Thursday, July 26, 2012

Shanghai: Hai Di Lao Hot Pot

One morning, we walked to Yi's office to check out the little restaurant at the corner. It is the only restaurant in the area and Yi often eats there on the way to work.

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The economy rice buffet looked rather poor.

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Goutie and shuijiao in China are thicker-skinned than the ones we get in Malaysia. I like both types. 

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Didn't notice until I posted this photo that the goutie were placed on newspapers. I just like the way my Olympus four thirds camera shoots. Pretty good eh?

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Goutie. Yum.

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Xiaolong bao. Yum too.

Yi arranged to meet us at Hai Di Lao  ('deep sea trawl') at 468 Changshou Lu, a popular steamboat chain restaurant. When we got there, people were playing board games, girls were having their hands massaged, others were having their nails done and yet others were just sitting around sipping tea while waiting for their tables. All FOC. We were served Chinese tea and slices of oranges while we waited. I should've checked out the bathrooms because Yi said the service is so amazing that the attendants will open the doors for you, make sure it's closed properly, switch the tap on for you, tear the paper for drying your hands for you...the only thing you do is ease yourself.

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 Hai Di Lao has many chain restaurants all over China and is popular with young people because the choices of steamboat ingredients are endless and the service is what I'd describe as intense. A waitress stood at our table most of the time, ever ready to serve drinks or help us cook. She wasn't overbearing though, just very friendly and well-trained and ever so polite and ready to get us anything. For such a huge restaurant, the number of staff must be astounding because there was a waitress to every table.

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The highlight of the meal, other than the service fit for an empress, was the dancing noodles. A guy in a white track suit (I'd like to know why) came to the table and starts pulling a piece of dough, stretching until it is like a long flat ribbon. He turned and twirled, never stopping and the ribbon of dough became so long I thought it would touch the floor but it didn't. Within 30 seconds, the dough was done and he tore the long ribbon into short lengths and dropped them into our pot of soup. The noodles were slippery-smooth with an el dente bite and very delicious and cost incredibly cheap, only RMB7/RM3.50/USD1.10.

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Two types of soup base, a Sichuan hot oil peppercorn soup and an herbal mushroom soup. Both were good but I prefer the herbal soup because the Sichuan hot oil soup made everything taste the same.

Hai Di Lao wasn't as cheap as it looked on the menu because with so many items, and the portions were small, we ordered quite a bit and that added up to a hefty bill. But Yi paid for dinner and it felt good to have a kid who's working, finally.

3 comments:

Michelle Chin said...

you're using four thirds too! didn't notice! all the while i thought you were using a dslr!

laubao said...

Your pictures are amazing!! And the food makes my mouth watering!
...what an original place to go!! ..I really would like to travel over there one day!
Bye!!
Laura

Anonymous said...

What does FOC mean? Free of charge? If that's the case, wow, I've never heard of a restaurant giving manicures! That's a GREAT idea!!!

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