June 21, 2017

Birthday in Taipei day 1: gathering the clan, again

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I'm back in Taipei for a few days to spend my birthday with the Parental Units.  As luck would have it, I've got uncles and cousins in town from the States again.  So once again a gathering of the clan was arranged.  Once again we booked a table of 16.  This time, though, we went back to Shanghai Kitchen (上海鄉村) for some reliable Shanghainese food.

Diplomatic Uncle wasn't be happy with the set menus proposed by the restaurant - and I probably wouldn't have, either - so he went through the restaurant's menu to order à la carte.

Smoked fish (無錫脆鱔) - LOL... "smoked fish"?!  Well, these deep-fried freshwater eel were crunchy as expected, with piercing acidity in the midst of sweetness.  Delicious.

Chilled marinated chicken with Shao-Xing wine (紹興醉雞) and crystal pork jelly in Zhenjiang style (鎮江肴肉) - one of my American cousins refused to eat the pork jelly, even though I told him that it wasn't fat but gelatin...

Stir-fried asparagus with king oyster mushrooms (蘆筍杏鮑菇)

Crispy bamboo shoots (干炸鮮筍) - I like the way these bamboo shoots are fried, but I love the crispy, deep-fried leafy mustard (雪裡紅) even more.

Stir-fried beef with shredded bean curd (干絲牛肉絲) - not bad.

Fried shrimps (清炒蝦仁) - no surprise that these weren't as good as the ones I can get in Hong Kong...

Deep-fried soft shell crab typhoon shelter style (避風塘軟殼蟹) - surprisingly with lots of string beans.

Braised Dong Po pork with sea cucumber (烤方烏參) - always a crowd favorite, especially with my little nephew.  These were cut into slices and came with those steamed buns which allows us to make them into those guabao (刈包) - otherwise known as the ubiquitous "bao" or "Chinese burgers" copied around the world.  I myself have never cared for the sea cucumber which also comes part of the dish, since they're of poor quality.

Steamed sea bass (清蒸石斑) - this was OK.

Amaranth vegetable (銀魚莧菜)

Stir-fried Japanese yam and ginkgo nuts with broccoli (碧綠百果山藥)

Chicken casserole (砂鍋土雞) - pretty good.  Thankfully we pre-ordered this.

BBQ bun (香蔥酥) - very, very tasty.  Nice kick from white pepper.

Steamed lotus root with brown sugar (桂花糖藕) - my childhood favorite.  Too bad I only got two thin slices...

Food was OK tonight, and service was kinda shit.  The point of tonight, though, was getting everyone together - especially those in my generation who don't get to see each other much since we're scattered all over the place.  It was unfortunate that My Favorite Cousin didn't get the memo about tonight... but this was not my fault...

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