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Shanghai East chowdown report

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Shanghai East chowdown report

ChewChew | Nov 9, 2006 03:00 PM

Eleven hungry hounds braved rush-hour traffic to meet up for some Shanghai-style food in San Mateo. DeeGlaze and I have been coming here fairly regularly and it was high time we turned loose the hounds on the extensive menu. We chose a banquet menu with numerous substitutions and additions. We ate:

Xiao Long Bao (2 orders)
Combination Appetizers
Preserved Pork and Bamboo Soup
Shanghai Sauteed Prawns
Fish Filet with Wine Sauce
Combination Wild Rice Shoot (Water Root Vegetable)
Shanghai Chow Mein
Tofu Sheets with Soybeans
Chicken and Chestnut Claypot
Braised Pork Knuckle
Braised Fish Tail with Red Sauce
Bean Curd Shoots with Ham (Yangzhou Gan Si)
Pea Shoots with Garlic
Lionshead Meatballs with Cellophane Noodles in Claypot Soup
Shanghai-Flavor Rice cake with Ji Cai
Dessert - Rice Balls in Wine Soup

Overall, this was a delicious meal. The food was carefully prepared and the portion sizes were quite generous. Some highlights for me were the braised fish tails, cooked to spot-on doneness paired with an intense, dark, rich sauce. Melt in your mouth goodness. The fish filets in wine sauce were great too with flaky, perfectly cooked fish in a wonderfully balanced sauce with just the right amount of wine flavor. I went back for more and more of this. The Lionshead soup is the ultimate comfort food. The light and airy meatballs, split with a spoon, infuse and deepen an amazing anise broth. I get this every time and never tire of it. The rice cakes with ji cai were notable for their perfect texture. Toothsome but not gummy. And, yes, the XLBs were very good. If we're nit-picking, the skins were perhaps a bit too thick, but only by a little and the healthy dose of soup inside brought it all together. The only misses of the evening for me were the braised pork knuckle and chicken and chestnut clay pot. Though the knuckle was slow-cooked to fall-off-the-bone doneness, the sauce was rather thin and uninteresting. Same deal with the chicken and chestnuts - the chicken was well cooked but the chestnuts lacked flavor and the sauce added little.
And as always, another highlight was the company - a great mix of old and new faces. Thanks for a fun evening.

Shanghai East Restaurant
105 W. 25th Ave. San Mateo
(650) 522.9098

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