The Beginning

So, I guess this is my first blog post, in my entire life!
I started this blog to show my experiences in unchartered territory that is the culinary world.
I love food, I love to know how it’s made, why particular ingredients are used and the final steps of plating that make it look effortless.

Before coming to Paris, I spent a week holiday in Shanghai, China. Coming from Hong Kong, expectations are quite high in terms of good restaurants matched with good food. I haven’t been to Shanghai in almost 10 years so I was sure I was going to be blown away from the city’s transformation. And, indeed I was. I couldn’t even recognize it!
When I am traveling, I make it a goal to eat at local restaurants. Sure, high-end restaurants are well-renowned and the food is fantastic, but I feel, to get a real sense of the food culture of the people who are immersed in it, one would need to eat as a local person would do. To no surprise, every restaurant I went to provided dishes with such strong flavors that it deemed utmost respect.

One of the first places, I went to was a little shop called Yang’s Fried Dumplings. This is a must-eat place, where clients are wait in long queues and fight for seats to eat the hot and juicy dumplings. Fried pork and sage fill the shengjian (fried soup dumplings). Eating it can be quite tricky but the best way is to puncture a hole at the top of the dough, suck the soup and dip it in vinegar.

Yang’s Fried Dumplings
54-60 Wujiang Lu (near Nanjing Xi Lu)
Price: Less than Y99 (RMB)

Waiting in the queue for the order (which comes first), dumpling pick up and then seats
The next day, I had even more xiaolong bao (dumpling), in this (again) very local and famous restaurant called Nanxiang Dumpling House. The restaurant is very big with 2 floors. The line goes around the corner and into the main square but the waiting time is pretty fast as a lot of people go in an out. If you don’t feel like waiting for a table, they have a take-out line (but the queue for that one is even LONGER).

Nanxiang Dumpling House
85 Yuyuan Lu
Price: 3 orders of dumplings (6 each) around Y70 (RMB)

This particularly dumpling’s dough is not to be eaten, but the juice (soup) inside is what steals the show

Pork and Crabmeat dumpling
Pork belly with Turnip
This probably has to be one of my favorites, since childhood. The porkbelly is cut in cubes and is slow cooked in rich Shanghainese soya sauce, rice wine and sugar for about 4 hours. You can easily find this dish in Shanghai in every local restaurant (each with their own take on it, some add tofu instead)
Finally, on the last two days in Shanghai, my mom and I decided to try out this well-known and local Sichuanese restaurants. Surprisingly, Shanghai boasts a lot of these restaurants, known for the spiciest food in town where plates are covered in chili, chili oil and food is marinated, rubbed or soaked in it as well.
One of the dishes we had was fish filets in hot chili oil, and…the food comes exactly the way its titled. We got a large porcelain bowl filled with chili, oil, bean sprouts and fish fillets. At first, it didn’t seem that spicy (we chose medium but you can go up to very hot) but the more we ate, the more numb our lips became! Nevertheless, a definite must-try.

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