For one lunch in Shanghai, I was lucky to eat at Fu 1039, a restaurant specializing in Shanghai style cuisine nestled in a beautiful old mansion from the 1930s in the Hongqiao neighborhood.
The food at Fu 1039 was not only delicious but also plated beautifully.
We started with several plates of appetizers.
First was lotus root stuffed with sticky rice. I should note that Shanghai cuisine leans toward the sweet even in savory dishes. The lotus was wonderful.
We had the marinated drunken (Chinese wine) chicken topped with shaved ice and some goji berries.
Also, there was a dish of marinated wheat gluten with mushrooms and wood ear mushrooms.
A classic Shanghai appetizer was the smoked fish which had a great flavor.
Our following courses were just amazing, each better than the next.
We had sauteed fresh water shrimp, a simple dish, but good.
Next was braised pork in sweet and sour sauce. The preparation was much more subtle and delicate than the sweet and sour pork here in the US.
We then had a dish that consisted of fresh water crab meat that you poured into very fine sesame coated bread.
While the crab was yummy, we were actually more impressed by the bread (bing) in that it was so thin.
Another classic Shanghai dish was the vegetable rice. Another simple dish, but so well prepared- the vegetable being diced so fine and every grain of rice coated in flavors.
Dong Po Pork, taking its name from a Chinese poet, is another classic Shanghai dish. It is made by slow braising pork belly in soy sauce. The result is wonderful, fatty pork with a wonderful sweet and salty soy sauce that has penetrated into the meat and fat.
It was accommpanied by mini mantou (rice bread) to sop up the residual sauce.
My aunt said Fu 1039's Dong Po pork reminded her of eating it at home when she was young. It was one of the best single dishes I had on my trip to China.
Another unique course was the braised fish in Chinese vegetables. Again the vegetables were diced very fine, almost like a pesto sauce, but with very Chinese flavoring.
The sauteed sweet peas were yet another example of a great simple dish. I think they may have used pork fat in them because they were really good.
Our soup was a chicken soup with pork and sheets of bamboo.
For dessert, we had a jelly that was made with a Chinese herb I don't know the English name of.
Fu 1039 was such an amazing experience. I will make sure then next time I am in Shanghai, I will be back.
1039 Yuyuan Lu