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Sep 24, 2008 08:04 PM

Shanghai Cafe - pretty decent lunch

Had lunch at Shanghai Cafe today with a friend, it was surprisingly not packed at all...ill just get straight to the food as this place is well known:
- xiao lon bao (soup dumpings): these were pretty decent, definitely better than my last trip to nice green bo. Skins weren't as thick and doughy as NGB, soup tasted pretty good and the filling was flavorful.
- xiang gan rou si (shredded pork with dried bean curd): this was excellent, I was really surprised how good this was...I might come back here just b/c i love this dish and they did a really nice job on it. The pork was very flavorful and very tender, the dried bean curd was really very nice as well with that great flavor that is hard to explain unless uve had it. It wasn't too oily or salty. Very happy with this dish
- sauteed string beans (forgot what it was called in chinese): these was pretty decent, it was simply sauteed string beans with pickled vegetables. Not amazing, but good enough

Overall, I was pretty happy with my lunch and that xiang gan rou si was excellent, highly recommend trying it there, that alone was worth me going back again.

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  1. Wow, now you've got me craving that xiang gan rou si. By dried bean curd, do you mean those sheets of dried bean curd that are kind of wrinkly in texture? I love that and would also go just for that given how good you say the dish is!

    6 Replies
    1. re: uwsgrazer

      we might be talking about the same thing, the one im referring too is its sort of dark brown on the outside and then creamy white color in the sorta has a smoky flavor. They cut it into small thin blocks

      there is another one u might be talking about that is all creamy white and is super thin sheets; must less flavorful than the one im talking about...thats not the one im talking about

      1. re: Lau

        Yup, I think I might be talking about bean curd skin. I'll have to try the dried bean curd next time I'm in Chinatown. Thanks for the recommendation!

        1. re: Lau

          The bean curd skin is a little more yellow-ish and more moist in my experience while what you're talking about, Lau, comes in flat squares in the supermarket, yes? I remember my mother buying them in two packs in the refrigerated section, two blocks vacuum sealed in clear plastic. They're usually sliced thin into rectangles and thrown into other dishes as is. Is that it? I love that stuff, and was actually trying to figure out what the "official" name for it is.

          1. re: kathryn

            kathryn - yeah thats the stuff

            although i'm sure what the tofu alone is called b/c xiang gan rou si translates to fragrant dry meat strips

        2. re: uwsgrazer

          I think you're talking about tofu skin

          1. re: lanadai

            Tofu skin comes in thin flat sheets. The tofu in the dish Lau had and as described by kathryn is smoked tofu. It is smoked in small slabs to give it a hardened texture, smoky flavor and brownish color and then usually cut into small strips. One can also see it in small rectangular squares.

        3. oo I love Shanghai Cafe! I had a couple horrible lunches at the Manhattan Joes Shanghai's in Chinatown (meanwhile, I've had nothing but great ones at the Flushing loc, but anyways) I always do Shanghai Cafe. And despite the icky street smell outside of the joint, I love their soup well as this really good tofu with minced pork and spinach dish. The serving is huge, and the brown sauce is amazing.
          I also always get their basic noodle dish....which seems like lo-mein but with huge fat noodles.
          (pass on the bubble tea...its not the greatest and there's a Ten Ren nearby)

          1. I love Shanghai Cafe but people on this board always seem to be knocking it down. I actually prefer their soup dumplings over Joes. Also, try their Dong po dish next time.