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Shanghai favorites served up in style

Updated: 2014-07-20 07:38
By Bidisha Bagchi in Shanghai (China Daily)

Shanghai favorites served up in style

Tai Sheng Yuan is a renowned Chinese food restaurant in Shanghai that serves Shanghai, Sichuan and Canton cuisine.

It first started with a restaurant in Huanghe Road and a second outlet followed in the expat neighborhood of Biyun Road.

The restaurant is huge - set up like a banquet hall with chandeliers and glass walls. Only a few attendants spoke English, but the menu is written in English. It's quite elaborate and pretty long, so come hungry.

For cold appetizers, the list starts from the simple peanuts sauteed in vinegar and coriander. Roasted pork, ribs, goose liver and beef tongue are among the meaty cold appetizers.

We chose a spicy yet smooth shrimp dish that came with a small bowl of soy sauce. The shrimp was a little slimy in texture but tasted good. Shanghai-style deep-fried fish is our all-time favorite, so it was a must on our table.

Beef, pork and chicken are all served in various styles, and we chose all three.

Shredded beef cooked in spicy sauce and green onions was wonderful, and it can be a whole meal by itself if accompanied by buns.

Shanghai favorites served up in style

Then we chose diced chicken cooked in soy sauce, garlic and bell peppers - a colorful dish that tasted heavenly. The meat was soft and fell off the bones with the smallest of bites. My favorite, though, was the pulled pork, cooked in spicy sauce and green scallions - served with one helping of sweet buns. Those looking for more exotic meat dishes can opt for a deep-fried pigeon or a Hong Kong goose.

Seafood choices were limited to scallops, shrimp, prawns and abalone - grilled, sauteed and stir-fried.

Vegetarian options are plentiful and good: The stir-fried spicy eggplant with ginger, garlic and scallion is particularly tasty.

Before we moved on to the rice and noodles section and filled ourselves up with carbohydrates, we wanted another round of snacks. This time we chose the egg tarts, roast-pork pastries and wontons. Both, pastries and wontons were stuffed with minced pork and herbs.

I was expecting the restaurant to have some Cantonese-style noodles but what they had in this category were all Shanghai-style - fried noodles, stir-fried noodles and seafood noodles, all cooked and served with seasonal vegetables, scallions, soy sauce and meat or seafood. From the short list of carbohydrates, we loved the pancakes cooked with shredded scallions, though they were a little oily. These pancakes have recently gained popularity in Shanghai and are also called Pratas.

Shanghai favorites served up in style

For rice lovers, Tai Sheng Yuan serves plain white steamed rice and (our choice) Yangzhou pork fried rice, cooked with shrimp, eggs, carrots and green peas. I loved the way this rice was served - it came in a tall bamboo container, not on the usual dish or bowl. Scooping out the hot and spicy rice was fun and it tasted superb.

We were too full for desserts, so we opted for one more round of green tea to finish our meal.


(China Daily 07/20/2014 page8)