Thursday, January 12, 2006

Yi Jia Yi ("1+1"), Shanghai

Water Cooked Beef

This was frustrating. I asked around to see what one usually eats for a late night snack in Shanghai, and believe it or not, the answer was Yong He soy milk (like the one from Taiwan - although also with a strange knockoff of the KFC Colonel Sanders logo, I might add). Not satisfied, I asked some others, and another guy recommended Din Tai Fung. Finally, I just jumped in a cab and told the cabbie to take me to late night food. He took me to some street (was it Xian Xia Road?) that was supposedly famous for late night food in Shanghai. And what do they serve there? Taiwanese food like hot pot! Argh - I didn't come all the way to Mainland China to eat Taiwanese food. So I scoured the street, back and forth, back and forth. I could not find a place to my satisfaction. I figured that the best places had to be the ones with the biggest crowds, but the places with the biggest crowds were the Taiwanese hot pot places. After a few rounds of unsuccessful searching, I capitulated and ended up at this "1+1" restaurant, which I thought I heard the cabbie mentioning, so I figured at least it was somewhat local. (To my dismay, the full name of the restaurant mentioned Tainan Dan Zi Mian from Taiwan. I just can't win!)

It was not very good. The waitress could not recommend anything, so I ended up ordering some Sichuan "water cooked beef." It lacked spiciness. It lacked numbingess. And the beef was so artificially tender that I suspect that heavy meat tenderizer was used. Wow - Chuan back in Singapore was seriously much better and authentic (as were places that I had been to in Beijing). Hmph. I suspect that maybe this place is like a Denny's of Shanghai or something. Well, at least it wasn't a ripoff. I paid only RMB20 (US$2.50).


Anonymous said...

pls do not despair. shanghai is a haven for fabulous food. its one of my fav places to dine in. unfortunately, i am terrible at providing actual addresses and names. if i remember correctly, there is a place called di shui hu on mao ming nan lu, that serves fab hunan food. also a traditional shaghainese rest with a branch at xin dian ti (but call for reservations first as its always full). and there is this amazing shen jian bao - a street eat that is to die for. just ask around for it. so preservere. there's more good food in the city than you realise.

bma said...

Now that I think of it, I remember making the mistake of ordering Sichuan food last time I was in Shanghai a couple years ago, and it too was disappointingly mild. I suspect that it might be some localization for the milder Shanghainese palate or something.

wateva said...

There's this other place in Shanghai called "wo jia chan ting" which basically means it's his home's dining area. You're literally eating in someone's house, very tradition homecooked Shanghainese food here and a huge selection of Shanghainese cold dishes..