October 12, 2009

Shanghainese reunion

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I noticed that I've been having a lot more Shanghainese over the last few months.  Tonight I went back to the Shanghai Fraternity Association (上海總會) for a gathering of old friends.  We used to work together more than 10 years ago, at an institution which has long been bought and absorbed by a bigger bank.  It was a lot of fun to update each other about what we're all doing, and also recount stories about the old days.


Strange-flavored chicken (怪味雞) - this was not bad at all.  A little spicy, with the usual sprinkle of peanuts and drizzled with the special sauce.  It's a mix of soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, chili oil...etc, hence the name.

Smoked duck egg (薰蛋) - always love this, but the smoky flavor here seemed a bit light.

Vegetarian goose (素鵝) - OK but would be even better if there were some diced mushrooms.

Deep-fried freshwater eel (油爆鱔魚) - these were very, very good.  Very crispy and crunchy, with lots of sweet and sour sauce made from vinegar and sugar.  

Marinated jellyfish (涼拌海蜇皮) - there was a good amount of the jellyfish's head/body, which meant this was especially crunchy.  Taste-wise was only OK.

There was a good variety of main courses:

Stir-fried freshwater shrimp (清炒蝦仁) - a big plate of this and the shrimps were tiny.  Pretty good stuff.

Crispy duck stuffed with glutinous rice (八寳鴨) - this was a surprise.  The duck was very crispy on the outside, and reminded me of the French duck confit as both the taste and texture were pretty much the same.  Thankfully it's not as salty as the traditional confit.  But I thought the glutinous rice was too mushy, and tasted a little bland.

Pea shoots stir-fried with garlic (蒜茸炒豆苗) - I was a bit surprised because it seemed too early for pea shoot season (it's more of a winter veg) but the quality was pretty high.

Braised fatty pork leg (紅燒元蹄) - not my favorite.  They fried the leg first before braising it, so the outer layer of the skin wasn't smooth anymore.  Taste was OK and came with baby bok choy (小白菜).

Steamed Reeve's shad with ham in rice wine sauce (清蒸鰣魚) - this was a treat as I love this fish. I took in both the dark (back) and the white (stomach) meat, as I relished the chance to enjoy this.  While it was pretty good, this was a bit bland compared to what I had at Fu 1039 in Shanghai

Xiaolongbao (小籠包) - my member friend told me that he thought this was the best xiaolongbao in Hong Kong.  I don't know if I would call it the best but it was certainly up there.  The skin was nice and soft, and the dumplings were filled with nice pork jus.

Pan-fried dumplings (生煎包) - this was pretty damn good... the bottom was nice and crispy, even a little charred, but with that light and fluffy texture at the same time.  The stuffing fell a little short, though, since it wasn't very juicy.

I was very stuffed at this point, so I just had some fruit to finish off.  

It was a lot of fun to catch up with these guys, and even better to enjoy some good food together.  A few of us adjourned to Zuma for drinks later, and regaled in outlandish tales of all the shenanigans we've witnessed in the financial industry over the years...

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