Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hong Kong Day 4: Dinner At Ye Shanghai

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Ye Shanghai ('Shanghai at night') is a restaurant in a high class shopping mall called Pacific Place (PP) on Hong Kong Island. The very name brings to mind Shanghai in the 1920s when nightclubs and decadent living gave the city the name 'Paris Of The East'. I can picture nightclub girls in tight cheongsams, slim cigarettes in elegant hands, guys in suits and cigars at the corner of their mouths, and the gramophone playing that most famous song about Shanghai: Ye Shanghai.



Ye Shanghai the restaurant will not give you any feel of glorious Shanghai in the 1920s/30s. Unfortunate. Even the music they play is modern Chinese numbers although the decor is classic yet contemporary. The only thing Shanghainese is the food.

I have been eating at this restaurant for years, as it is one of my friends A & H's favorite restaurants. A (Shanghainese, like my Hub) especially has a soft spot for PP because this was her first major project as a young architect fresh from Canada. I was told that when this restaurant started out, they created an old Shanghai ambience by having girls in cheongsams sing old Zhou Xuan songs, but unfortunately the exorbitant prices kept people away so they had to stop the performances. The restaurant is a classy joint, so I enjoy dining here each time I come to HK because not only is the place elegant and the food great, I never have to pay! A & H are regulars and even when I try to pay behind their backs, the Maitre d' will not accept my money. Lucky me. It's good to have rich friends. Correction. Rich and generous friends.

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Looking out to the entrance. The seats are positioned along full-glass windows and you can glimpse HK's neon lights through them as you dine. I spotted this beauty seated at the table behind Hub and pretended to play with my camera but unfortunately the pictures turned out blur. My friend A teased me about taking pictures in restaurants (it is quite uncool) so I toned down my photo-taking activity.

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A display of teacups at the entrance of Ye Shanghai.

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Top left: crispy spring rolls as starter. Right: delightfully crunchy, tender and sweet shrimps (size of 10 sen coins) sauteed and covered with salted duck yolks. Perfect with rice but we weren't having any that night because A had ordered too much for the 3 of us. My Shanghainese FIL disdains the prawns we get in Sabah because he considers them too big and coarse and I used to disagree with him, until I ate the tiny shrimps in Shanghai. It was a revelation. These little shrimps are from the river and they are exceptionally tender yet crunchy. I highly recommend this dish.

Bottom left: a bowl of fried minced pork, water chestnuts, pine nuts + other stuff (not sure what), eaten by filling into the thin crispy hollow pancakes. Right: This I really really love: fresh bamboo slices and meat mince in a most delicious sauce. I would give a finger for this recipe.

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Top left: fried rice sticks, which was not as tasty as I expected. Right: xiao long baos, little buns. My tongue was so jaded it said these can be better even though they were as good as any I've eaten.

Bottom left: yes, I did gross my dining partners out by digging out and eating the pigeon's brains (if I get Bird Flu, everyone will know why). It was yum. Right: drunken pigeon. This was totally heavenly, the flavor of the shao xin wine hit my tongue, my palate, my nose, my brains. It was gastronomic climax, and A and Hub both nodded, dazed with the flavor and taste; words seem to sully the moment. I uncouthly spooned every drop of the wine sauce into my mouth. I didn't care what A thought; I've always been the country bumpkin from Sabah to her anyway.

p.s. My recommendation for dining for 2 pax at Ye Shanghai:

1) Drunken pigeon
2) Shrimps sauteed in salted duck yolks
3) Fresh bamboo and minced meat stir fry
4) Ba yeh (tofu 'skin') and green soya beans stir fry
5) One or two starters

8 comments:

ganache-ganache said...

I think I'll do the same thing, I love Shao Tsing wine so so much, I must have drunken chicken though every time I go to East Ocean in Singapore. tried the drunken chicken @ Heng Loong @ Warisan Sq & I could taste a very strong 'fridge smell', must be in the fridge for a long time...

Linda said...

I've never seen hollow pancake before, they look yummy.

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Precious Pea said...

Jotted down your recommendation. Slurps!

Kim said...

The restaurant should pay you for your reviews. I am drooling! Thanks for the recommendation.

terri@adailyobsession said...

ganache: u r like me, very sensitive of 'fridge smell'! do u also detect a wierd fridge/ice smell when u r in our seafood restaurants? i smelt tt too, in singapore but not in hk. my chemist friend told me tt the ice used by fishmongers have chemicals; she's frm our chemistry dept so i believe her.

linda: yes, n the sesame seeds give a nice fragrance

run: noted

pp: *gulps saliva* we r 'wei sig' aren't we :D!

kim: but they r not :(...

Rasa Malaysia said...

Terri, the Ye Shanghai in Shanghai is really not good. I prefer this one in Hong Kong. Their wonton soup is good, too.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

rm: thanx, i didn't know there's one in shanghai. it seems hk's food standard is really really high. hub's aunty, who's shanghainese but lives in hk, said tt the xiao long baos n sheng jen baos at hk's wang jia xu branches r even better than any in shanghai!

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