Malaysian food

All about malaysian food (also international food) from a malaysian point of view. A Petaling Jaya (PJ) boy myself, most of my favorites are in PJ area. You name it, from snacks to gourmet food to hawker to fine dining, I'll try to cover. Even drinks eg. beer, wine, liquor, soft drinks, etc.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Shanghai food

A chance to sample a new culture of food since Nov 2005 ..... and to think I've had chinese food all my life... being in China brings a whole new experience in dining.

Coming up.... (time permitting of course)

An Overview

Hairy crab – a big deal with locals for this delicacy during autumn/winter. It’s relatively expensive, small and troublesome messy. Sure, some say the roe (egg) or slime tastes great (with a dip of vinegar/soya sauce) … I’ve tried better roe (my favorite of course SANG HAR (raw prawn) MEE very egg-y and rich (interpret : high cholesterol)). Meat-wise, I have better satisfaction cracking and digging into much bigger crabs back home…. Nothing beats chewing onto something… instead of sucking and nibbling at fingernail sizes of flesh…hmm, reminds me of those crab legs starters at Hooters ...well worth it (especially with hooter girls helping you with the legs!). Overall, hairy crab is an experience, but not for repeats.

Dumplings (xiao lung pao or zhiwei dumplings) – how I got sick of this delicacy so quickly…. I guess how the chinese eats this frequently is explained by how koreans eat kimchi. Looking at the popularly known huge queues at YuYuan is appalling. This is not difficult to cook and can be found in many china restaurants in Singapore and Malaysia. In fact, I got sick of it eating in Singapore prior to reaching Shanghai.. hehehe.

Cold starters – the norm in shanghai (or china in general perhaps?). Probably western influence to have ‘starters’ concept? Back in malaysia, there’s no starters concept persay…. just ‘how many’ course that’s all. In shanghai, it’s difficult to tell which is starter (aside from looking at menu) except maybe based on ‘cook or not cook’ concept. If it involves cooking on the spot, then it’s not starters. So, anything that’s prepared in advance is a starter eg. roast duck/pork/chicken, salad, jelly, etc.. Sweet dishes served in beginning is also considered starters (not desserts). After going thru all the starters, it’s amazing how one can start with the main dishes and dessert later. Well…. the concept here is ‘doggy bag’ or leftovers…. take home wat’s left (of course, this is only done in private events ie. not company events). Even the way the locals eat at Malaysian restaurants (example) are similar to westerners... order everything from fried noodles to rice to dishes and place all in the middle for picking, unlike malaysians who order their own rice and noodles, place it at respective places and pick from some dishes in middle.

Rice - this is supposed to be the staple food, but nope. In restaurants, this is the slowest to appear at tables no matter how many times you ask and remind the staff. I mean duh... they actually expect you to believe that they cook upon request? Well, generally locals don't eat rice in restaurants... they eat dishes only.

Milk/yoghurt drink - this are actually drank during lunch or dinner... yes!? Believe it. Was having dinner and was being asked what drinks we wanted... I nearly choked when girls ordered milk! Sorry... but I always perceived milk to be associated with bread or cereal or cookies... but never oily or salty chinese foods.

Beer - this is the cheapest drink on the menu. A bottle of 600ml or 700ml cost from RMB10 to RMB20, as compared to juices or soft drinks which average RMB10 to RMB25. And don't be shocked when waiters asked if you want the beer hot or cold... damn... they drink beer warm! And cold does not mean icy chilled beer... just cool... urgh!

Snacks / tidbits – overall, I’ve tried many a size and packaging… nothing is worth having repeatedly. Once is enough. Boring. Locals keep going for the same nuts or sunflower seeds or dried fish/squid or tasteless biscuits/cookies. CNY goodies are of the worst ho-hum variety… nothing like those I dive into at relatives/friends houses in Malaysia. Worst tidbit I had was like vacuum-packed meat parts!... urgh… beef-jerky substitute of the worst kind. Most frequented snack I picked up here? Got to be Lays chips… very nice and lots of variety…. Aside from that, microwave popcorn and healthy seaweed.

Deviations – taufoofar here is of the oddest, it is served like a dish?!! Salty, with condiments and soup!?!

Habits – locals are very health-conscious…. constantly seeping on chinese tea or having yoghurt or fruits with/between meals. Exercise is part of the daily regime if not sports eg. badminton, ping pong, basketball, etc... Drinking tea mixed with ‘kei chi’ (that red drops of herbs that supposedly benefits eyes) is part of the health regime.

ENJOY card - a discount and voucher membership, very good concept and systematic. Comes with a handy map with locations of discounts from 10% upwards and alphabetical index. Good for finding restaurants when touring.

Sherpas delivery - delivery service which caters to a wide variety of restaurants around Puxi and Pudong, charges service based on distance.

Shanghai Food log

First meal in Shanghai in RIYO, Green city, Jin Qiao- not being very adventurous, decided on Japanese. Can't go wrong. Anyway, this place has good sashimi. All you can eat buffet is RMB158... good value.

Water supply for the whole stay in Shanghai, this brand is endorsed by Coca Cola and at RMB3 for such size, super!

First proper sit-down shanghainese dinner at Jade Garden. Superb service and quality. All the below for RMB300+. BURP!
Tofu -

Roast duck -

Cucumber -

Cold chicken and spicy peas -

Honey lotus root -

Shrimps -

Fish fillets -

Cabbage rolls -

Pear Dim sum -

Brewed Soup -

Dessert -

Xiao Long Pao -

First dim sum lunch at Jade Garden
another modern and popular restaurant, with many branches around Shanghai. I have tried 2 branches… both equally giving quality and attentive service …. favorite being at Maoming Lu (off Shanxi Lu)…. because of the deco, ambience and quality dim sum…. Yum.

Vegetable -

Dessert -

Har kau -

Noodles -

Chicken legs -

Pau -

Sour dumpling -

Spring roll -

Char siew puff -

Egg tart -


Mango roll

Food court in shanghai
Believe it or not, this is actually roti canai, with choice of any ingredients eg. Ham, egg, fruits, etc..

Looking closely, you can see the red bean and desserts, god knows how long they have been brewing… almost turning into glue.

My korean dinner.

Colorful mockups and selections... cheap

My dinner... huge portion for less than RMB20

Lisboa Café, B1 level, Times square, Huahai Lu, Puxi – nice Macau cum HK restaurant, good Macau pork chop burger, egg tarts and snacks.
Coffea tea mix

Pork chop burger

Domani, Superbrand mall, Pudong
Simple location, great view, good romantic ambience, good food, not popular... good for me.
River view

Appetiser platter

Cheese platter



Stawberry park, Parkson, Huahai - not much choices to eat in Parkson except the SQ dressed waitress restaurant Crossroads downstairs, this dessert place has decent malaysian food too. Another branch in Jingan Temple basement level.
Strawberry puff -

Laksa -

Baked rice -

Ran Japanese, JinXiao, Pudong
Good environment and friendly girl staff. Outdoor dining during spring and autumn... my first outdoor japanese dining was here.
Claypot 1 -

Claypot 2 -

Tang Dynasty, Thumb Plaza (Da Moh Zhe), Fangdian Lu, Pudong – modern and grand, with 3 floors, grand piano and a lift from ground level…. The menu is probably done by the same menu designer as Shanghai uncle… full of pictures and descriptions. Offerings are mix of cantonese, szechuan, shanghainese and the exotic (snake, rabbit, toad, etc.). This is where I had the most ‘exotic’ in my life (well… aside from the poisonous puffer fish (fugu) sashimi in Tokyo)…. fried snake and …. (drum roll)… snake bladder in a shot glass of local spirits…. urggh. It looked like a giant green nut shaped like cashew. The latter of course was claimed to benefit the eyes and reduce body heat. Little did I realise 1 month later, I came across a news article of a boy being infected with parasites as a result of eating the bladder. Little was mentioned how he ingested it or under what circumstances, but the doctor was quoted saying that such methods of ingesting are not advisable….. best is taking processed powder from the bladder. Now they tell me… I only hope that I am like the millions of Chinese who have ingested it many times before without a problem. Well, at least I’m glad I didn’t drink the snake blood that came with the bladder!!! That would have been wicked, mixed with spirits… thank goodness, we didn’t have the proper spirits for the mix or I would have submitted under peer pressure.

Colorful and informative menus

Crispy char siew - bland

Fried kway teow

Pan fried pau

Egg tart - never dissapoints

Hot pot place somewhere that I can't remember- a hot favorite for winter.... especially the szechuan soup. Super hot, tongue numbing... defeats the purpose of eating, doesn't it?

Tsingtao of different size/variety -

The yin yang soups - the spicy soup was just too spicy .. no taste at all or maybe my taste buds were burnt beyong repair

Beef - fresh and tender

Others -

Shanghai uncle, 8F Times Square, Pudong – my favorite restaurant so far ie. ambience, service, menu selection, quality. Menu is filled with pictures and descriptive english. I always love menus which indicates the ‘best sellers’ or recommendations…. makes ordering a whole lot easier instead of interogating the waitresses only to get stupid remarks like ‘All our food are nice’ (yeah right) or guessing/picking a few to discover otherwise or peeking at neighbouring tables for samples while irrititating the diners (this doesn’t work ‘cos I’ve seen locals peeking into my table (the tourist’ table) for samples….… hehehe… only if they knew). Specials here are the ribs and roast pork (doused in fire for effect).


Appetizers on crackers

Crispy eel ... yummy

The popular ribs with pine nuts

Seafood cheese pasta

Pieroth white wine - nice

Crispy fish appetizer

Shrimp flakes with baked bread/biscuits

Steinlager beer at RMB15

Fried dough - too thick and sticky. Should get inspiration from Malaysia's version.

Cabbage and ham... common dish

Appetisers -

Fiery Roast pork -

Fish -

More and more

Local white wine -

Innocent looking but >40% alcohol potent -

Quanjude, Huahai Rd – famous for the peking duck, I had to try how the peking duck is like in China (with Malaysian standard in mind). Place was packed (then again, what’s not packed at peak hour in China)…. Had to take queue no’s while we sat and witness the impatient locals arguing and constantly checking on their turns…. While the traditionally dressed hostesses ushered and greeted guests. I sympathised with them, having to dress in those traditional costumes and stand for hours end on those authentic single-square-block-clogs… while they walk in small steps up and down ushering… must be hell on their soles! Anyway, I was finally led through a maze of corridors and escalator from the entrance to the back of the building … more tables and more crowds… smoked up by smokers. Long story short…. Peking duck was a dissapointment…. had no condiments as per Malaysia… just simple wrap with spring onion and sauce…. dull. Difference was the meat was more cured… stronger taste.
The crowd/ queue

The ushers

Shrimp baskets

Slicing the peking duck

Noticed the color of the meat, reminds you of cured meat

Leftovers are cooked in soup

Tony G, Biyun Lu, Jin Xiao, Pudong
After frequenting many restaurants around Puxi and Pudong so far ... but this place is the worst so far. Service is bad and haphazard. Food is not good. Expensive for the standard. Bad ventilation (I just hate the smell of szechuan peppers). English menu is not descriptive and a pain to choose from. All pictures showed red color items... but what they were, no idea.
Pumpkin -

Rib -

Mix vege -

Pigeon -

Blue Frog, Biyun Rd, Pudong – a western family oriented restaurant cum pub (upstairs), popular to expats and richer locals alike. Prices are high… US based. Burgers (from RMB65) to ribs (>RMB100) to drinks (>RMB20) …. Expect to pay average of at least RMB80 per person. I had a bad choice of a small thin glass of banana smoothie at exorbitant RMB30… should have gone for the refillable lemon tea. Burgers are quite good…. meat is tasty.
Blue frog burger with mexican chilli at RMB80 a pop!

Tuna sandwich

Moon river, Thumb Plaza (Da Moh Zhe), Fangdian Lu, Pudong – a cheaper alternative to Blue Frog in a more upbeat milkbar/Happy Days sitcom environment…. burgers range from RMB40, ribs from RMB60, etc.. Free popcorn, refillable soft drinks/lemonade, generous portions… affordable. Dislikes : ribs are worst kind (felt like they boiled the ribs and top them up with sauce… hence easy off the bones), mushroom burger was uninteresting (my mindset was Burger King’s creamy mushroom-like burger but instead got brown gravy dark kind), country chicken was boring. Heard the shakes are good (RMB30)

Tai Sheng Yuan, Xin Jin Xiao Rd., Jin Xiao, Pudong
Considered one of the best in service, taste and value this part of Pudong. I have eaten here numerous times including takeaways. Highly recommended, it's always packed even on weekdays.
Takeaway… Sweet sour pork, roast duck and vege -

Vegetarian duck -

Fish + meat appetizer -

Vege -

Maw -

Deadly mixture… wine, beer and yoghurt milk -

Sashimi -

Scallops in cheese -

Tofu vege -

Hairy crab -

And that’s how it looks like inside ….

Shrimp puff

Braised gluten and vege

Sweet sour fish

Pork leg

HK restaurant in Nextage Mall, 10th floor
This place is always packed and typical of HK scene. Queue numbers and chairs outside for people to wait. HK food is a craze.
Roast pork/roast duck -

Roast pork

Iced kailan with wasabe soya sauce - refreshing and nice

Bittergourd pork rice

Local poison

Indian Kitchen, Biyun Lu, Jin Xiao, Pudong
As usual, indian restaurants in foreign countries are highly priced which I think is ridiculous. Imagine...a naan or prata at RMB20!!! C'mon, it's just flour, are we daft... in KL, it's just 50cents or max RM1 and that's the price of flour! But anyway, when all options run out, sometimes indian food it is. Indian food definitely needs a kick in the butt of reality, to have low or medium price establishments... bring in the mamaks. Imagine sipping cheap teh tarik or lassi or chai during spring and autumn... outdoors! That's going to pack the millions in.
Curry -

Expensive prata -

Hu Xiang Yue: 98 Bai Hua Road, Pudong Tel: 50307777/50307779
A restaurant in a quiet neighbourhood... no shops or other restaurants to compete with. In between XinJinqiao and Thumb Plaza, but it still packs the crowds in. Decent food (Shanghai, Hunan, Cantonese)

Lotus root again -

Sashimi -

Local river fish which is cooked with scales intact!!... to preserve the meat texture-

Shrimps again -

Vege -

Spicy meat -

More more food -

Hairy crab -

Soup -

Pan fried dumpling -

Dessert -

Bi Feng Tang, Thumb Plaza (Da Moh Zhe), Fangdian Lu, Pudong – casual eatery in a village/boat deco, serving nice crab porridge (RMB20), dim sum and noodles…. as well as usual dishes eg. roast meat. Many branches around shanghai... some has very good outdoor settings/environment, done up like huts in kungfu movies or boats.
Crab porridge

Dough fritter rolls - too salty and bland

Some chinese Restaurant, Superbrand mall, Pudong
On the 8th floor (i think) of this mall, there are huge and endless choices of restaurants to choose from. Walk from one end to the other, you will still not be able to make a choice. Anyway, we just stopped midway and chance upon one. Pretty decent.
Tung po meat -

Beef in dough fritters

Snacks shop –this kind of shops are everywhere ... always packed and if unsure, one would think there’s a sale going on… join in the rush!

Typical Snacks shop - Looks so clinical, one would think it's a pharmacy

Nuts weighed and packed in brown bags

Or prepacked

Some snacks

Korean snacks available in supermarkets

Favorite korean noodle too

More korean hot sauce

Some local and japanese snacks

Candy and biscuits

Snacks cum fruits shop – again, more hustle bustle… are those people actually props to create hype? Fruits look colorful and fresh…. But are they nice? Nope, they weren’t as sweet as they looked upon trying

Misc – so many and yet much not documented
Old speckled hen -

Bread from Carrefour -

Cakes (chocolate, cheese) - from our hotel, Ramada. After 8pm, it's 50% off. So no surprise, where I got my pounds from.

Green king IPA -

Yu tiao and gross tau foo far -

Longjing tea

Longjing tea from Hangzhou at RMB80

Some Panettone cake for Xmas mood

Microwave popcorn for movie nights

Pork and beef Jerky

Street sweets

True White (local)- medicinal

Dynasty red (local)- bland

Dynasty White wine (local)- my favorite, cheap too RMB25. Sometimes with body and sometimes without... keep longer for more body.

Chestnuts - peeled and soft but not as good as the roasted ones on the streets

Self-made dimsum -

Workplace canteen with decent chinese food and pastries to keep lunch decisions simple -

Korean hot sauce to transform rice to bibimbap -

Street snacks
5 spice Pancake -

Another stall at different place, herd mentality draws the queues even though same product/same company -

BBQ meat/pigeon/fish/squid

Dumplings and dessert stuff, packs in the queues at Yuyuan

Takeaway local noodles -

Squid (I could have sworn that looked like rat in the beginning) -


Tapioca cake -

Fish -

Tea café, Nextage mall - at 6th floor (i think), the sports clothing floor, this nice cosy cafe is a great place to unwind and relax from this busy shopping center. It has great private rooms at the back, superb for spreading out and romantic chit chat. Great choice of fusion tea, smoothies and herbal drinks. A gem!
Tea (average of RMB30 per pot) -

Sandwich and tea

Blueberry cake

Papa Johns
A popular pizza joint asided from Pizza hut. Great delivery service.

Pizza Italia
Decent pizza place
Pizza -

Pasta -

Set - disgusting

Una's Pizza

Pepperoni pizza - the only good one worth ordering, aromatic and crispy

Pasta for variety but uninspiring

Pizza hut
Pizza is not cheap in Shanghai but yet this place draws in the queues everywhere, strange. At average RMB80 a pizza, I wonder where the young ones get the money. I mean ... with 2 pizza price, a nice chinese dinner for 4 can be eaten at a nice restaurant.
Mushroom Risotto!! More like wet gravy rice but hey, when I eat out everyday, sooner or later, I run out of choices. If it tastes good, wat the hey. Followed by pasta and porcini risotto... blobs! Looks yucky doesn't it?

Hangzhou ,
The one place to visit, the only one needed. 2 hours away on train or 3 hours bus ride. This place has everything I wanted from China eg. the scenery (lakes, hills, gardens), sightseeing, shopping (Yan'an Rd and Hefang Rd), etc. Everything is within reach of the RMB10 initial cab fare. Food is cheaper than Shanghai but more oily and fatty.
Train food -

Lunch rice pack -

Traditional biscuits -
More traditional snacks from Hefang Rd-
Flour cakes with red bean filling, hot and fresh -
Fried Insects -
Sweets/fruits on sticks -

Tianxianglou restaurant, 447 Yan'an Road (87076789)
Famous Tung Po Pork and stewed duck -

Temple food at General Yue Fei's Temple and Tomb
Mixed rice -
Sweet Potato -

Flavor Savoring Tower, 83 Renhe Road (87065871) - popular for snack/dim sum
Poster -
Cat ear -
Zhiwei dumpling -

Dim sum -

Rice cake -

Pau from Xinfeng Snacks, 183 Yan'an road (87062579)-

Kuiyuan Restaurant (upstairs), 154 Jiefang Road (87028626)
Cheap beer -

Quick fried Eel and Shelled Shrimp noodles - popular order. It was ok, oily though.

With soup (oil oil oil!!!!) -

Traditional Hangzhou Dishes

Hangzhou enjoys a varity of local flavor dishes such as Dongpo Pork,West Lake Carp in Sweet and Sour Sauce,Shelled Shrimps with Dragon Well Green Tea,Beggar's chicken,Jingle Bell,Honey Ham,All birds Paying Homepage to Phoenix and Quick-fried Prawns.
Dongpo Pork: Legend has it that in the Northern Song Dynasty when the emient writer Su Dongpo organized a large-scale dredging of the lake as the governor of Hangzhou,he made Dongpo Pork to reward the labourers.Till now it has a history of over 900 years. It is featured by red and bright color,pure taste and thick juice,crisp but not broken and oily but not greasy.

West Lake Carp in sweet and sour Sauce
It's also called Love between Brother & sisiter In-Law.\A legend about its origin has it that in the Southern Song Dynasty there was a lady called Sister Song who cooked a bowl of fish seasoned with sugar and vinegar to whet her sick brother's appetite.Now it is cooked of a fresh West Lake grass Carp and blends three flavors of fresh sweet and sour.It tastes fresh and tender with a flavor of crab.

Beggar's Chicken
Slay a fat and tender chicken,wrap it on fresh lotus leaves and bake it with fire.The dish tastes tender and crisp,and falls easily on the bones. Louwailou Restaurant

Other Local Dishes
Besides the above traditional Hangzhou dishes ,there are some other renowned dishes such as Shelled Shrimps with Dragon Well Green Tea,Fish Balls in Clear Soup,Stewed Spring Bamboo Shoot,Steamed Meat Wrapped with Lotus Leaf,West Lake Water Shield Soup,Quick-fried Eel Slices,Hangzhou Soy-sauce Duck and Salty Meat,etc.They all have particular flavors.

New Hangzhou Dishes

All together 48 kinds.They are distinguished for fresh tastes ,materials and cooking methods.They not only absorb flavors of traditional Hangzhou dishes, but also take in the strongpoints of Chinese eight styles of cuisines.

Stewed Duck with Dried Bamboo
Based on the principle thet "cure and medicine have the same source",it is elaborately made according to a secret prescription handed down in the family from ancestors.Oily but not greasy,soft but not loose,it tastes fresh and delicious with pleasant color,fragrance,taste and shape.

Other New Hangzhou Dishes
Besides the above new Hangzhou dishes,there are many other new Hangzhou dishes good at color,fragrance,taste and shape,including Stewed Frondosus and Chicken,Pigeon with Chili and Salt,Hot Plate Weever,Mandarin Fish in Crab Sauce,Potted Fish Head and Ribs in Bamboo Leaves.

Noted Hangzhou Snacks

Hangzhou has a varity of special snacks with long histories,delicate shapes and delicious flavors. Lots of snacks have interesting stories about their origin.Famous snacks are Zhiwei Small Dumplings ,Noddles with Quick Fried Eel and Shelled Shrimp,Hangzhou Noodles with Pork and Bamboo Shoot,Cat's Ear,Southern Big Bun,Wu Hill Crisp Cakes and Flour Cake Rolled with Shallot and Sauce inside.

Flour Cake Rolled with Shallot and sauce inside
Legend has it that in the Southern Song Dynasty,people hated Qin Hui couple and a certain peddler who sold fried food made Qin's figure with flour and murmured"fry Qinhui..." while frying.Later it evolved into flour cake rolled with shallot and sauce inside.Use fine white flour to make a pie sheet,wrap with fried oil dough and shallot chop,then stave on the fried pan untill it becomes golden,at last apply with sauce.

Cat's Ear
It gets its name for its shape is like a cat's ear.It is elaborately made with agate-like ham dice and amber-like chicken dice.It's quite danity with fresh juice and delicious taste.

Hangzhou Noodles with Pork and Bamboo Shoot
It is made with sliced pork and condiments such as bamboo shoot slices and vegetables. The noodles taste delicious with fresh and soft sliced meat and vegetables and bamboo shoot slices of bright hue and luster.

Noodles with Quick Fried Eel and Shelled Shrimp
Use a sturdy and fresh eel,cut it into slices,fry it with grain oil,stir-fry it with meat oil,and then pour sesame oil on it untill the eel slices become golden and crispy. Then season it with clear freshwater shrimps and boil the noodles with the original soup,making noodles absorb the aura of the eel and shrimps.The noodles taste fresh with thick soup.

Zhiwei Small Dumplings
Use fermented fine flour to make wrappings,and fresh meat and shelled shrimp or minced chicken and ham as filling.Then put them into special cases and steam with quick fire.The steamed meat bun has fresh and fragrant juice,thin and smooth wrappings and different flavors.


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