Yanqing’s Shanghai Kitchen
791 Bukit Timah Road #01-01
Traditional stewed meat in earthen pot with steam buns
First and foremost, I have never been to Shanghai so I don’t know how authentic Shanghainese food taste like. The common response I receive when I ask about the food from people who have been to Shanghai is, “oh it’s very oily and very salty.” Even the owner, Yangqing, agrees to this fact and has set out to dish out tasty home-styled Shanghainese food that both reminisce of her home city with a modern and healthier-reduced oil and salt approach.
Other than the husband and wife team of Wang Yanqing and Wang Li, head chef Jin Hao used to cook at Ye Shanghai, lending some weighty credibility of authenticity. The prominent taste in Shanghainese cuisine as I found out through my meal, however, is still an overtone of saltiness. Not an over powering saltiness, but a rather distinctive savoury taste that is bold and complex. This distinctive taste is achieved through the delicate balance of soy sauce and sugar, and the cooking methods such as “red cooking”, where meats are braised in a combination of soy sauce, sugar, spices and wine.
We started off with a few cold nibbles of cold drunken chicken, crispy radish and cold tofu with century eggs, which were all well executed. The most surprising of the three would be the crispy radish that might be more accurately termed as crunchy radish, was crunchy and had a good savoury feel, which is what I guess you can term as umami.
Following that, our onslaught of dishes included some house specialities such as bean curd with fresh crab meat, traditional stewed meat in earthen pot and steam buns, traditional Shanghainese fish soup with snow vegetables and bean skin and stir-fried Shanghai mustard greens. The traditional dish of stewed meat was “red-cooked”, breaking down any form of tough muscle tissue and infusing flavour into the alternating layers of sweet flesh and fat and the fish soup was milky and scented with Shao Xing wine.
And to finish off, like the Shanghainese, we had our dim sum--the ubiquitous xiao long bao of steam pork dumplings with fresh prawns and fragrant sesame pancake with meat floss--at the end of the meal.
All in all, the food is good though a little pricey and the service unfortunately is almost a disaster. The service was rather pushy about their specials, caused us to over order and left us with an assembly of dirty plates around our table.