Thursday, May 24, 2007

Morning Shanghai, Shanghai

Morning Shanghai, Shanghai
Thursday 24 May, 2007

We've arrived! For our first evening meal we opted to stay inside the hotel and visit Morning Shanghai, also known as Richard's Restaurant. It's strange as Astor House, the name of our hotel is also known as Pujiang Hotel. It's a case of dual identity on many levels.

Astor House was established in 1846 by the Richard's family. It holds the claim to fame of being the first western hotel in Shanghai. In 1907 the hotel was restored to a neoclassical Baroque structure.

We had stumbled across this place last year by sheer accident (we don't usually opt to eat in hotel restaurants preferring to get out & about) but Morning Shanghai was a pleasant surprise so we were looking forward to visiting again. The food is authentic Shanghainese and the environment is described as a traditional Shanghainese with a European flare. The decor is old world with very high ceilings, crown corners, chandeliers and wooden floor to ceiling side boards and display cases.

Tonight the staff were in abundance but sadly no-one was that interested in doing their jobs i.e. serving their customers. They were far more interested in standing around the bar chatting. Several staff asked us did we want the Western or Chinese menu. When we replied 'Chinese please' this prompted another staff member to approach and ask the same question. I think they thought we were confused but we definitely wanted the Chinese menu - why come to China and eat Western food?????

We ordered a range of dishes and some new finds:

- Spicy eggplant in hot pot
- Deep fried chicken with dried chilli and peanuts
- Shallot pancakes
- Crab and mushroom dumplings
- Steamed rice

The food arrived quickly and then it occured to us. The Chinese always serve the rice last. Don't's standard practice here in order for you to enjoy the other dishes. At home we are so used to soaking up the sauces etc in the rice. We politely asked the waiter for our rice and he looked at us as if we had just announced that the Olypmics has been striped from China in 2008! After composing himself her dutifully returned with our three small bowls of rice.

The food was fantastic - the spicy eggplant was cut into 4-5 cm peices, layered in the hot pot and soaked in a very spicy sauce that was great over the rice. The deep fried chicken was a version of KFC's popcorn chicken but with bones, the dumplings were juicy, delicate and served in a small steamed basket and the pancakes....well, let's just say something was lost in translation as pancakes they were not. What we received were a cross between thin, layered pastry packed full of shallots and fried. They were actually very good.

After lots of talk about Shanghai, the plan of attack for tomorrow and people watching we paid the bill - it was only $32 Aus - what a bargain!

Morning Shanghai (inside Astor House)15 Huangpu Road, Shanghai - T: 86 21 6309 1846


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Shanghai hairy crab, was it in season when you were there?

Did you give it a try elsewhere?

11:06 pm  

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