November 12, 2007

Two great meals in Shanghai

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I was up in Shanghai again this weekend, and finally got around to dining at my new favorite Shanghainese restaurants.

For lunch we went to Jesse Restaurant (吉士), my choice for great Shanghainese. I had to order the braised pork with cuttlefish (目魚紅燒肉) , the signature dish of the restaurant and my personal favorite. We also had other favorites such as deep-fried baby yellow croaker (酥炸小黃魚) and rice fettucine with preserved vegetables (雪菜粉皮). Even Andreas, our German friend who eats everything, loved the food and kept on eating.

At dinner time we met up at XinGuang (新光), the restaurant famous for serving expensive hairy crab to foreign tourists. Since this is hairy crab season, I can't think of a better place to have dinner. As usual, as soon I entered the restaurant, I heard banter in Cantonese, Japanese and English, even Taiwanese...but no Shanghainese.

We ordered a set menu with nothing but crab, which featured the following crowd favorites: crab claws (I think about 50 of them), crab legs with asparagus, stir-friend crab roe, crab roe with rice fettucine, crab roe wonton in soup, and noodles with crab roe (have you OD'd yet?). In addition, we each got a whole crab which was reasonable in size and pretty delicious with enough roe. When that wasn't enough, we ordered crab roe with beef tendon.

All this for about RMB 700 a head, which is a princely sum to pay for dinner and makes this uneconomical for the locals. I look forward to going back to both restaurants on my next trip.

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