth, I don't really go looking for Sichuan food in Shanghai. (I have a stubborn "when in Rome...." streak and usually stick with Shanghainese).
Here's what I found for Ba Guo Bu Yi with a little Googling:
Ba Guo Bu Yi
• 1676 Hongqiao Lu, near Shicheng Nan Lu
Tel: 6270 6668
• 1018 Dingxi lu, near Yanan Xi Lu
Tel: 5239 7779
Here's what Fodors online had to say about the Dingxi Lu branch:
Its name translates as "Sichuan common people," which describes both the restaurant's style of food and the local clientele it attracts. The menu is a greatest hits of Sichuan cuisine, including mapo tofu, braised tofu with chili and brown pepper, and lazi ji, chicken smothered in chili peppers. The two-story dining room is arranged like a traditional Chinese house, around a central courtyard. The courtyard becomes a stage every evening for a traditional Sichuan opera performer, who amazes diners with his demonstration of bian lian, split-second changes of face masks. Reservations essential. No credit cards.
You are right about Fumin as to location. The prices are a bit more than Yu xing, I think we paid about 75 pp. IMHO the food was less good. I think there must be better Hunanese in SH for a better price.
Yes it inculede beer. My brother has been back twice since our first visit with Chinese friends. Everyone says in their experience this is one of the best Sichun restos in SH (but they're not Sichuanese so ...) .
A Sichuanese work mate reccomended a resto called Ba Guo Bu Yi. I havn't had a look for it. Does anyone know where this is? Gary do you have any favourite Chuan Cai restos in SH?