Monday, March 5, 2012

Whampoa Club Shanghai

I remember reading, in one food magazine or another, an article describing the elegant opening of Whampoa Club in Shanghai. With a view along The Bund, WC was described by our hosts as "fine dining" (there is a LOT of fine dining in Shanghai I'm finding) and in fact all of the dishes are served elegantly and graciously. The food was just fine, and for a first night after a long flight it was nice to be taken care of . . . but I am looking forward to seeing even a bit of the real, everyday China.
We started with a selection of cold dishes, jellyfish salad, smoked fish, drunken chicken, and these glazed pork riblets. Shanghai cuisine is marked by a fondness for sugar in all manner of main dishes. The chef at WC hinted at that tradition with his modernized Chinese dishes.
Lion's head meatballs (without the more familiar -- to me -- rice coating), again bathed in a slightly sweet sauce.
There has to be duck. This fellow was artfully sliced table side, the skin wrapped in thin pancakes with thick hoisin sauce.
Crispy and Chewy at once.
When we had just gotten a little excited about the idea of -- however inelegant -- tearing into that crisp little bird he was whisked back to the kitchen only to reappear as part of a quick stirfry. Sigh.
Xiaolongbao, Shanghai soup dumplings. A specialty of Eastern China these little buns, along with a tasty filling, hold a bit of broth that heats as the dumplings steam to offer a burst of soup with your bite. In the states XLB, a shorthand the Chinese food hounds use, are somewhat of a holy grail with blogs holding endless discussions of the thinest dough and the most flavorful fillings. Here they are quite simply -- and delightfully everywhere. I plan on tasting and reporting on quite a few.
The view from our table on The Bund to the electric, Blade Runner light show of the Pudong district, China's financial center.

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