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Follow-up to Shanghai cuisine in Chinatown

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Follow-up to Shanghai cuisine in Chinatown

Kujira | May 28, 2002 12:06 AM

A couple of weeks ago I posted a message that contested New Green Bo's high reputation and recommended Moon House across the street. The reason I ate at these two places to begin with was because my husband is from Shanghai and is rather new to NYC so he asked his barber who is also from Shanghai but has been living in Chinatown for 20 years for some restaurant recommendations. My husband wanted to ask a long time NYC resident because we have walked into “ShanghaiEplaces in Chinatown that turned out not to be authentic. The barber said that New Green Bo, Moon House and Yeah Shanghai Deluxe are good. After visiting each place at least once, my husband has given them this ranking:

1. Yeah Shanghai Deluxe
2. Moon House (a close second)
3. New Green Bo (a distant third)

If you want to hear why New Green Bo is not good, please refer to the message I posted on the “BestEpage for detailed criticisms of the dishes we ordered.

The difference between Yeah Shanghai Deluxe and Moon House seems to be that the former has a professional chef from Shanghai whereas the latter is a person from Shanghai cooking homestyle food.

Minor criticisms of both places:

Moon House: Every dish we have ordered there has been good. The only one that we felt could have been better was the wine chicken. In addition, last week I ordered cold noodles with kau fu (look on the wall for the cold noodle menu, and they don't use the word kau fu in English; I forget what they use) but they did not put peanut sauce on it. I had to ask for them to bring me some peanut sauce. This was the first time they neglected to put peanut sauce on it, but it was also the first time I ordered the noodles to eat there; usually I take out.

Yeah Shanghai Deluxe: Bring a friend from Shanghai with you. We saw some Guangdong customers not fare too well when they tried to order authentic Shanghai dishesEone can imagine how non-Chinese people would end up. First of all, there are special menus that are not translated into English. The most glaring example is that there are 2 supplemental menus places under the glass on the tables. One is in English with no characters. It lists a lunch and dinner meals for a fixed price, but the price seemed rather high and I noticed lots of American Chinese dishes on the list. The other menu was only in Chinese. It was about 20 different kinds of noodles that all can be served either hot or cold. In addition, there is a list of about 15 specials written on a blackboard on the wall. This list is only Chinese. We ordered the broad beans (can2 dou4 in Mandarin, I think) from the wall menu (today they were the uppermost left item). They are a traditional summer dish in Shanghai and were delicious.
Across the way from us there were a table of people from Guangdong. They could read the characters but were not familiar with Shanghai cuisine so they asked their waitress for recommendations. When the food came out, my husband told the waitress she should have recommended what we were eating since they obviously wanted to eat real good Shanghai dishes.
In addition to the broad beans, we ordered 2 soups plus, for dessert, the soup with rice cake (mochi) with sweet sesame paste inside. The English names on the menu for the soups we ordered bear little resemblance to the actual dish, as is often the case in Chinese restaurants. The #73 pork potage soup is an unappetizing name for a quite good dish that includes a type of fish that resembles eel and lives in ditches. Put the “potageEinto the noodle soup, mix and eat. And the “vegetableEin #80 is actually su4cai4, a vegetable that is not found in the States and the restaurant uses frozen kind. But it was still good, and worth trying unless you are going to Shanghai anytime soon.

Also, someone responded to my last post and mentioned that the Yeah Deluxe chef may indeed be from the famous Shanghai place that bears the same name. I was very skeptical of that knowing how Chinese knock off anything, including restaurant names (The Chinese names for Evergreen, New Green Bo, and Moon House too are all famous Shanghai restaurants.), but my husband got curious after he could tell the food was cooked by a professional chef, and he asked our waiter where the chef came from. Apparently one of the well known hotel and restaurant groups in Shanghai dispatched the chef to Yeah Deluxe. (Maybe they rotate the chefs every year or two.) So even if it is not necessarily the same restaurant, it seems close enough.

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