Tag Archives: Shanghai

A Shanghai & Beijing Eat-ologue For Mike & Katie

22 Feb

Two of my good friends from Columbus, Mike and Katie, are going to China in a couple months to celebrate a wedding and I wanted to compile a list of places that I love to eat at, for their reference.

Starting in Shanghai:

I blogged about crispy panfried buns when I came back from my trip and I still think about them. They are really heavy so your best bet is to pair an order (4 buns) with a clear brothy soup, like rice vermicelli and tofu skin. There may be some baby shrimp used to flavor the broth too. The best place for these babies is Little Yang’s. There is another location, on the second floor of the Number One Food Stuff Department Store pictured below (it’s in a food court and they use styrofoam & paper).

This is NanJing Road which is all pedestrian with the exception of those teeny trolleys. There are tons of snack shops where most items are measured in bulk like a candy store. The pictures along the right is just a random corner snack shop with a line a dozen deep waiting for these piping hot meat mooncakes. Flaky and pretty freaking delicious. My main recommendation for this street is the three level Number One Food Stuff Department Store. It’s got dried sea cucumbers that sell for USD1000 for half a kilogram, a huge dried meats section, and tons of season appropriate food gifts. There is also a food court upstairs with a huge prepared foods section, a dumpling joint (not so recommended), and panfried buns!

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I’m Back! (And Five Pounds Heavier!)

14 Sep

This is Shanghai on a surprisingly clear day. Most days during the summer are oppressively muggy, hot (in the low 30C, low 90F range), overcast, with 90% humidity.  Actually, it’s wet and gray year round, the London of the East. Blech. In the foreground, the circular building is the Shanghai Museum which sits right in the heart of the City, People’s Square. Along the perimeter are municipal buildings, the city government, the Grand Theater, and there is a massive underground mall with hundreds of small shops ranging from three chair salons to snack vendors to clothing shops. To the left, you can kind of see the Pearl TV Tower which is the pink globe on the needle, which is located across the HuangPu Jiang (黄浦江, Yellow River) in PuDong (浦东, River East). The two tallest buildings in the background are also in PuDong and at different times, held the honor of being the tallest building in the world. The one of the left is the Grand Hyatt with it’s hotel lobby on the 61st floor. I have very fond memories of celebrating my 19th birthday up there, but can’t recall for the life of me what I ate; to say the least, the view is a bit distracting, ha. There’s also a couple stories about the building on the right, about having been funded by Japanese developers and another about the “white space” being wide enough to fit a Boeing 777. If you’re interested, comment, and I’ll reply. Cuz as much as I love talking about Shanghai, I really LOVE talking about what I ate. ONWARDS!

So I thought I’d start off my travel posts with one of my favorite restaurants in Shanghai. It’s the place my brother and I go as soon as we step off the plane and also the last meal we have before we get back on the plane to come back to the U.S. And it’s actually considered a Taiwanese joint. AND it’s a chain. GASP! It’s homestyled food, nothing fancy, but what they do, they do incredibly well. And they do many of the Pan-Chinese dishes extraordinarily well. It’s called 千秋膳房 (qian1 qiu1 shan4 fang2, thousand autumns something house) and gets good scores on the Chinese Yelp (DianPing) and on Shanghaiist. Of the seventeen meals I had in China, I had three of them at 千秋膳房.

The star of the show is always this pancake roll-up (牛肉大饼卷) filled with sliced brisket, cucumber, scallions, and a house hoisin spread. The texture of the pancake is very much like a thin scallion pancake, crisp in spots and chewy in others. My brother and I bring one of these on our flight so we don’t go hungry between the meager two meals on the thirteen hour fight. It’s like a Chinese burrito! Also in this pic, sour&hot soup (酸辣汤), millet congee (小米粥) with pickled veggies, and a small plate of diced pickled green beans.

A close up of the sour&hot soup: you can see chunks of tofu, pig/chicken blood, egg drop, julienne carrot, julienne wood ear mushroom, julienne bamboo, and cilantro. Not terribly different from the sour&hot soup we find at the American Chinese restaurants in the U.S, but worlds more delicious. The lack of unnecessary fillers (like julienne pickled veggies) and cornstarch (to thicken up the already hearty broth) makes a big difference.

We also get at least one bamboo steamer (蒸笼) of soup dumplings (小龙饱). Soup dumplings are considered a Shanghainese specialty but the Taiwanese execution is exceptionally reknown, more on this in a later post!

And when I’m just in the mood to slurp down a bowl of noodles, this red-braised beef noodle soup (红烧牛肉面) is the best. I wish I had it around on call for wicked hangovers, colds/flus, or anytime because it’s the best cure-all. The beef is braised with a little liquid, chili oil, and tomatoes for hours on end, and the sauce ends up being the base for the soup broth. The noodles are hand made to order and at once chewy and tender. As always, there’s ample fresh cilantro and scallions to scent the soup, and some simply blanched greens thrown in for good measure. Pure umami goodness.

This restaurant also has great homemade soymilk. They bring it either unsweetened, steaming hot, in a soup bowl with ultra light brown sugar on the side or sweetened and cold in a cup. I’m going to miss this place, but the promise of those beef roll-ups makes the long haul flight and two layovers worth it. I seriously can’t wait to go back, already!