vickygoestravelling

my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations

in which we eat lots of different food in Shanghai & I get food poisoning!

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Jess with Andrea at table no 1 by Jason Atherton

Jess with Andrea at table no 1 by Jason Atherton

Double cooked belly prok (centre), rice balls in date skins (behind), deep fried dick legs (eft); clay pot aubergine (right)

Double cooked belly pork (centre), rice balls in date skins (behind), deep fried duck legs (eft); clay pot aubergine (right)

Crispy friend fish with spring onions, and delicious black mushrooms, withe garlic/rice vinegar cucumber

Crispy friend fish with spring onions, and delicious black mushrooms, withe garlic/rice vinegar cucumber

We came, we saw, we ate! Thanks to  our gourmet guide Jess we managed ot sample many different cuisines; but strangely enough the first meal we had, which was also the cheapest, was the best. Jian’guo 328 is owned and managed by a Taiwanese lady but serves real Shanghai food. It’s tiny and basic, with Formica tables and closes by 9.30. We had beer but I was surprised to see a couple drinking Chablis on ice!

prawns and mixed veg

prawns and mixed veg

lotus root and cucumber

lotus root and cucumber

The following night, we decided to try Sichuan, so off to the Sichuan Citizen in the French concession, a rustic bistro, quite trendy serving cocktails and wine  – we had a bottle of decent Santa Rita sauvignon for the record. As Jess is allergic to meat we stayed fishy – sampling red hot chilli prawns (in their shells so a bit crunchy), a whole tilapia in Sichuan sauce (a bit gloopy sadly); ma po bean curd in Sichuan peppercorns – to die for, mouth numbing hot as it’s meant to be; and some vegetables – plus soused cucumber with garlic & chilli (again – a great favourite this), pickled lotus roots and more greens.

stuffed lotus roots (left); pomegranate flowers (right) galette (top)

stuffed lotus roots (left); pomegranate flowers (right) galette (top)

grilled goats cheese; mint salad

grilled goats cheese; mint salad

The next night Ross was working late so Jess and I had a girls night – braving the dangerous-sounding Southern Barbarian, famed for its Yunnanese delicacies and wide varietes of Czech and Belgian beers! We stuck to Tsing Tao. Here we feasted on more lotus roots, this time stuffed with a little Chinese bacon as it turned out (sorry Jess!);  stir-fried pomegranate flowers in a sour/sweet sauce, with spring onions, totally scrumptious; grandma’s potato galette – quite ordinary, just crispy potatoes; and the house speciality, grilled goats cheese, with a delicate little mint salad in rice wine vinegar, sugar and garlic. One to make at home….

seared tuna

seared tuna

succulent scallops - but was it one of these that poisoned me?

succulent scallops – but was it one of these that poisoned me?

Then we gave Jess a night off and went to drink cocktails on the Bund with Ross’s colleagues, at the Glamour Bar, followed by El Willy’s, a taps bar (their choice). The air con wasn’t working properly so it was hard to enjoy the food with sweat trickling down one’s neck. Some was good – the seared tuna and scallops, plus the marinated fish, but there were a couple of horrors including glutinous patatas bravas and calamari coated in a greasy, thick batter. And to crown it all, it was after this meal that I fell very sick indeed…I will say no more other than sight-seeing with clenched buttocks is no joke! But – and I cant resist saying this – Chinese loos are very clean…

roast turbot at Table no !

roast turbot at Table no 1

The big night out was to be at Jason Atherton’s (Maze fame)Table number 1, set in a renovated factory in the up-and-coming area by the  Cool Docks. People who live in the east always need a change of palate, so we were delighted to go West for this treat. I was, however, put off by having to share a refectory type table with other diners (a very ugly couple who ate noisily and were on their mains before we even got our starters); and disappointed that the waiters had no ideas on provenance of the food I was interested in ordering (was still feeling distinctly queasy at this stage so purity of ingredients rather critical!). Answer came there none, which is always a bad sign. Thankfully, Jess and Andrea loved their main courses, roasted turbot, while Ross and I were slightly disappointed – he with his rack of lamb and me with my sole (still don’t know where it hailed from, but it was on the dry side and possibly FROZEN!). The starters were delicious – tuna carpaccio and scallop ceviche, and the deserts unctuous, with accompanying sauces in little teapots. But if you read this Mr Atherton, I do strongly advise you to pay attention to your brand if you intend to franchise it out. Reputation management and all that…

Smiling lady getting ready to serve food at lunch time (didn't look too appetising!)

Smiling lady getting ready to serve food at lunch time (didn’t look too appetising!)

THis is the lunch she was about to serve

This is the lunch she was about to serve

No trip to China is complete without meandering round looking at street food. On my various wanders round the Old Town back streets, I came across some wonderful looking food, and some great characters….

ready meals waiting for buyers....

ready meals waiting for buyers….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also discovered that there is a market for ‘ready meals’ – better than Sainsbury’s any day. Eat your heart out M&S!

delicious -looking dumplings in the back streets...

delicious -looking dumplings in the back streets…

 

 

 

 

Dumplings are all steaming away, ready for buyers…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or you can buy a yummy stir fry…stock up on some dried fish, or go shopping in a smart store and get sea slugs, hundreds of varieties of mushrooms and all sorts of sickly-looking sweets (the Chinese have a very sweet tooth). And you can round it all off with a slice of cake! Not for me…

Stir fry anyone?

Stir fry anyone?

sea slugs anyone? hideously expensive, must be a great delicacy

sea slugs anyone? hideously expensive, must be a great delicacy

mushrooms galore

mushrooms galore

Sickly-looking cake

Sickly-looking cake

Bon appétit!

Author: vickyunwin

I am a writer and traveller. Our darling daughter Louise died on 2 March 2011, aged 21 (www.louisecattell.com) and I started writing as therapy. We never know how long we have on this earth, so I live for every day...in November 2013 I was diagnosed and operated on for a malignant soft tissue sarcoma in the calf, followed by 6.5 weeks of radiotherapy, so am embarking on a different kind of journey which you can follow here. I also have another site www.healthylivingwithcancer.co with my blueprint for health and well-being. My husband works in Switzerland so we flit from place to place anywhere else that takes our fancy

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