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Shanghai, May 2009 - report

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We are making a brief stopover in Shanghai before we head over to Bangkok and Cambodia. So, I'm been making the most of our limited meals.

After getting rid of our bags, we headed over to Huanghe Lu, just North of People's Square. I wanted to maximize dumpling intake in a limited time so we first went to Yang's Fry Dumpling (97 Huanghe Lu) to try the sheng jian bao. Wow. I took a bite of the fried dumpling and juice squirted everywhere, which was a shame since it was so tasty. But, there was still plenty of juice left in the dumpling itself. I was very impressed with the fry job and I thought it was interesting that the top was fried (v. the flat bottom). It must be to seal in the juices.

We then headed across the street to try Jia Jia Tang Bao (90 Huanghe Lu). We ordered to baskets of xiao long bao (one pork and one pork and shrimp). both were tasty but I don't think the shrimp added anything. I wanted to try the crab and pork one but I have a slight crab allergy and didn't want to risk it.

On the train from SuZhou, I literally ran into a childhood friend from the states. So, we met for dinner at Xin Dian Ti at the Shanghainese restaurant there (no clue of the name). But, there is a downstairs level and a 2nd floor. we ate on the second floor and boy, did we feast. There wasn't a bad note amongst any of these. We started with - jellyfish with vinegar, chicken in rice wine, duck, braised tofu and lotus root stuffed with sticky rice.

For mains, we had: whole fish, greens (kong xin cai), xiao long bao (probably the weakest dish because it wasn't burn your mouth hot), pork belly braised in sugar, little pork sandwiches (where there is a piece of crisp pork skin, pork meat and cucumber), baby shrimp with vinegar and tofu with crab. The tofu and minced crab/crab roe dish was amazing. It was worth getting sick over and I couldn't stop eating it. The tofu was so soft and the crab meat and roe just gave it the most luscious flavor. The whole dish just this wonderful silkiness to it. Anyway, these were all excellent renditions of this type of cuisine.

It seems like there is less MSG usage here in Shanghai (and SuZhou) then in ChengDu and HangZhou. But, it could be that I am just getting used to it.

Off to Bangkok.

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  1. A better descrption of the dinner place at Xintiandi. If starbucks entrance is on your right, go left, and wind down that corridor. I think you turn left again and it's on the corner. The doorway is small and the restaurant face is fairly unassuming, especially given the locale.

    1 Reply
    1. The tofu/minced crab/crab roe dish you described - that's a Shanghai classic and one of my most favorite dishes in the whole wide world!

      4 Replies
      1. re: klyeoh

        hi klyeoh...i like that dish too...you might be interested to try a version i had at Pinchuan (somewhat pricey, remodeled Sichuanese place in the Fr.Concession): basically it combined that Shanghainese dish w/ mapo tofu -- so, imagine a very peppercorny/spicy mapotofu w/ lots of crab roe and crab (instead of pork)...i really thought it was a nice fusion of SH and Sichuan cuisine...

        I didn't love Pinchuan overall (i went twice, and the other dishes i'd tried there were merely decent and a bit overpriced and the place is too bright and shiny for my taste)...but i'd go back for the crab roe tofu...

        1. re: Simon

          Thanks, Simon - now that sounds like a perfect dish; crabroe tofu with a spicy twist.

          1. re: Simon

            Might be a good way of masking cheap crab, but I'd hate to have the crab roe overpowered by the heat.

            1. re: Xiao Yang

              i understand and i would have thought that might have happened too (esp since i'm used to having a lot of my freshest seafood either raw or very simply prepared)....

              but for some reason it worked: it might be because they used Sichuan peppercorns, so some bites had a lot of "ma" yet it didn't bleed into or overpower the actual roe flavor (i.e. if it had been a more "la" dish w/ lots of chili oil or if it had been cooked for a long time, then i think it might have overpowered the roe)...

              hmm, i think, since i am not in SH right now, i may try to cook it myself and experiment...

        2. Glad you had fun...but too bad you don't have longer, as there are tons of other places in SH that you'd enjoy too...

          i'll hop over to the Greater Asia board and see how you are faring in BKK (i lived for six months each in BKK and SH)...