Shanghai-style lo mein at Chinatown’s Shanghai Asian Cuisine
This week Counter Culture sails into Shanghai Asian Cuisine, a comparative newcomer to Elizabeth Street in the most ancient part of Chinatown, next to the alley called Chinatown Mall. Here are the five dishes that my friends and I enjoyed the most.
5. Shanghai Style Lo Mein — The residents of Shanghai like their wheat noodles plump and their soy sauce thick, as evidenced by this heap of delicious pasta, here shown with the “pork” option (you can also get the same noodles with chicken, beef, shrimp, mixed seafood, and mixed meat and seafood).
4. Choice of Three Cold Dishes — The buffet of cold dishes indigenous to Shanghai cuisine is said to show a Russian influence. Starting at the top and running clockwise are: mock duck made from bean curd skin and mushroooms, “Szechuan” cabbage, and shredded jellyfish, which tastes like sweet vinegary noodles.
3. Noodles With Meat Sauce (Cha Chiang Mein) — This northern Chinese standard (also eaten in Korea) is lavishly topped with ground meat in a fermented bean sauce, so rich you’ll probably never make it to the bottom of the bowl.
2. Sweet Red Bean Pancakes — Flaky pastry enfolds the slightly sweet red-bean paste, which oozes at the edges. These pancakes seem more Malaysian than Shanghaianese, but make the perfect end of a meal at Shanghai Asian Cuisine.
Next: Number one, and some pictures of the restaurant
1. Steamed Tiny Buns With Crab Meat and Pork — Eight to an order, these are the celebrated soup dumplings of Shanghai, here rendered in Chinatown’s best evocation. There’s plenty of crab on top and in the pork filling, and you should dip them in the black vinegar provided. Be careful not to break the membrane! Read the full review for how to eat them.
A shot of the interior of Shanghai Asian Cuisine
And here’s the exterior, with the entrance to Chinatown Mall at the left
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 7, 2011