Friday, July 30, 2021

Safe Choice

Shanghai Fraternity is always a safe choice, especially during COVID times when we could always book out a private room with separate tables to conform with the social distancing rules while still feel like we are eating together. 

That's exactly what we did a few weeks ago with our group of 12 in 3 tables. Of course there were a few dishes that we went for almost every single time, including the tea-smoked eggs with the runny yolks in the center, or the steamed xiaolongbao at the end of the meal. 

And there were a few new dishes that we managed to try this time. A miscommunication with the restaurant meant we ended up with the deep-fried shrimp meatball, rather than the salt egg-coated sauteed shrimps that we expected. But that off-menu dish turned out to be delicious, with the mashed shrimp mixed with Shanghai cabbage, battered and deep-fried with the crispy crust and soft and tender interior, then they were served as the side dish to the traditional sauteed river shrimp with tea leaves, creating this one dish with two different textures and tastes.

Steamed conger eels was another dish we pre-ordered, with the gigantic piece of eels cut into chunks and steamed with superior broth, shiitake mushrooms and chicken oil. The fatty chunk of eels was fatty and rich, and the sauce would have been perfect with a simple bowl of steamed rice. And then there's the dish I dare not name, finished by the table with generous portion served on individual bowls with the rich superior broth gravy and sauteed bean sprouts and minced ginger underneath to balance the rich flavor. Probably not a good idea to have this too often but I wouldn't mind taking it as a special treat every now and then. 

With the 12 of us we managed to order a few more dishes. The drunken pork knuckles and pork terrine were two of our favorite cold appetizers, and I thought it's perfect in this weather with the refreshing flavor. The braised dongpo pork was on the fatty side this time, but I ain't going to complain. And we finished with the dessert of pan-fried glutinous rice "cake", another of my favorite. 

Went with the usual suspects of old world wines, with a few 2009 vintages. The 2009 Clos du Marquis certainly came to age with bright, black fruits characters. That along with the young Barolo worked well with the richer dishes, while I certainly didn't mind the elegant Burgundy to go with the soup. 

When? May 29 2021
Where? Shanghai Fraternity Association Restaurant, 1-3/F, South China Building, 1 Wyndham Street, Central
Menu Highlights? Steamed Conger Eel
Champagne Pol Roger Reserve Brut NV
2009 Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin Premier Cru Les Murgeres des Dents de Chien
2009 Domaine Benjamin Leroux Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Abbaye de Mongeot
2009 Chateau Duhart Milon Pauillac|
2009 Clos du Marquis Saint-Julien
2014 Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Cannubi
2010 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino "Pianrosso"

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