October 17, 2009

Shanghainese birthday

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It's kinda weird spending dad's birthday at a Shanghainese restaurant, since I'm so used to doing the small, private dinner at Paris 1930.  But we're here with the extended family so Shanghainese it is.  Yishang Garden (溢香園) isn't far from home so it was easy to get to.

Jellyfish, celery and pan-fried cashews (西芹海蜇拼腰果) - a bit of an unusual combination.  The jellyfish bits were from the head so they were hard and crunchy.

Lobster salad (沙律龍蝦片) - there was so much mayo on top we had to take off half of it.

Steamed ox tripe in abalone sauce (鮑汁蒸牛肚) - this was really good stuff... The claypot was full of very tender tripe, beef tendons, radish and onions all in a sauce full of black pepper.  Not very Shanghainese I must say, but yummy nonetheless.

Stir-fried freshwater eel Ningbo style (寧式炒鱔糊) - need to do a bit more studying to figure out exactly why this is Ningbo (寧波) style, since it's done the way I'm used to - with shredded ginger and yellowed chives (韭黃).  Pretty good stuff and disappeared in a hurry.

Pancakes with scallions (蔥花鮮餅) - never had it done like this before... basically flat pockets with lots of yummy scallions inside, then cut into long pieces.  I can probably eat four of these but stuck to only one...

Prawns in Chinese wine (宮廷花雕蝦) - this is similar to what I had two nights ago, except that the taste of Chinese herbs was milder tonight, and the soup was fairly salty so I couldn't taste the Huadiao wine (花雕酒) as much.  Prawns were fresh and sweet, though, and the wolfberries (枸杞) were nice.

Sea cucumber with mushrooms (百靈菇烏參) - not bad, with nice and yummy mushrooms (百靈菇) and sugar snaps.

Steamed crabs (原味鮮肥蟹) - crabs are in season and I think these were 處女蟳.  Every time I have crabs like these, I'm reminded of the reasons why I stick to hairy crabs (大閘蟹), Sri Lankan crabs and king crabs...

Steamed red snapper (清蒸鮮紅條) - the presentation here deserved high marks.  The snapper was filleted but the head and skeleton had been curled up and presented in the middle of the plate.  Around this we find pieces of the fish, together with slices of ham, ginger, shiitake mushrooms and clams - all over a bed of tofu.  Unfortunately the fish was a little overdone, so it wasn't that juicy and succulent.

Sponge gourd with conpoy (干貝綠角瓜) - classic combination and nicely done.

Chicken soup with mushrooms (養身菇雞湯) - very nice soup with tender chicken and lots of brown beech (bunashimeji in Japanese) mushrooms.

Steamed bun with pork and shepherd's purse (薺菜鮮肉包) - didn't taste much meat but the veggie was nice.

Wok-fried crêpe with date paste (棗泥鍋餅) - I just loooove the Shanghainese style paste made from dates... I was a good boy and only took one piece, even though I could have finished the whole plate by myself.

It was a decent dinner, with some winners and some mediocre offerings.  But the whole point was about getting together as a family, so we didn't really need top-notch food...

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