Shangri-La What to Order
Just to bust it out in it's own thread. A somewhat imperfect, though improved from my prior posting, whack at what is good on the menu at this pretty-darned excellent restaurant:
Scallion pancake (just okay, not superlative)
Steamed red bean bun
steamed glutinous rice
steamed vegetable bun
green bean starch and cucumber (Yum)
any tripe dish
pork in garlic
Bean curd skin with mushroom
Salt watered duck
bean curd skin
chicken with wine sauce
stir fried bean sprouts
little neck and chicken soup
squash with clam soup
taro and sparibs soup
egg drop soup (home style) Amazing, not the usual
tomato with ox tall soup
sauteed sour mustard tripe soup
pork and preserved vegetable soup
hot and sour soup (Yum)
egg w. bean curd and veg. soup
chicken and vegetable soup
house special soup
crispy chicken in chef`s sauce
little diced chicken w/ peanuts and taiwanese in spicy sauce
ginger chicken casserole w. bone (Yum)
chicken spinach in garlic sauce
curried spicy chicken
plain sauteed chinese broccoli
sauteed sprout of snow peas
chinese watercress w. garlic
eggplant with spicy sauce
eggplant and pork w. peking sauce (Yum)
yu hsiang eggplant w. pork strip (Yum)
dried scallop with napa (Yum)
dried shrimp with napa (Yum)
black mushrooms and chinese vegetable (Yum)
dried scallop with squash (Yum)
sauteed string bean (Yum)
string bean in peking sauce (Yum)
dried scallop with mustard
home style bean curd with vegetable
cellophane noodle w. minced pork
house special bean curd w. pork
bean curd in brown sauce w. minced pork
szechuan spicy bean curd
squash with clam seasonal
shreded beef sauteed with green pepper
beef with chinese celery in spicy sauce
veal chop roasted chili vinaignette
beef w. bean curd sheet and mustard
twice cooked roast beef (oh yeah!)
ox tail with brown sauce
garlic flower with beef
shredded beef w. carrot and celery
shredded pork with cabbage in bean sauce
pork chops with spiced salt
pork with preserved mustard (Yum)
jumbo meat ball with chinese veg.
pork and dried bean with chive and red pepper
sauteed sour mustard tripe
sour mustard intenstine w/ hot pepper
Soy bean and shrimp
Scallop with veg
Fish fillet with bean curd
Sea cucumber with fish tripe
Sea cucumber with soy
Fish with dry bean sauce
Fried oyster with spiced salt (insanely good)
The whole fish dishes if they have them are pretty good
All the Hot pots are good to excellent.
As is the Tea smoked duck and the crispy duck (Yum) (Yum)
Pretty much the entire dim sum menu rocks as there are NO Americanized dishes or "the usual suspects" type dishes on the dim sum menu.
WARNING: Stay away from anything that has a ring of "Standard Chinese Restaurant Fair" or "Americanized Chinese Fair" they have thrown those on the menu out of some sense of obligation and they range from mediocre to terrible: ie chicken with broccoli, Yu Shiang shrimp, anything Mooshi. Same is true for most of the "House Specialties" which mostly suck. This is kind of funny because in actuality very few of the real house specialties are on that list.
The caveats about the menu apply to all of the good suburban Chinese places I can think of. Sit near the phone and listen to the takeout orders and you'll see why the gloppy stuff is on there.
I like Shangri-la a lot but if I'm in a chili mood I go someplace else. The only really spicy thing I've encountered so far is the cellophane noodles with pork (ants on tree).
I agree that Shangri-La is not the place at all to bring on the heat. The twice-cooked beef has some zing.
To the poster below, they do have a small lunch menu with a few of the better items on it with slightly smaller portions all under $6.00 including soup and a chicken wing or spring roll. A real bargain, but with a very limited menu. The only things I would eat on that menu is the eggplant, stringbeans, shredded pork with spicy garlic sauce, pan seared szechuan tofu and twice cooked pork. The full regular menu is also available all day.
The lunch menu isn't that interesting. But, under the rice and noodle section, there are a couple of dishes that look great for lunch. I haven't tried these yet because they don't look like they would take out as well AND I'm not near SL for lunch.
Pork chop with rice
Chicken Cutlet with Rice
Hand tear chicken with rice
I've enjoyed similar items at Taiwan Cafe (also under the rice and noodle section of that menu).
Great list of recs. I'm just adding a link, for future reference.
149 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478
Excellent summary of the SL menu. While Striper and I agree on many things about Shangri La, I do have a couple of favorites that aren't listed above.
SL does have a couple of tasty noodle dishes. I am very partial to the Beef Noodle With Sa Cha Sauce and the Taiwanese Stir Fried Rice Vermicelli. Two completely different dishes that I love for different reasons. The Sa Cha beef noodle dish is reminiscent of Taiwan Cafe's beef with sa cha sauce but in a noodley form. The rice noodles is the classic taiwanese noodle dish and is just plain old comfort food for me.
SL sometimes has a specials menu. This is on a separate laminated piece of paper. Last time I dined in, they didn't have it though. But, I've placed a take out order with one of the specials - spicy chicken with cabbage and peanuts (sui 4 mi 3 ji 1 ding1).
As for brunch, it's all about managing expectations. If you go there expecting the carts and 20 different kinds of dumplings, you are going to be disappointed. This is not southern Cantonese style dim sum. This is northern style where you order off a menu and the focus less dumplingish. My favorites at brunch include the soy bean noodle salad, tofu with preserved duck egg, fried rice cakes, seaweed salad, steamed pork with sweet potatoes and tripe, salty soy bean milk, pickled cabbage, rice stuffed sausage and vermicelli soup with oysters or tripe.
While noodle soups aren't SL's strong points, they aren't bad either. I tend to get them more for brunch then for dinner. I especially enjoy the pork with preserved vegetable noodle soup and the pork and mustard noodle soup.
I eat at Shangri-La any weekend I'm down for Continuing Ed with a group from the class, and find it pretty authentic. (Of course avoiding the Americanized stuff every place has to have on the menu for takeout, that's just a given unless you're in Chinatown).
I find any of the cold appetizers to be the most authentic and delicious, and of the hot appetizers only the steamed buns (red bean or veg), and the turnip cake are really worth it.
If you have never had taro and spareribs soup (yu tou pai gu tang) - oh yum. I love taro, which is why my friends in Taiwan said I must have been Taiwanese in a past life! Most Americans aren't thrilled with it, and it is a starch tuber, but even boiled in soup the texture stays firmer than a potato, while the surface develops a certain creaminess that just pops my cork. It has little purple stripe lines running through it and when you slice it you see little purple dots. As with many Chinese dishes, you get meat with the bones in, and gnawing the meat off the bones is part of the fun of eating! Pick a little sparerib out with your chopsticks and chew the meat off the bone (you can touch your fingers to one end of the bone while your chopstick holds the other end), then suck out the marrow from the end of the bone (bones are cut with cleaver for that purpose), it's so nutritious and rich.
Pork and preserved vegetable (zha cai rou si tang) is another good soup choice, it's just a lovely combo. It's a pickled veg similar to a broccoli stem as a reference point and it's just good with tender boneless strips of pork.
Can't say I'm thrilled with any of their beef dishes, not that they're bad. Garlic flower beef would be my favorite -the suan tai are the green firm garlic stem shoots with a tiny flower bud on end, a nice veg that you wouldn't eat otherwise.
The pork intestine & tripe are good but if that's not your thing, the pork with dried bean curd is good. It is done in long slivers of both (anytime you see the last character there (si) on any dish name it means the dish is cut into nice long slivers (vs. square pieces "ding" as in gong bao ji ding -Kung Pao chicken). The dried bean curd is called xiang gan and is a five spice flavored pressed form of tofu that becomes very firm and meaty textured. It's great by itself in slivers with a little flavored oil as appetizer/small plate too at other places. Chinese pork chops are almost always great.
I've loved all their vegetable dishes - greens, eggplant etc. You have to try black mushroom and Chinese veg (dong gu cai xin) - nice meaty dark flavored mushrooms like a whole shiitake are a traditional pairing with what you'd recognize as the stem part of a green similar to bok choy but stem is light green. Such a simple great dish, very cleansing when you get a lot of meat or rich dishes, the greens and mushrooms cleanse your blood.
For seafood you should be able to get the eel with yellow chives coming up soon in winter. You must try either beef slivers & yellow chives somewhere, or these eel with yellow chives! The yellow chives are the dark green flat Chinese chives (jiu cai) that are often with pork in dumplings, but they're grown in dark conditions and are yellow. They have a slightly unusual odor but tender silky texture and wonderful taste. They need to pair with a strong meat flavor or texture like beef or eel, wouldn't be good with chicken or shrimp if you decide to get some at the chinese market and cook at home.
Avoid all house specials except duck dishes.
Needless to say, moo shi - no way.
If you have enough people, hot pot rocks! Get whatever ingredients you like, just make sure you drink that broth at the end after everything has cooked in it or you're missing something!
Oh, now I need to go down there soon because I'm blathered on enough to make myself crave some of those dishes! :)