PEr FYI

October 14, 2017

Gu Yi Wan, Shanghai…comforting, delicious and cheap

Shanghai’s Chinese food scene is a diverse beast. This tiny Gu Yi Wan does a lot of things well but I’m all over it just for its modest braise in soy sauce beef noodle. It is rich and restorative in texture and taste, a kind of mental health food. Apart of that, other worthy mentions are their wantons, shaomai and shaobing

The restaurant is both the simplest and most marvelous of discoveries in a city that is filled with gastronomic delights. Trust me: you need to try it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 24, 2017

Dao Spa, Shanghai…head back to your room and take a nap instead

Filed under: Activities, China, Massage, spa, Travel — Tags: , , , , — PEr @ 3:20 pm

We’ve all been there. Going into a spa with great anticipation, only to find that the massage room is falling apart or the masseur has brute strength but zero technique. Yes, a bad spa can ruin anyone’s mood, but when you are aching all over looking forward to a good rub-down, the stakes are even higher.

If your body is aching after a long day, and the nearest spa to you is Dao Spa, you might just want to head back to your room and take a nap instead.

Another option: Have a friend rub your shoulders. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 1, 2017

Bund’s secret, Shanghai…DO NOT GO IN THERE

Some restaurants get it wrong, others are for outrageous pricing, some have disastrous experiences and then there’s the ones that, well, just don’t serve very good food. This one is all of the above.

We ordered braised pork with sweet soy sauce, sautéed Australian scallop with wild mushroom and braised tofu with hairy crab meat. All impressive sounding names on the menu. I can’t report any of the flavours at all: there was nothing for me to swallow during this worst restaurant meal.

DO NOT GO IN THERE. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 19, 2017

Jia Jia Tang Bao, Shanghai…spurter of broth and burner of mouths

This steamed, soup-filled xioalongbao is, perhaps, the dumpling world’s favourite son.

Jia Jia Tang Bao is the place to go if you’re into this Shanghai speciality, otherwise known as a soup dumpling… a basket of steamed bite-size pouches of goodness usually filled with pork and broth. This is a true blue cramped hole-in-the-wall and you get a down-to-earth local experience. Sharing tables with strangers is the norm here, as chairs are precious.

Freshly made every day, what the they may lack in elegance, they more than make up for in flavor, the thinness of the skin and the quality of the soup inside. Expect a thinner-than-average skin and a pronounced porky filling boasting a hint of sweetness. Be careful — you need to put them in your mouth whole if you don’t want the soup to spill everywhere.

An insider’s tip? Just be careful to let them cool sufficiently before attempting to eat them, whole, or your next stop could be Shanghai International Hospital A & E. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 8, 2017

Madam Zhu’s Kitchen, Shanghai…an absolute gem

Across its many regions China encompasses so many different cuisines that lumping them all together under one banner is akin to talking about ‘European food’. Madam Zhu’s Kitchen specializes in Sichuan and Shanghainese cuisines.

Make sure you sample Specialty: No1. Madam Zhu’s Peking Duck. Immaculately carved at the table by gloved cooks, it is worth it. Both the meat and the skin were excellent. The pancakes were wonders—light, delicate, strong. If you’re looking for Sichuan Province’s famous ‘hot and numbing’ dishes, this is the place to come. The gritty fried shrimp balls with chilli and pepper really is lip-tinglingly good. True to Sichuanese form, red is present in this dish –  in lashings of sliced or whole chillies. It made my scalp sweat. Boom.

The food comes quickly, the food is excellent, and the food is not very expensive. It is a busy restaurant, yet it feels intimate. Right now Madam Zhu’s Kitchen is an absolute gem, a true collector’s piece. I just hope it stays that way. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 25, 2017

Petit Jardin, Shanghai…check your expectations at the door

Petit Jardin is a younger version of the famous Jardin de Jade. Unlike the parent restaurant that serves authentic Shanghai -style cuisines, Petit Jardin offers modern Cantonese cuisine and it appears to be trying to walk a somewhat precarious tightrope.

They say the menu is, in fact, a window into a restaurant’s soul. Amusing enough, this must be the Mills and Boon of menus with ludicrously sounding dishes like “crouching cow and hidden hen jumping on the grill together”.

The trouble is we’re eating a spruced up, dumbed-down, nouvelle-cuisine version that tastes nothing like the original. The crispy black BBQ bun had nice filling but was practically hollow and a tad dry.

Petit Jardin’s not going to blow your mind or anything. Check your expectations at the door. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 6, 2016

Shanghai Min, Shanghai…ordinary and unmemorable meal with a stunningly hefty bill

While it’s easy to find a cheap meal in Shanghai, there are also plenty of pricy restaurants. The prices at Shanghai Min are pretty steep, and even the mega-rich like to know that they’re getting value for their money.

Whether you’re willing to splash out or budget dining is more your style, here’s what the food is like at this overpriced place: Sauteed prawn ball (pan-fried/chili sauce/mustard & mayonnaise), braised pork in brown sauce of nostalgia, scallion noodles, steamed original recipe chicken sprinkled with minced ginger fries.

Can diners be sure that the food is worth the stunningly hefty bill?

The answer is no…it was an ordinary and unmemorable meal. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 30, 2016

Jinshui Zunting, Shanghai…a stress-melting tui na massage

Filed under: Activities, China, Massage, spa — Tags: , , , , , , , — PEr @ 3:23 pm

According to the tenets of traditional Chinese medicine, massage can help the body’s qi, or energy, flow freely and remain in balance.

This is an amazing place to go if you have any aches and pains that need sorting out. I’ve been to a plenty of tui na’s across China with my problem back from all my travels. This place is as good and traditional as it gets. The massuer recognised that I also had quite a lot of pain in my shoulders and neck, and worked hard at them to decrease the pressure I was feeling.

I’ve paid for professional physio and sports massages but Jin Shui Zun Ting… Jin Shui Zun Ting has my heart now. I’m very happy I chose this place on a whim. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 16, 2016

Wolfgang Puck Kitchen & Bar, Shanghai…food here is average – nothing compared to Wolfgang Puck everywhere else

The Austrian-born Wolfgang Puck is arguably the most successful chef moguls in history. The man was a celebrity chef before that term even existed. Shanghai has seen a slow and steady trickle of celebrity chef like Jean Georges, ventures over the past decade. And now, Wolfgang Puck has thrown his hat into the ring.

Less formal than Spago, but a step up from the Wolfgang Puck Cafe, the concept of Kitchen & Bar is one of offering dishes that Chef Puck enjoys cooking at home, and everything is shared family style.

The menu is what you’d expect and quite frankly very well priced. You’ll find a blend of the familiar and less familiar but all will come out beautifully constructed. The seafood in the lobster and shrimp roll is finely chopped, the vibrantly fresh seafood mingled happily with sweet curry, apples and dill. However, I usually have a love affair with BBQ ribs but then again, not all ribs are created equal. Hence it is with great disappointment that the BBQ pork ribs here at WP was below average.

Service has always been A+- it’s nice when a restaurant seems well managed.

WP would get 5 stars from me except for that BBQ ribs. I would give Wolfgang Puck another chance since I’m fan of the chef and I know he has high standards. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 9, 2016

Taoyuan Village, Shanghai…unlikely to become my favorite restaurant, but it’s perfectly decent

Delicious Food Duos of All Time are such greats as bacon & eggs, burgers & fries, ham & cheese, honey & lemon, butter & corn, pancakes & maple syrup. Add the most popular Taiwanese breakfast – doujiang (Soy bean milk) & Youtiao (Chinese fried dough or twisted crullers) to that list.

This Taiwanese canteen-style restaurant’s décor is very pleasant aesthetically, with lots of wood and open space. They make a mean you tiao served up freshly made from the kitchen. The rice rolls were pretty good, tasting like a Japanese sushi roll without the seaweed, and wrapped with sticky rice, deep-fried batter, egg, braised pork, and preserved radish. It also doesn’t make it easier that the menu is written in Chinese characters and the service staff doesn’t speak Engish, so have your Google Translate app ready.

It’s unlikely to become my favorite restaurant, but Taoyuan Village is perfectly decent. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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