Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Tony Roma's Singapore

Onion Loaf

OK, this isn't a place I would come to normally, especially considering how much I hate chain restaurants. But after a long day out with the fellas today, we needed some grilled meat and cholesterol, and thus headed over to Tony Roma's, which has a couple locations across the island. The Onion Loaf started out all right as a total grease bomb, while the "World Famous Ribs" were tender. The corn on the cob was horrendously overdone and mushy though.

The Original Baby Back World Famous RibsAnyway, there is not much to say here. It's chain food, and definitely not BBQ that I would prefer to have.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Chinese New Year Lo Hei in Singapore

Lo Hei: Before

Chinese New Year in Asia is like Thanksgiving in the US: everyone gets together with their families, airports get crowded as a result, and everything except for movie theaters, 7-Eleven, and McDonald's shuts down. And just like turkey in the US, there is a central dish in the dinner festivities: lo hei (at least, in Singapore and Malaysia - this dish doesn't seem to be too prominent in other Chinese communities).

Lo Hei: DuringLo hei is basically a shredded veggie salad featuring yu sheng raw fish. Actually, every ingredient in the salad is supposed to represent something, be it prosperity, fortune, or whatever (I think the fried wonton skins are supposed to be like gold flakes or something?). It's generally accompanied by a sweet dressing, although I've seen some variants like a spicy Sichuan red oil version as well as (whoa) a Tex-Mex version.

Lo Hei: After

And one key element in this dish is the group salad tossing (cue Chris Rock's standup). Basically everyone grabs a pair of chopsticks and starts tossing the salad by lifting the ingredients up in the air and then dropping it down onto the plate (don't forget those chants in Chinese...or at least start yelling out some good wishes or something positive like that). I'm told that the higher you're able to lift the ingredients, the wealthier (or is it luckier?) that you will be. This can create quite a bit of havoc on the table given you'll often miss the plate underneath, but it's all part of the experience.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Free Flow Shabu Shabu at Waraku

The nasty meat

This was quite atrocious. Having had a half-decent meal at Waraku before, I got excited at the thought that they had a special "free flow" shabu shabu promo running through the end of the month. I should have known better - this was simply horrendous. The meat was relatively thick and lacked taste. The broth was disturbingly sweet, and the sesame sauce was ridiculously thin. And of course, they used a trick of the trade by loading you up with cheap veggies rather than the more expensive meat.

More veggies than meat - plus the horrendous saucesThis was so disturbing and disappointing that we just stopped and didn't even bother to finish it. What a waste of money, time, and calories. Next time, it's definitely back to Ohsumi instead.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Post-Drinking Vindaloo


Mmm...after hitting up some post-work beers tonight, I needed something with a good kick to sit in my stomach. What came to mind? Vindaloo, a really spicy curry that interestingly apparently started as a Portuguese dish in its former Indian colony of Goa but has since become a huge thing in England instead. Honestly, I have no idea if the place that I got this one at (Haldi, 61 Boat Quay, 6534-4424) is any good as I just randomly chose it while trying to find an Indian place that was still open late (plus it's been years since I last had a curry in England), but this hit the spot as it was bursting with flavor for a perfect complement to the basmati rice. Yum - I inhaled this one pretty quickly, I must say.

A Mushroom Sandwich from Kaffe Krema

Mushroom Sandwich

OK this place is pretty good. This S$5 (US$3) mushroom sandwich is small, but it's got melted cheese and a nice sesame bread (and it's sliced thinly - yay!). This Kaffe Krema place turned out to be alright.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Buttered Popcorn from Lido Cinema

Extra Butter

Mmm...Lido Theatre on Scotts Road is one of the only movie theaters in Singapore that I know of that still serve butter on their popcorn. We asked for extra butter tonight. Pump away, baby.

Premium Rosu Katsu at Tonkichi

Premium Rosu Katsu

Cool - Tonkichi has reprinted their menu, and they now feature a "Premium" rosu katsu. For S$6 (US$3.50) more than the basic S$18 (US$10.60) rosu katsu, you get "grain fed premium pork" from KR Castlemaine ("Legendary Australian Quality"). And it's worth it: it's very tender and extra tasty - yum.

Another Sandwich from Kaffe Krema

Corned Beef Hash Sandwich

OK, Kaffe Krema is my new lunchtime sandwich place. I got their corned beef hash sandwhich today, which was decently hearty. Although they burned the bread today to the point where the edges were bitter (and it's still sliced too thick in my opinion), I still like the taste of these sandwiches better than Cedele. I saw them making a mushroom sandwich which also looked pretty darned good.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Singapore Zam Zam Restaurant

Mutton Murtabak

Not too unlike roti prata, murtabak is an interesting Indian-like dish but actually a local Singaporean/Malaysian creation. And Zam Zam (697/699 North Bridge Road, 6298-7011) is a Singaporean institution that has been around since 1908 (wow - that's older than Singapore itself). The mutton murtabak is like a prata stuffed with ground mutton, chopped onions, and egg, and served piping hot for you to dip into a curry sauce. This was pretty tasty, and the prata kosong is huge too.

Makin MurtabakTo add to the cultural experience, this place is across the street from the Masjid Sultan mosque, and the restaurant staff stops every so often for the call to prayer, which is quite enchanting. The food is dirt cheap, and I plan to come back here to try the sardine murtabak as well as their nasi goreng noodles, both of which looked pretty good. Just as with most of these places though, the smell of curry penetrates your clothing (despite the air conditioning upstairs), so I'll be sure not to wear a shirt and tie here next time.

KO Japanese Restaurant, Singapore

Tea Soup and Sashimi

This is a new place on the ground floor of the Intercontinental Singapore (6825-1064) that apparently took over the old grounds of the Suntory restaurant. I've eaten at Suntory's SUN at CHIJMES, but never at the Suntory at the Intercontinental, so I don't have much of a basis for comparison. But the menu here at the new place largely features sushi and little washoku sets, making it good for business lunches.

By and large, the food was decent, featuring fresh fish and cool things like a mushroom soup served in a tea kettle. The tempura was crispy, although the batter was rather thick (and interestingly featured some of the biggest prawns I'd ever seen used for tempura). Still, I don't think I'll be yearning to come back here as nothing really excited me. For these prices, I'd prefer to go elsewhere.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Santa Fe "All American Tex-Mex Grill"

Buffalo Wings and Nachos

I nearly didn't go into this place (Kiosk A outside Far East Plaza at 14 Scotts Road, where the old Le Viet branch used to be), as the menu featured excessive amounts of chicken. In fact, even when I got seated, I nearly stood back up and left when I saw a sign dangling above my head that touted "Tex-Mex Yusheng" for the approaching Chinese New Year. But what the heck - I wanted a margarita, and I figured that I'd give this place a try.

The food results were mixed. The margarita tasted syrupy, and in fact was a bit too sweet, but anything icy cold was still good to have on a warm day. The nachos were strangely made by individually baking cheese on each chip rather than simply dousing melted cheese on top (and they used flour tortilla chips rather than corn, mind you). But they were still edible. And the buffalo wings had the potential to be good thanks to their lack of batter and minimal meat, but unfortunately they still fell flat as the sauce not only lacked spiciness, but also had a disturbing tinge of tomato-ey ketchup in it. (OK, it's my fault for ordering buffalo wings at a "Tex-Mex" place, but I'm still on the hunt for good buffalo wings in Singapore.)

It turned out that this is the same "Mexican" shop out in Sentosa as well as Boat Quay. Well, for lack of other choices, maybe I'll try coming back here for their main courses sometime rather than just nibbling on their appetizers like I did today. But what I had here wasn't exceptional, nor was it cheap.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ivins Peranakan Restaurant

From left: babi ponteh and sotong assam puteh

I'm not really a fan of Peranakan food, but I strongly believe that people who don't like a particular type of food simply have never had a good version of it before (think of people who say that they hate beer but have only tasted Natural Light). So with that thought in mind, I willingly came to Ivins tonight (19/21 Binjai Park, 6468-3060), as I was assured that this place is one of the best. Unfortunately, the typical spicy fishy coconut stench that whacked me in the face as I walked in the door of the place did little to reassure me. But at least it was very crowded - something must be good about this place.

Sambal KangkongWe started with the babi ponteh, which is allegedly a Peranakan pork classic. It was better than I thought it would be, but the pork was still a bit dry and the sauce was still a bit sweet (it reminded me a lot of beef rendang, which I'm not a big fan of either). But the sotong assam puteh was surprisingly good, featuring a tamarind-based broth and little or no fishiness from the squid. In fact, it tasted more like tom yum soup than anything. And of course, we got the obligatory sambal kangkong, which was also really tasty (and not fishy at all). I gobbled that stuff up.

ChendolTo close off the meal, I got a chendol, which despite the disturbingly unnatural and wormy-looking green things in the bowl, was very refreshing with crushed ice and lots of coconuty goodness. OK, so maybe Peranakan food isn't that bad (I liked three out of the four dishes we got tonight). And I'm willing to come back here again to try that thin meatball-like soup (the food here is really cheap too). I'll just need to select dishes that don't taste like beef rendang, that's all.

McDonald's Grilled Chicken Foldover

Where's the chicken?

A cool containerI needed something fast today, and McDonald's was within an arm's reach. But I kinda wanted something healthier than a Filet-O-Fish or Chicken McNuggets. So I figured I'd finally try his Grilled Chicken Foldover thing, which is normally something I would not order. It actually turned out to be alright and much more tastier than I thought it would be. Mayonnaise and onions no doubt played a huge role in that, but this flatbread, chicken, and veggie combo was actually bearable. And I don't think they have this in the US, right?

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Scotch Egg from Molly Malone's

Scotch Egg

After a number of beers tonight, I started to crave some nice unhealthy food. What better than a Scotch Egg right at the bar (56 Circular Road, 6536-2029) itself! With all the makings of a cholesterol bomb, this is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and then deep fried. That hit the spot.

Bratwurst Shop, Plaza Singapura

A Spicy Dog

A colleague of mine called me from Plaza Singapura this afternoon, saying that he spotted a bratwurst shop in the basement (B2-39C, 6884-4093). He brought quite a few back to the office, and - wow - these turned out to be pretty good. The spicy one turned out to be more like an American hot link than a German sausage, but I actually prefer that. It was full of flavor, had a casing that "snapped" when you bit into it, and - best of all - it had a great spicy kick to it. The sauerkraut was loaded on generously, and despite the 20 minute transportation period back to the office, the sausage was still warm, and the bun was not soggy at all. Nice one. We're definitely going back there for lunch soon.

I heard that this shop is actually modeled off some famous "Bratwurst Shop" in Melbourne or something - can anyone verify that? Is it the same shop?

Kaffe Krema, International Plaza

Roast Turkey Sandwich

This turned out to be a tiny little coffee bar on the first floor of International Plaza (6220-0105) that happened to have an even smaller sandwich station on the side. They had a decent list of sandwiches, including a BLT and a tuna melt. I went for a Roast Turkey sandwich, which was pretty tasty, even if they didn't give a whole lot of meat (it seems to be a common trend around here).

I only wish they didn't slice the bread so thickly; if you have it toasted, then the crispy edges only makes things more difficult on the insides of your mouth when you're biting into it. But the taste was good enough that I'll be coming back to try the others.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Raj Kachori from Raj

From left: Baigan Korma, Saffron Flavored Rice, and Raita

Raj KachoriOK, maybe I eat here too much, but the chaat is good, and there is still a long list for me to try. Tonight, the waiter recommended the raj kachori, which seemed like a supersized pani puri shell, but filled with yogurt, little beans, etc. In the end, it tasted essentially the same as basket chaat with different beans, but I didn't mind. They were both good.

We also ventured off the chaat menu over to some normal dishes tonight, like the baigan korma eggplant, raita, and the saffron rice. The baigan korma, while not bad, was curry-like and hence reminded me of "ordinary" Indian food. So I didn't eat much of it. The raita was one of the thickest I'd ever seen (as was the lassi). But I sure loved the basmati rice, especially with the butter in it.

Eng Kee Duck - naked this time

Roast Duck and Wu Xiang Roast Meat Rice - naked

After yesterday's experience with Eng Kee's sauce-covered duck, I came back to try it in a "naked" form to confirm my suspicions. Unfortunately, the duck today was still largely a bit boring (hmm...), except for maybe one or two pieces at the end that were nice and salty. Maybe I need to learn how to select the right pieces of duck from them.

But I did venture off and try the "five spice" roast meat, which was pretty good with a salty and crunchy crust. Well, if I come back, I'll still ask for the sauce on the side. But I think I still prefer duck (or should I say, goose) from Hong Kong.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks, Singapore

Fried Chicken and Oyster Mee Sua

This is a chain across Singapore serving little Taiwanese street snacks, like Oyster Mee Sua and Crispy Chicken. While it's still short of Taiwan's goodness, it's actually respectably close, with crispy chicken filets seasoned with pepper and chili powder, as well as an oyster noodle scooped with a spoon. I don't know why they put shredded chicken on it though.

Eng Kee Famous Roasted Duck

Roast Duck Char Siew Rice

A random person at a wedding a couple weeks ago told me that he drives all the way across the island on his lunch break just to get this duck at the former Enggor House (it looks like the kopitiam is now called the Realty Food House, 15 Enggor Street #01-01). I had passed through this place a number of times before, but nothing ever stood out to me. I must have been blind. There was a huge line today at this stall right up near the front, with roast duck and char siew hanging in the display case. OK, if there are this many people (and if that guy drives all the way down here for this), then I would hope that it would be good.

I was a bit let down at first since the brown colored sauce that they dumped on this thing just drowned out all the flavor. And my perception of good char siew has been spoiled by this one really good shop off Jalan Alor in KL. (This place didn't even come close.) But once I found a piece of duck that was not polluted by the sauce, my face suddenly lit up. It was very rich and full of flavor without being oily. Nice one. Next time, I'll be sure to ask them to just give me plain duck - no sauce, no char siew.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Coriander Leaf, Clarke Quay

Labneh/Youghurt Cheese Dip

This place bills itself as "The New Asian Food Hub" (3A River Valley Road #02-03 Clarke Quay, 6732-3354), with things like Southeast Asian food and Indian food. Normally I'm not a huge fan of such a kitchen trying to cover so much ground, but apparently this is kinda of a cooking school too. Actually, what really brought me here today was the fact that they also serve Persian food for some strange reason. And with the disappointing experiences I've had in Singapore so far, I had to see if this place could provide any form of respite.

Icy cold tomato gazpacho, tian of blue swimmer crab with watermelon sandwichAnd fortunately, it did. We started with the "icy cold tomato gazpacho, tian of blue swimmer crab with watermelon sandwich," which was a bit surprising when it arrived as the gazpacho soup was in a tiny little shot glass, and instead accompanied by these chichi-looking things that I normally frown upon as being too snotty. But they tasted pretty good, including the "watermelon sandwich." Next we moved to the labneh, which seemed more airy (whipped?) and lighter than some that I had in Dubai, but this was still good.

Chelo Kebab - marinated beef brochettes, Persian buttered rice, grilled cherry tomatoes, sumac

Finally, I got the thing that I originally came here for: Persian kebabs. The portions were much smaller than I was hoping for, there were no raw onions available, and I wish the kebabs were left just slightly longer on the fire, but this was definitely light years ahead of that nasty Samar place. The rice was oustanding with the butter flavor, and the kebabs even had somagh sprinkled on it. Although I'd still prefer to hit Dubai or West LA instead, this is clearly the best that I've had in Singapore so far. Wow - nice job.

The prices weren't cheap here, but this would be a great place for a business lunch, as the food is good, and the second floor location provides a good atmosphere. It looks like they also do catering as well as some "corporate bonding / team building" in the cooking environment, so maybe we can even have a company party here one of these days.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Whitley Road Big Prawn Mee

$5 Prawn Noodle

This place used to be at the Novena Ville food court across from Novena Square (next to the Hyundai dealership and Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice), and I remember that the first time I had it a few years ago, I loved it so much that I went back for another bowl. Tonight, we went back to find it, but the food court had been completely renovated into this sparkling clean place, and it almost appeared that this guy had gone. Fortunately, he just moved over to the next building with his own dedicated shop now (273 Thomson Road #01-3A), although oddly the shop was completely vacant tonight, which was not a good sign. Still, they offer a choice of noodles as well as a price bracket for the size of the prawns that you want: S$4, S$5, S$8, and S$10 (US$2.35, US$2.95, US$4.70, and US$5.90, respectively). I usually get the "dry" version, with the broth on the side.

An Extra Helping of NoodlesI was a bit let down as it didn't seem to have as much kick as I remembered it to have. Then again, that was 3-4 years ago, so I'm sure that a fading memory has a lot to do with it. It was still pretty good with fresh ingredients and spices (and you gotta love that red chili powder to dust it off with). But the prawns were still a bit of a pain to shell by hand (I learned later to just get plain noodles without the prawns). And through it all, I kept thinking that I'd rather get bak chor mee from Tai Wah Pork Noodle instead.

Ngoh Hiang (Five Spice Prawn Fritters)

This place did have something else that was interesting though: ngoh hiang, otherwise known as Five Spice Prawn Fritters. And, just like it sounds, it is basically some kind of deep fried batter with prawns and seasoned with Chinese "five spices." It's a nice little grease bomb to be dipped into a special chili sauce. This place had a sweet and spicy one with sesame seeds and garlic, which certainly went well with it all. Cool.

Brand's Essence of Chicken

Essence of Chicken

This stuff is interesting. In a Singaporean twist to the classic Jewish mother's chicken soup, "essence of chicken" is basically a little bottle of dark chicken soup (think chicken soup espresso) that is sold at pharmacies (I guess because of the health benefits?). It's not bad, but I wish it were a little more savory for some extra tastiness, as it's actually a bit bland (and nearly bitter). It's not cheap either at about S$3 (US$1.75) for a tiny little bottle.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

More Chaat from Raj

Basket Chaat

After all that oily food from China, I needed a good cleansing. So what better than some vegetarian chaat from Raj? We got the usual pani puri and paper masala dosa, but we also tried a couple new things too, like the basket chaat, which basically featured all the chaat tastes that we know and love, but all in this little deep fried basket-shaped thing (kinda like a Chinese bird's nest) and other crispy fried slivers on top for added texture. This was exactly what the doctor ordered, with its sour/spicy/sweet/salty flavors and a healthy dose of yogurt as a nice counterpoint. Yum.

Dhaniya Sada Dosa

Another great one was the dhaniya sada dosa, which is a dosa with a mildly spicy and sour coriander spread inside. I'd definitely like to get this one again, and I'm starting to prefer Raj over Bombay Woodlands.

SQ Econ Class Breakfast from Beijing

Stir fried rice vermicelli with sliced pork and vegetables

I wish they wouldn't wake you up at 4 AM on this SQ redeye flight back from Beijing, but this noodle dish actually turned out to be decently tasty. Score another one for SQ.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Ge Ge Fu (Yan Yi Shan Zhai), Beijing

A Manchurian Emperor's Meal

This looked like a total tourist trap at first, considering the costumed staff (and the opportunity to take photos with them), the evening entertainment (Chinese opera and such - complete with a gong), and the adjoining gift shop and museum. But my corporate hosts assured me that this was hardly a tourist destination: it's tucked away in a hard to find dark alley (not far from the Forbidden City - I can't read the Chinese address on the business card but the phone number is 010-64078006) and the menus are only in Chinese (indeed, it seemed like all locals at the tables). If I understood them correctly, this place specializes in Imperial Manchurian food, so this was very traditional and about as far away from Panda Express (or Mr. Chau's for those of you in the Bay Area) as you can get (almost - more on that later).

Manchurians at your serviceEverything is carefully brought out in tiny little dishes in a timed sequence, thus making it a bit like a Japanese kaiseki meal, complete with Chinese entertainment in the back. Servants are always there to explain the dishes to you, to help serve the tasty duck stew in the middle, and to provide things like a choice of hot sauces (yum for the "hottest" one - it was like the sauce used in red oil wontons at Lau Deng in Taipei). The little dishes varied quite significantly, ranging from some pickled cabbage with mustard sprinkled on top, to little battered fish, to some kind of quail egg and grilled pepper thingy. The duck meat in the soup was tender (and great when dipped in the chili sauce), while the little pork meatballs practically melted in your mouth. Some kind of bamboo innard or something was also pretty good, despite how strange it sounds.

Interestingly, sweets were provided early in this process, as apparently that is normal rather than saving them for dessert. A couple other interesting things included pistacchio nuts on the table, as well as - get this - Kung Pao Shrimp! Wow - all this time I thought Kung Pao Shrimp/Chicken was some horrendous American rendition of Chinese food, but it looks like Chinese emperors really ate this stuff, and it actually wasn't that much different than what you see in the US (much smaller portions though). What a shock. (OK, I guess that is the only thing that it has in common with Panda Express.) A great fried rice featuring little bits of smoked turkey finshed off the meal, all without being too greasy.

Chinese White LiquorOur waiter said that normally alcohol is not served with this kind of stuff. But they do keep some in the back in case customers ask, and of course my hosts insisted on drinking and trying some local brews, the first of which was a relatively strong (56% alcohol) Chinese "white liquor" that basically tasted like you would expect: rather rough. Then we downshifted into some kind of Nongxiang Jingjiu (39% alcohol), which tasted eerily of watermelon Jolly Ranchers with a saccharin aftertaste - but it definitely wasn't as sweet. Then of course there were the local beers, including Beijing Beer, which tasted like water, but it actually went pretty well with Chinese food.

Anyway, the food was good (not to mention off the beaten path), and this was definitely one of the more memorable dining experiences that I've had.

Tianjin Bai Jiao Yuan Dumplings, Beijing

Hundreds of dumplings

No, I didn't intentionally try to do an American Presidential tour of restaurants in China or anything. This chain across Beijing is famous for having "hundreds" of different kinds of dumplings (think: different stuffings). Coincidentally, it turned out that George W. Bush himself dined at this very restaurant, and they featured a special "Bush menu" too. Well, we didn't order that, but we got tons and tons of dumplings, stuffed with everything from pork to shrimp to veggies to crab meat and a lot more. The wrappers didn't necessarily stand out as anything spectacular, but the stuffings were decent, and it's kinda cool to eat so many kinds of dumplings while you're in Beijing. I really liked their potstickers too, as they had a nice crispy, crusty, and greasy bottom.

Water Cooked Fish

We also got some non-dumpling items, including some kind of lamb with spices reminiscient of Indian food, a cold wide rice noodle dish in a light vinegary dressing, and a refreshing soup, which was interestingly based on cuttlefish eggs. This place isn't known for their "water cooked fish," but we got this anyway since my time in Beijing was limited. Indeed, right away you could see the huge difference between the Sichuan food in Beijing and Shanghai, as this was spicier and more numbing (while sitting in a huge submersion of oil). It still wasn't nearly as spicy or numbing as some of the more dedicated "water cooked fish" places that I had been to in Beijing a couple years ago (nor was it as strong as Chuan in Singapore), but the fish was tender and was very tasty with the oil. It also wasn't overwhelming with its numbingness. (I've gotta get out to Chongqing to get the real thing one of these days though.)

Spicy beef - with a scoop of fresh garlic on top - whoa!The only drawback of eating here is all the raw garlic (including the pickled cloves in the vinegar dip). Sure, it tastes great, but be sure to brush your teeth before going back into the office.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hepingmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant, Beijing

Peking Duck

OK, this place (14 Qianmenxidajie, Xuanwu District, 6302-3062) is admittedly a bit touristy, but this was pretty close to my hotel in Beijing, so I just ran in for a very quick (but still local) meal. This is allegedly "the biggest roast-duck restaurant in Asia" (there are multiple floors) and it is "built on the site selected personally by Premier Zhou Enlai." They serve duck day-in and day-out, and indeed, the duck did have a nice crispy skin and yet with a tasty aromatic duck flavor.

Carving up the duck in front of you

It was interesting to see them carving the bird in front of you (with steam rising from the duck as the skin was pierced, mind you), but the service was a bit too pushy, as they tried to pressure me into buying more food than I needed. Still, the speed and efficiency of this place was just what I needed given how very tight time was for me tonight, even if it was more expensive than some of the more local shops lurking in the alleyways.

Lu Bo Lang Restaurant, Shanghai

River Shrimp and some crab roe tofu thing

This place at 115 Yuyan Road (6328-0602) is apparently quite famous for its Shanghainese cuisine (I heard that President Clinton dined here once?). We got an assortment of little dishes, starting with some kind of a crab roe tofu, which was very delicate and ever so mildly sweet with a heavy dose of rice wine aroma in the corn starch. We also had some river prawns cooked very simply without even so much as a garnish to go with it, but they were very tender. We had a couple pastries too, including one that was stuffed with a savory meat filling and had a great flaky crust (read: heavy pork lard). Another light sweet glutinous snack was also surprisingly fragrant.

Shan Hu

One quintessential dish from Shanghai is shan hu, which is a dark colored eel sitting underneath a load of hot clear oil that has been poured over it. A solid dose of white pepper is later sprinkled on at the table. Despite how it sounds, it is really, really good, especially if you like the taste of white pepper like I do.

Hsiao Long Bao

The only letdown here was the hsiao long bao. On my last trip to Shanghai, I found the hsiao long bao at another restaurant to be better than the ones at Din Tai Fung due to the tastier filling (despite not having the delicate handiwork in the wrapping that makes Din Tai Fung so famous), so I was hoping to get the same here. Unfortunately, the ones at this restaurant were rather plain. Oh well. Everything else at this place was pretty good though.

These guys have a funny saying on the back of their business card: "Smelling the fragrance I stop at the Famous Restaurant and all tacsted [sic] by the flavour I park my car at the Lu Bo Lang." I couldn't quite smell any fragrance outside, but it was good to come to this place to get some food unique to Shanghai. As with most mainland Chinese food though, it is really greasy - almost to the point that I felt a bit nauseous afterwards, even though it was a pretty good meal.