Friday, December 19, 2008

Yu Xin @ Shanghai

If you are a lover of Sichuan fiery hot spicy food this is the address for you:
3rd floor, #333, Zhao Shang Ju Square, North Chengdu Road (near Weihai Lu),
Jing'an District. 
This is in Shanghai and not in Chengdu, Sichuan although the address can be misleading...
Tel: 5298 0438 (make reservation to avoid the queue)
The girls did all the ordering as they are the true experts of this cuisine.

Started off with the cold dish always...delicate pork dish with duck egg yolk.

Some rabbit food...lettuce with sesame sauce.
A very refreshing lightly stir-fried of black fungus, asparagus and chili.

The ever popular jellyfish salad, crunchy and delicious. 
OK, now armed with an artillery of antidotes, we were ready for the unique assault of the palates by the following fiery Sichuan dishes...

Steamed chicken smoldered in a hot sauce of hua jiao (Sichuan peppers) and chilli pepper sprinkled generously with sesame seeds and peanuts.  Yumz, hot and spicy.

Meaty and succulent bull frog legs stewed with petula (silk gourd) and tiny pickled red and green chillies in, what else but the ma la flavor of the huajiao. The aroma and flavor of the sichuan peppers coupled with the sourness from the varied pickled chillies rendered this dish beyond description...Proceed cautiously, it is a land mine of hua jiao floating around. One chomp and the mouth goes numb along with the taste bud too. 
My favorite of the evening.  

When this dish turned up at the table, I was thinking 'Chili soup?' Looked closely, the soup turned out to be oil! Are we going to eat that? OK, I was told this is hot fish fillet with chili peppers in oil. Thin slices of fish (freshwater) were cooked without fire but just from the heat of the boiling hot spicy oil. 

The fish was left in the hot oil with red pepper chili for a while and an attendant came by the table, lifted off the chili pieces and revealed the fish slices within. With this method the fish get cooked just right. The flavor and texture of fish was unbelievably smooth and silky and surprisingly didn't taste oily at all.    

Now the girls said we need to bring down the temperature as our warm attire was removed layer by layer as the meal progressed. They asked the captain for something to bring down the heat and this was the dish that turned up (lucky for us they didn't send the bomba). 
Savory soy bean curd with all these condiments. I don't know about the effectiveness of this in cooling us but it was a very tasty way to end the fiery dinner. 
Thank you, Z and C for the lovely evening, fantastic food and truly entertaining company.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yuan Yuan Restaurant @ Shanghai

This restaurant at Xingguo Lu, Xu Hui is near where Heather stays and we passed it a few time walking to Huaihai Lu (the main thoroughfare of the old French Concession and now bustling with shops) but never stop until one late morning when I thought we would be able to get some dim sum here. But someone was yelling hungry, so we had an early lunch instead of a late breakfast.

Anchovy appetizer.

Another appetizer, yummy broad beans and preserved veggie. I find the preserved veggie here very fresh and fragrant without the saltiness like those we get back home. 

A so so drunkard chicken. The wine sauce was tasty enough but the chicken was blend, tasteless and like the picture tells, a little anemic too.
 Asparagus in crab sauce.

BBQ pork and

roasted duck platter. Tasted better than they looked.
All these were rather mediocre dishes until we hit the jackpot with this...

Belly pork braised in brown (soy) sauce. 
This got to be the epitome of the goodness of hong shao rou (red cooked pork). I would kill to get the recipe of this dish and the technique to get the meat so perfectly cooked. The 1/2 inch of the belly fat was soft, smooth, silky and succulent without falling apart and didn't taste one bit like fat. The sauce accompanying was amazing - no cornstarch here - some kind of caramelized reduce stock with a amazing depth of flavors. This was totally crazy as I threw all health caution out of the window and dug in with gusto especially with the fatty parts. No pangs of guilt at all when the plate was wiped clean and I alone had almost half of it. Like I said, didn't taste like fat at all...
I am going without pork until I return to this restaurant again and have just this dish all to myself...

This is sheng jian bao, a Shanghai famous xiao chi (small eats/bites). Great soup inside but the skin in this case was more a bao (too thick) rather than a potsticker (thin). We tasted better ones at Wujiang Road. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nan Lee Restaurant @ Shanghai

Nan Lee Restaurant
We met up with my cousin's daughter, San San, who moved to Shanghai with the husband almost 2 years ago when he went over to work. She brought us to this Shanghai/Hangzhou cuisine at this address: 

It is very easy to find as it is on the same street (Nanjing Lu) as all the up-market shopping ... when you find this gate, walk in a few meters and it is on your right.  

Simple but delicious eggs in a light sweet soy dressing, one of the many Shanghainese cold dish.

This fish is also considered a cold dish. It is stewed with preserved veggie with a sweet sauce. Very appetizing.

A stir-fried of pork belly, walnuts, leeks and chillies. Wonderful combination of taste and texture. 

A beef hot-pot with tang hoon. A meal by itself.

Nian gau (sticky rice cake) in cubes instead of the usual slices fried kung pou style. Very tasty. 

Another fish dish but I didn't get to taste this as there were so many other dishes to sample.

A rather disappointing lion's head... but huge, almost the size of my fist.

A chicken hot-pot stew

Steam egg

Shanghai staple- veggie rice. Love it, especially the fresh soybeans.

We went for the lunch special for 6 pax at RMB 198 although there were only 4 of us!*greedy* Nine tasty wholesome dishes in all which could have easily fed 8. Real value for money. No wonder the place was packed.

We went back for dinner again the day before we left Shanghai as we were shopping nearby and wanted to taste more of their dishes. 
So glad we did...

A delicious cold dish of shredded cucumber, enoki mushroom and cilantro with a light vinaigrette dressing. So light and refreshing.

A starter set of stewed pork ribs and tofu. 

Another tofu dish fried with thin slices of lup choong (chinese sausage) and leek. So simple yet sooo good. 

Four-season beans.

Dong Bo Rou with preserved veggie. 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Crustaceans Encounter @ Shanghai

Before we left for Shanghai, hubby repeatedly remind Leanne not to miss trying out the grilled garlic oysters which he said can be found at almost every corner in Shanghai. We were expecting to have them everyday for appetizer but alas, that was not to be as we couldn't find any near where we stayed. Must have stayed in a wrong address.

When Heather brought us to this 'pasar malam'-like place and we found that K was right.

The whole street were lined with grilled oysters stores and according to Heather there are locations all over Shanghai just like this one - so the dad wasn't exaggerating... 


and oysters everywhere you turn.

We went into this stall which Heather said serves good and very fresh seafood. 

Leanne wasn't very keen on the seating arrangement as the store was only the size of a small bedroom but packed with more than 20 patrons. It was an elbow to elbow encounter.

Feeling a little claustrophobic....

But all these became immaterial when the food arrived...  

First course - 1 kg of these boiled crayfish.

then came the scallops...

followed closely by the oysters both of which were smoldered in garlic/chilli sauce.

and more oysters still... all these were very yummy but I was waiting for something else...

...these hairy ones, the famous Shanghai freshwater crabs. I was told this was the best season (Oct. - Feb.) to eat them. As the weather gets colder these crustaceans become sluggish and lazy so they fatten up and the meat get denser and sweeter. They were smaller than I expected, each one smaller than the size of my palm.

But when one was opened, it was all roe and I couldn't be happier. This is also the season when the crabs were to mate - hence the abundance eggs. 

A female crab packed with gorgeous roe.

A male crab with even more glorious 'gau' jelly-like smooth, rich creamy goodness which I never knew existed. I fell in love with these hairy male crabs. 

Look at this. Every little morsel was an indulgence. I realized eating hairy crab is all about its roes and not so much the meat. 

Couldn't help myself but had to ask for two more crabs all to myself. Guess...male or female??

These mantis shrimps were also on the menu but we gave them a miss as they were deep-fried but the couple next to us were happily cracking and picking on a whole tray of these 'pissing prawns' the whole evening.