Last week my brother and I had dinner in Mountain View at Shang Hai Taste Delight for our third time together. We brought a copy of our Samo-translation of the menu with us. The young man here was happy to see us, and showed us the newly printed menu that has English translations of the previously secret Shanghainese specialties. The complete menu now has 143 items. Gone are the wor won tons from the previous gringo-ized menu, now the majority are regional dishes, although generals chicken and sweet and sour pork still make an appearance. Some prices have gone up 50¢ to $1 each.
Still, the dishes are so inexpensive here, weve taken to ordering more than we can finish to have a good assortment to sample and take the rest home. The stewed and braised dishes of Shanghai cuisine reheat really well the next day and even improve as leftovers, unlike many Cantonese specialties.
New for us this time, as listed on the menu, were #48 Beef and spinach cooked in spicy juice (shui3 zhu3 niu2 rou4), $7.95; #38 Pork stew w/bamboo shoots in brown sauce cooked in jar (dong3 po1 rou4), $6.95; and #10 Shanghai sweet rice pudding (ba2 bao3 fan4), $5.95 that needs to be ordered 30 minutes in advance. We revisited #3 Shanghai braised wheat gluten (kao fu), $4.95; #98 Yellow birds (su4 huang2 que4), $6.95; and #112 Sauteed Shanghai rice cake with shredded pork and wild vegetable,$7.50.
# 48 was a water-cooked dish in the same genre as the Sichuan pork slices CharlieT described so well from House of Yu Rong. Here in a Shanghai-style restaurant, the spicing is gently warm rather than fiery hot and a little sweet with some sesame accents. We loved the smooth succulent mouthfeel of the beef, even as it remained a bit chewy, and the lightness offered by the fresh spinach, and the broth was great over white rice. #38 was the famous Dong Po pork preparation, a portion of fresh pork shank with the rind and a layer of fat braised in a sweet soy and star anise master sauce with slices of canned bamboo shoots. #10, the rice pudding also knows as eight treasures rice was stuffed with lots of goodies: sweet red bean paste, peanuts, lotus seeds, red dates, longan, pine nuts . . . and there must have been at least two more things! William noted that the texture of the rice was not as soft and glued together as in a steamed joong and liked that the grains were fully cooked yet still stayed separate and individual. We were dissatisfied with the rice cakes and have crossed them off our list to reorder. Despite asking for them to be cooked charry and dry-fried, the dish came out with no wok-seared marks. The rice cake material used here seems to be wetter than others and instead of a pleasant chewiness has a sticky, gummy texture that glues ones jaws together. Those with dentures beware! For the remaining dishes, follow the link below to a series of past posts on this restaurant.