Sunday, February 26, 2012

Food in China: Fine Dining in Shanghai

On my last night in China, we had a scrumptious dinner at one of the popular restaurants in Shanghai. The restaurant's name is "Lao Beijing" which direct translates to Old Beijing but its English name is actually called "Traditional Beijing Roast Duck" as that was what was written on their pack of wet tissue (I could be wrong). In China when you say "Lao Beijing", it usually means Peking Duck, which is one of the famous delicacies in China - originating from..well Beijing of course. They even have Peking Duck flavored KFC Twisters! Anyway, back to the restaurant. Just like Hefei, we were served with 20 dishes during this dinner but this time around I managed to snap a picture of every single dish. So here goes....

So, as usual, the appetizers also known as "Liang Chai" (Cold dishes) are served first. However, as opposed to Hefei, some of these "cold dishes" were actually hot dishes which I preferred.

First of the cold dishes - cold chicken feet. I never liked chicken feet even back in Malaysia so I did not touch this dish, except for the veggie sticks.

Cold and spicy lamb slices. Also did not touch this cause it looks too spicy.

Fried fish. This was actually pretty good. Thankfully, from this point onwards, the food became more bearable and actually turned out pretty delicious. 

Toufu and peanuts in sweet sauce.  This brought a unique taste to our taste buds but still bearable. 

Some veggie & garlic meticulously diced and shaped into a cylinder. Got to give them thumbs up for presentation. This dish was pretty good too.

That marks the end of the appetizers. Here comes the mains.

Another fried fish. I can't remember how it tastes like, but I do know it did not stray far from the our usual Malaysian taste..

I remember this clearly because of the unique taste. This is black fungus fried with spicy sauce (with a hint of sourness). Once again, it doesn't look spicy but it is. I usually prefer not to eat black fungus back in Malaysia because I don't find it tasty in any way but THIS one here, made me going for seconds! Who would have thought of cooking this with chili?! Brilliant.

Sauteed shrimps and ginko - another weird combination for our standards but turned out not too bad.

Stir-fried pork in spicy sauce - My favourite dish of the night! (besides the Peking Duck of course)

and here comes the duck. They really ensure freshness as they will carve the duck beside your table and then serve you immediately.

Peking Duck. The best part of "Peking Duck" is actually its skin. I'm not a big fan of animal skins but surprisingly this was thin and crunchy enough so I didn't feel so grossed out eating it.

"Chefs blow air under the skin to separate it from the fat, then brush the duck with a sugary syrup and spices. They then soak it in boiling water and hang it to dry for up to a day to ensure a crispy skin. Finally, they roast the duck."

 So how does one eat Peking Duck? There are actually a couple of sauces and condiments to go with it (sorry, I forgot to snap a pic of that) which you are supposed to put on the duck and eat with crepe-like pancakes (IMO looks like the Indian paratha bread). Don't ask me why the Chinese are eating their specialty with Indian bread...I am trying to figure that out myself. But that's how they usually serve all over China (did a google search just to verify this).

The "paratha" bread to go with the duck. You then proceed to roll it up and eat it like a burrito. I must say, the duck on its own is great but add the sauce, and its fantastic! 

Of course the duck meat was served as well. It was tender and juicy and probably the best duck I've ever tasted. Love the fact that it is thinly sliced and de-boned so it makes eating easier. Sidenote: Do you find it comical or sadistic that the plate has a duck head staring down at its own chopped off head? hmmm

Okay, this is probably a weird dish because I don't remember eating it. I think its some animal innards in spicy soup.

Sweet and sour fried fish - our third fish of the night. This was yummy and a taste close to home. 

Fatty pork and beans with fried buns.

What looked like beansprouts stir-fried with some other veggies.

Another spicy unknown part of an animal I did not eat. Looks suspiciously like chicken knee...again. 

Stir fried green veggies - a must at every meal.

Chinese cabbage with (i think) pumpkin sauce.

Finally, we ended the meal with some dessert. These were glutinous rice balls (something like "tong yuen") with dried goji berries "kei chi". It was sweet but starchy. Nevertheless it was a good ending to the meal. 

I did a search on foursquare and found their address if you are interested in checking it out the next time you are in Shanghai. 

Traditional Beijing Roast Duck aka Lao Beijing
1 South HeNan RoadShanghai上海市
(Near Bund area - 15 mins walk from Nanjing Rd Metro Station)

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