Scallops on bamboo shoots speckled with minced shepherd’s purse [Photo provided to Shanghai Star]
Again, it was a scent sensation. As for texture, the chef exercises his expertise in duxelles of Chinese yam drizzled with a pretty blueberry jam.
This is a classic summer starter, and the Chinese yam or shanyao is supposed to have all sorts of restorative qualities to chase away the seasonal bad humors.
Man Ho’s chef’s specials are definitely Cantonese, so beside the usual yum-cha favorites, there are the "big" dishes, and yes, Chef Chou’s famous soups.
On offer now is the summer special, a whole winter melon that has been steamed until tender and filled with a delicious, nourishing soup infused with fresh and dried seafood, mushrooms, Chinese ham and other "treasures from mountain and ocean".
The melons, conveniently sized, are served in individual portions so you get the satisfaction of digging into your own gourds.
Presentation always helps, and the Chinese believe in "color, fragrance, taste and style" as the main components that make any dish stand out.
At Man Ho, color wins hands down. The Wagyu beef and mushroom cubes are a work of art, and the stir-fried abalones with sugar peas are so pretty that a couple of shells are now sitting on my desk as a souvenir of the meal.
It will definitely be the chef’s dim sum that would lure me back to Man Ho, together with his soups. Worth a final mention is his little meat dumplings or xiaolongbao.
I think they are better than the ones served at Yu Yuan or at the restaurants that use them as calling cards. But then, perhaps Chef Chau will surprise us again on our next visit.
IF YOU GO
Man Ho Chinese Restaurant Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview, 333 Guang Zhong West Raod, near Gong He Xin Road
Telephone: 021 366-8660 Opening hours: 11:30 am - 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm