Excited as I am to have affordable Shanghainese fare practically in my 'hood for the first time since Meilong Village/DPD days, I've held off having dinner at Flying Pan Bistro because of reports that they haven't yet brought some of their main dishes into focus. My Chancellor of the Exchequer (a.k.a. frugal wife) also looms large over this issue. However, what's to stop me from bringing home some cold dishes to accompany her excellent (by her own admission) home-style Shanghainese food?
It hit me like a bolt of lightning: bring home cold dishes and I won't have to worry about them getting cold. What a concept!
I picked three Shanghainese warhorses:
"Smoked" fish (xiong yu)
"Aster Salad" (doufu gan with ma lan tou)
The "smoked" (caramelized) fish was not cloyingly sweet (good) but a bit too agressively five-spiced.
The salty duck was a good version, to my tastes: lean and firm, with an easily removable fringe of fat and skin.
The "Aster Salad" was the star of the trio, probably the best version of this disgustingly healthy dish I've grudgingly been brought to love. It's a fine hash of try tofu and lightly pickled greens, usally considered to be from the "false" Aster, or Boltonia. Something like daisy leaves, I guess. This version had the highest ration of green to white I've seen, and chopped to almost a mossy texture. The greens were not overly pickled and their flavor really shone through. I felt as though it was the first time I actually "got" this dish.
All three cold dishes I would buy again for company, but for myself I'd have to try some of the other cold dish standards, like their jellyfish salad and 5-spiced beef.
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