Today I was feeling duty-bound to check out the current state of the xiaolong bao at Shanghai (Da Shanghai) restaurant on Judah. When I got there at 1:30 the place was empty. It was open, but there was nary a customer. Not one. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Meiyou. At 1:30 on a Sunday.
I had been avoiding Da Shanghai out of peevishness since going there several months ago to pick up some frozen xiaolong bao and getting stiffed with a bad that appeared to be way too old, but I felt they deserved another chance. There was no way, however, that I could bring myself to walk into a restaurant that was totally empty at lunch time on a Sunday. Has anyone eaten there lately? Has the place gone downhill, or have the fickle diners just abandoned it for Shanghai Dumpling.
I headed instead to San Tung for a plate of good shrimp and leek shui jiao and a bowl of so-so hot-sour soup. A lot of people were ordering something called "cherry pork" which looked like a take on sweet and sour pork. I don't recall encountering such a dish in China or in Chinese restaurants anywhere before, though pork cooked with jujubes is popular in Shanghai. Is there a Shandong or Korean precendent for "cherry pork?"