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Restaurants & Bars 35

Lunch at Shanghai in Oakland Chinatown -- Report

Joel Teller | Jul 20, 200405:52 PM

The East-West Chinatown lunch events continue...

Eleven intrepid Chowers squeezed around a table meant for ten at the tiny Shanghai on Webster street in Oakland Chinatown, on Tuesday July 20. There are at least five different menus here, so we did a lot of negotiating. Mr and Mrs Yimster were present to help out.

People who arrived exactly at twelve saw a lot of food on the table and thought they were late -- but in fact we had already ordered many of the cold dishes. These are kept in a case at the back of the restaurant so you can just go and point.

We had these cold dishes; all were judged very tasty:
drunken chicken
five-spice duck
peanuts and dried fish
"smoked" fish
seaweed salad
bean curd and chopped vegetable
fava beans (fluorescent pastel green)
mock chicken (bean curd?)

Then the hot dishes:
Xiao long bao (soup dumplings). Six to an order, full of soup. Gordon said these were tasty, and soupy, but a bit on the small side (our Governator might call these "girlie-dumplings"). I thought they were excellent, and we had the usual back-and-forth conversation on the relative merits of thicker wrappers (which conserve soup) versus thinner ones (prone to inadvertent soup-loss).

Braised eggplant
A-choy stir-fried with garlic (Derek liked the wok-breath, I thought it was greasy)
Claypot chicken and chestnuts
Claypot lion's head meatballs
"Pork joint" (the elbow of the front leg, with skin and fat, braised to untuous tenderness)
(the three preceding dishes had the sweet/salty Shanghai sauce, with varying degrees of seasoning).
Shanghai "noodle" (actually mochi-like rice cakes, sliced into coins, stirfried with meat and vegetable). Good wok-breath on this, although to be fair to other places, the restaurant was less than half-full so the chef could focus on his wok.

For dessert we had red-bean paste "pancakes", actually a form of crepe, which some of us correctly identified as blintzes.
On the occasion of Susan B's husband's birthday, she shared a box of delicious rugelach from La Farine (a true mix of culinary metaphors).

Though there were no left-overs to take home, we felt very reasonably fed for $11 each (which included a 20% tip). Other diners, please add comments.

Our next lunch will be Vietnamese, on Thursday July 29th. I'll send out the Evite soon -- if you want to be added to the mailing list, send an email to the Hotmail address above.

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