Monday, January 31, 2011

Eating my way thru Shanghai

Food was definitely one of the purposes of my trip to Shanghai. I have heard a lot about the quality of food there and was excited to start trying them.

The skies cleared up when we got to Shanghai which afforded us the ability to walk through the streets without having to manauever through ice. (by this time, they already cleared the streets)

We were billeted at the Pacific Hotel - the design aspects of which deserve a separate blog in itself. It is located near THE BUND. This is a stretch of road on the westside of the Huangpu river. It is the most popular tourist destination in Shanghai (much like Champ Elysee in Paris) because of the beautiful Art Deco architecture. If you didn't know you were in Shanghai, you might think you were in London or some other European country.

First order of business was to try the hairy crab. It a small compared to the Alaskan king crab that I had tasted in Australia. But it was so flavorful. The crab roe was very sticky (not the dry and hard kind we would expect from other crabs)- It actually reminded me of peanut butter. The establishment we ate at was very popular because every table was full and we had to share a big table with two other couples (noticed most of the clientele was Japanese). The interior of the place was like one would see in a Chinese kung fu movie (It even had girls playing some chinese string instruments)

 the restaurant interiors... 
they are kept in the fridge (sleeping in the cold)
cooked and ready to be eaten
chinese music players

For a minimal fee (and because the crabs were so small it was hard to get to the meat) you can have the waitresses take the crab apart - they will serve it to you in a plate with just the meat. (how is that for service eh?) The crabs itself were pricey (because they were very seasonal) about 180-240 RMB (about $28) per pc depending on the size (of course we got the 180 rmb one). The other dishes we tried were forgettable. 

Earlier, we tried the big siao long pao at the YUAN GARDEN. It a big big dumpling where they fill it with frozen soup, crab roe and pork. They steam it until you get soup filled dumpling. You have to eat it very very carefully (bec they serve it piping hot)
yuan garden chinese pavillion
The lines around this place was unbelievable. it just went on and on (they had a take out counter near the entrance) But I found the skin of the dumpling a bit thick and didn't eat it.

 I found another place, near THE BUND which serves a tastier version. The skin is thinner (thus you can eat it) - it't tucked on the second floor of a chinese deli.
 very soupy!!!
you can watch them make it.... (this is before they steam them)

Aside from the regular restaurants, you still have to try the places you pass by on the street. If I see a line forming somewhere, you know the place has something good. Just follow the crowd to good things!
line forming on the street

its some kind of fried dumpling... of course we tried them.. yum! I burned myself in the soup (again!) it came out as I bit on the skin and quirted~ yes, squirted~ the juice 2 feet in front of me. Glad no one was walking in front!
 what is this? a line?
ooooooH.... egg tarts and some local pastry!

ate one before I remembered to take a picture. It's a cheesecake tart!

I was too tired to try the various other things I saw (but wanted to try) - maybe next trip!

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