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Chinese Shanghai

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#1 mat

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 12:51 PM

I'll be spending a week in Shanghai next March. This will be my first trip to China. I'm interested in sampling the most authentic Chinese food in Portland before I go. Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks in Advance,

 

Mat



#2 pwillen1

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 02:58 PM

I'm not aware of anything from the Shanghai area. The only legit I know of is Sichuan and Taiwanese.


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#3 ExtraMSG

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 07:36 PM

Mark Evans used to post on this board until he moved to Shanghai.  Here's his twitter.  I'll alert him to this post:

 

https://twitter.com/mark_e_evans


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#4 ExtraMSG

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 07:54 PM

Of course, the issue is that China is a very big country with a lot of regional cuisines.  So you may not get what you're looking for here to have there.  But some suggestions:

 

Lucky Strike for Sichuan.  There are some good places west, too, but really, I think Lucky Strike does the most carefully prepared versions. And they don't hold back on Sichuan peppercorns or chiles.  Mapo tofu would be a good option for Shanghai comparison.

 

I thought someone posted not too long ago that they found some decent XLB, but I can't find it. If you're up in Seattle, you could try Din Tai Fung's.

 

For roast meats and soups, Good Taste is a good option.  Some like Kenny's Noodle House more for soups.

 

For dim sum, Ocean City is probably the best bet.  They're also a good option for Cantonese seafood.

 

Pure Spice is good for roast meats, Peking duck, and especially their clay pots.  Basics like salt and pepper squid can be good, too.

 

Chinese Delicacy is best for Korean-Chinese items and various things they do well.  The off-menu Korean meatballs is one of my favorites there, but their pan-fried dumplings are very good, among other things.

 

There is good, traditional Chinese food to be had in Portland, but it does take effort in the ordering.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#5 mat

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 09:48 PM

Thank you very much. I definitely "get it", meaning huge country, with many regional styles. I recently read about XLB, and I have brother in Seattle. Since I don't leave for almost four months Din Tai Fung is a possibility. I'm sure I'll explore more of China in the next ten years, so all of your suggestions are appreciated. I'll start following Mark Evans on Twitter too.

 

Somewhat related... I just order Rosetta Stone Mandarin, and The Teaching Company's 48 lecture DVD on the history of China from 600AD until the present. I did roughly the same before trips to Brazil and Portugal. Makes a huge difference, to me... at any rate.

 

谢谢



#6 Markovitch

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 01:26 AM

holy shit I haven't been around these parts in a while.  cant believe that I left PDX 6 years ago.

 

I do live in shanghai.  Beyond china being a big ass country, Shanghai itself has 5 or 6x more people than the entire state of Oregon.  So.... yeah.

 

The ugly truth is that Shanghainese food kind of sucks -- even when executed well, it's just boring -- and shanghai as a city is no longer the food mecca it once was.  Or maybe it's better to say it's a much different food destination than it was even a few years ago: the famous streetfood streets are gone (with them generations of delicacies) but when there are 20+ million people, there are options and experimentation and an international vibe.  There's pretty great haute cuisine out here too, but i don't know where your interests are. 

 

For street level stuff, you can't go wrong with Fiona's recommendations 

If you speak some chinese and/or are dextrous with translation tools, dianping is the gold standard of recommendations.  Think yelp but evil in much different ways  Oh wait, fiona has a handy guide about how to use it.  

 

For haute cuisine, get on the list for Ultraviolet.  I've not been (i ain't made of money), but it's apparently a right psychedelic experience -- though the whole 'darkened van' thing is overdoing it: we all know where the restaurant is.

 

XLB is best had in local restaurants, even though there's a Din Tai Fung in Shanghai too.  Dianping will point you to a good one in your neighborhood, but I swear by LinglongFang on Jiaozhou lu.  I also haven't had a XLB in... maybe a year.

 

Personally, I think the best things to eat in all of china come from the borders: Yunnan food near Vietnam, Xinjiang food near kazakhstan, Dongbei food near russia / North Korea.  There are decent to really good representations of these cuisines in Shanghai.  If you need shanghai to be your whole-china experience, you can do it, for the most part.  Again, Dianping usually points you in good directions.  I have my favorites, but i'm by no means the expert I should be.  



#7 mat

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 09:09 PM

Thank you for your honesty. I was starting to gather Shanghai wasn't a great food destination. I will explore more of China after this planned trip.

 

The last thing I would want is to be told how fantastic it is, and then find out that is just so-so. 

 

In any event, I'm really looking forward to it, and wildest pics.



#8 Markovitch

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Posted 22 November 2014 - 06:45 PM

well look at it this way: if Fiona's blog posts about shanghai food doesn't get you excited, you will find shanghai a bit boring.  From my years in China, i've developed preferences for other regional cuisines over Shanghainese, but make no mistake: there's a lot of good food to eat in shanghai.



#9 doglover

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 09:29 AM

I've had good meals at the Jade Garden in Shanghai on 2 different biz trips.  But it's been a few years since I've been.

 

Portland's Chinese food scene isn't anything special.  We're fans of Lucky Strike because when they are on, it takes us straight to Cheng Du.  A weekend in Vancouver BC is better prep than here.



#10 philthyanimal

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 07:20 PM

i like taste of sichuan in beaverton if out in the area.  szechuan chef has some decent stuff.  i really like their all you can eat hot pot option there.  personally i prefer those two more than most in the SE area.  



#11 mat

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 11:08 AM

Thanks... Markovitch, do glover, and philthyanimal. It's much appreciated.

 

So far I haven't seen anything about ShanghaiI would consider boring. I'm very much looking forward to it. 

 

I haven't been to Vancouver BC in over ten years. Perhaps I will squeeze in a trip there before I leave for Shanghai in late March, and stop at Din Tai Fung's in Seattle on the way.



#12 levbarg

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 07:04 PM

I realize you're probably back from Shanghai now, so my advice is too late. Bit, I'd love to hear your trip reiter.

I like Taste of Sichuan in Beaverton, too. And yes, confusingly, they have xiaolongbao on the menu. But the chefs are Sichuanese, and as Nick says, China is massive. There are district regional and sub regional cooking styles. In LA we have a glut of generic Shanghainese joints, but also places serving Shanghainese food Wuxi style, as well as Zhejiang and Jiangsu province variants.

But I digress... Asking a Sichuanese chef to make xiaolongbao (or Shandong dough slice noodles) is akin to asking an Italian chef to cook French food. Something's bound to go wrong. And when I went against my better judgment and ordered the dough slice noodles at Taste of Sichuan, those overly thick lumpy things with uncooked centers just made me sad.

Mr Taster





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