Shanghai: South Beauty

February 10 2008 - 1:13 PM


*I’m in China this week and will be trying all sorts of things. Any suggestions about eating around Shanghai would be greatly appreciated.
Well Jet lag will certainly wake you up at 2am and keep you up so here’s my first dinner in China. The place was called South Beauty which is a Chinese chain restaurant with 17 locations that started in Beijing. Don’t get that wrong. It’s a beautiful restaurant and in Shanghai if something isn’t expanding it’s being torn down. It is a really pretty restaurant with cut-out walls, lots of odd glass, multiple levels and plenty of fine grain wood that looks all the more fine grain in the different colored lights.

Remembering all the courses would be second only to correctly identifying them but I’ll give it a shot since I’ve got nothing but Tsingtao from the mini-bar and pringles gonfiabili per bambini to keep me going. The restaurant serves Sichuan style or at least that’s what we seemed to get.

Almost everything was spicy and good.  Appetizers started with a
duck-and-something roulette sliced and served cold, almost like a
terrine. There were small green strips of pickled veggie, I think it
was a radish of sorts. They were neatly served, each small strip tied
in a knot and in addition to the acid they were hot. There was red
pepper in almost everything. Other dishes included a very spicy woodear
mushroom, a sliced giant mushroom that looked like strips of tofu, a
mushroom soup that I wasn’t too keen on, sesame glazed pork spare ribs, giant prawn (really giant) served with a
spicy pepper sauce and garnished with a small split hot pepper that
looked way too similar to a cherry tomato.

Entrees included a roast pork “bridge” that was presented and then
sliced, two kinds of breaded fish, a hot oil beef that was cooked
tableside like Japanese shabu-shabu and a wonderfully gamey chicken
that really had an element of duckiness to it. The best item was an
appetizer of chicken breast pounded and served on a slightly sweet
toast with cucumber and topped with a crispy skin chip. For some reason
the sweetness of the bread turned something relatively simple into a
nice rounded bite.