If executed properly, sometimes it is refreshing to see talented and innovative chefs taking traditional dishes and 'kicking them up a notch' by enhancing the recipe with their own 'extras'!
A number of dishes we ordered yesterday at Golden Shanghai at 14th & Kennedy were such cases.
The first was the traditional ' Braised Pork Belly aka Dong Po Rou '. This 'soya sauce' based dish can be found in almost all Northern/Shanghainese places in town, including Asian Legend, High Shanghai, Northern Dumpling Kitchen, Ding Tai Fung.....etc. However, the version we were offered, the chef added some 'fermented brown bean curd' to the sauce! This unexpected addition raised the taste profile of the dish to another totally different level. The nutty and sweet 'miso' taste combined with the traditional seasoning resulted in an awesome tasting dish that begs for steamed dumplings to mop up the sauce!! Which one of my friend did! He had 6!!!!!! Oh!! As for the meat, move over Momofuku Pork Belly, this kid is better!!
The other dish was the traditional ' Szechuan Soya tea smoked duck '. Normally eaten 'sans sauce', the chef provided us with a sweet and tangy dipping sauce derived from pickled plums, rock sugar and Chinkiang vinegar. Tasted like 'aged Balsamic' but more complexed, it provides an absolutely perfect accompaniment for the duck.
Two other dishes we ordered also worthy of an honorary mentioning. First, a deeply flavored free range chicken that had been 'soaked' in a herbed and spiced fish sauce base marinade. Second, a huge clay pot soup of Yams, carrots, Chinese mustard greens, sweet corn, Shitake mushrooms and 'Salted Pork Bones'!! So hearty and delicious. A perfect comfort food for a frigid windy evening!!