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Nov 16, 2010 06:11 PM

Di Shui Dong 滴水洞饭店 – Very Good Hunan Restaurant in Shanghai

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Di Shui Dong 滴水洞饭店 was the first dinner I had in Shanghai. My friend’s girlfriend recommended this restaurant, which serves Hunan food. I believe it’s a pretty well known although some people told me it’s a bit touristy / overhyped.

It’s located on the second floor in a pretty busy neighborhood in Shanghai. The interior is mainly wooden and has red and white checkered table clothes on the tables. Honestly, it really doesn’t look like a Chinese restaurant at all. If you got rid of all the Chinese people and replaced them with Americans, it would look like some American BBQ joint.

The service was not that good, but unfortunately that is a common trait in Shanghai restaurants. Unlike Chinese restaurants in America where the service is gruff, but very fast, the service in Shanghai is gruff and slow. My friends who live in Shanghai attribute the poor service to the fact that no one tips, so the servers could careless one way or the other whether the service is good or not.

Luckily, the food was quite good. Here’s what we got:

- Spicy pig’s feet: I ordered this as I like pig’s feet and so does my friend’s GF (although my friend does not). This came out in a bowl in a spicy brown sauce with chilis, sliced ginger, green onions, garlic and maybe a few other condiments. The sauce was excellent, not gloppy, very flavorful and not too salty. The pig’s feet were great, flavorful and very tender. Even my friend who doesn’t like pig’s feet thought this was pretty good. I liked it a lot. Unfortunately, my picture came out kind of crappy. 4/5
- Broccoli: my friend’s GF ordered this dish. It was broccoli that I believe had been boiled and then lightly sautéed with oil, chilis, salt and garlic. It looks very plain, but it was awesome. This was the best broccoli I’ve had in a long time. Not too oily, the garlic and chilis really gave it some good flavor. It was a very simple dish, but executed really well. 4.25/5
- Cabbage with chilis and ham: this was shredded cabbage that had been sautéed with oil, chilis, tiny chunks of a salted ham and a bit of salt. Another good dish, surprisingly it wasn’t too salty and the cabbage was cooked really well. It’s a pretty self-explanatory dish, but I liked it. 4/5
- Cumin ribs: This is the house specialty dish, specifically my friend’s GF wanted to come here to get this. It’s big beef ribs that are dry rubbed in cumin, chili flakes and some other spices. I believe they might have been fried because there was oil on the outside although they weren’t oily at all really. The flavor of the spices was excellent (I really like cumin) and the meat tasted amazing. However, while the meat was tender it was slightly overcooked, which my friend’s GF confirmed she said that the meat is normally more tender. Overall though these were still really good. 4/5
- Spicy intestines and bamboo shoots: I ordered this as the pictures looked it. Another simple dish of sliced bamboo, intestines, chilis, green onions and some other spices sautéed in oil. Intestines were very clean tasting and the bamboo was really nice. This was another good dish. 4/5
- Whole fried fish: this was recommended by one of our servers. This was the surprise of the night. It was a whole fish fried and then covered with a mixture of pickled vegetables, fried garlic, chilis and green onions that was made into a sort of crunchy paste. This was so good, the outside was crispy, but the fish meat was nice and tender and the mixture they put on top was really good (I was eating it with a spoon after we finished the fish). This was my favorite dish of the night. 4.5/5

Overall, I thought Di Shui Dong was very good (better than anything I’ve had in the US). Supposedly, there are some much better Hunan restaurants in Shanghai and I wish I had more time to try everything I wanted to try, but I’ll be back and I guess I’ll have to try them then.

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  1. hi Lau...glad you had a nice meal there, though i was slightly surprised...during my first stint in SH (several months in 2008) i went there a lot (both that branch and the smaller one in the central French Concession), esp to eat the deep-fried eel w/ chilies...but when i went back in 2009, i thought both branches had gone severely downhill, so much so that i eventually stopped doing there entirely...but it sounds like they doing things right again...

    Guyi is another popular Hunan place, on Fumin's more expensive than Dishui Dong and more of a business/nice-dinner place...i've only been once and enjoyed it, but wasn't wowed by it...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Simon

      gu yi was where i was originally planning to go, but my friend's gf was already set on doing to di shui dong, so i just went

      yah i've heard mixed reviews, most people's reaction is either i love that place or that place is overhyped etc. based on my one meal there i thought it was very good, i was actually sort of setting up in my head to be disappointed

      btw deep fried eel w/ chilis sounds really awesome

      1. re: Lau

        yeah the deep-fried eels w/ chilies is one of my dishes, and one which is hard to find a good version of outside of China...even that nice Hunan place in Flushing didn't seem to make it...

        if you're still in SH, i'd recommend a visit to Southern Barbarian, a Yunnan place which is very close to the branch of Dishui Dong that you went to...their grilled fish w/ herbs, Yunnan cheese, cold eggplant, and various mushroom dishes are very yummy, and they have a stellar selection of beers and ales...

        1. re: Simon

          haha i wish i was still there, this was in july....i just had a ton of posts that i'm finally getting to now that my blog launched, i'm almost done with asia, ill be back to writing US posts soon

          i would love to try it, i'm very curious about yunnan food as i've only had a little bit of it

    2. Di Shui Dong was my favorite place when I visited Shanghai last year.
      Like others here, I enjoyed the deep-fried eel dish.
      But what I really loved was their bacon with garlic shoots. I am craving some right now.

      1 Reply