I was really excited about eating authentic Chinese food. However, I had been warned about lack of vegetarian dishes. It was hard. Most menus don’t make any sense as names of dishes are translated directly from dictionaries so you often come across things like Barbecue Speculation, Third Time Explosion or Buddha Jumped Over Great Wall Soup, whatever they can be!
I’ve tried dishes I’ve never heard of before, one of them was Mongolian hotpot (like the Japanese Nabe). You are presented with all kinds of bits and pieces like cabbage, fish balls, mushrooms and cook it in boiling stock. It was very very tasty and a healthy option too. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photograph of it as my husband was being force fed by an over-friendly waitress while I was left with some scraps.
I love street food and Beijing has lots of it – buns and pancakes with cabbage and garlic filling, sweet buns with coconut and caramelized onions (it does work). I did draw the line at fried silkworms and locusts.
I’ve discovered a brilliant dim sum canteen called May 1st in Xi’an – super cheap, tasty buns and dumplings, with lashings of MSG.
After a 20h train ride, arriving in Shanghai, I really craved European food. The first stop was M on the Bund – a flash restaurant with one of the best views of the waterfront – the Bund. We started our evening with cocktails at the Glamour Bar, one floor up from the restaurant, moving to M for a tasty feast of spring risotto and salt baked lamb for my other half, washed down with good Riesling. M has got a big balcony overlooking the Pudong district and the view is truly magical. The evening was perfect.
The best restaurants and bars in Shanghai are in exclusive shopping areas on the Bund. We visited Landis, Whampoa Club at Three on the Bund and Bar Rouge at Eighteen on the Bund.
Landis has fabulous European food, we went there for brunch. I had poached eggs with truffles followed by a fruit plate and my husband had the prefect omelette followed by cinnamon doughnuts with fresh chocolate, very naughty.
Whampoa Club serves modern and sophisticated Chinese food and I was very happy with the vegetarian lunch which had the prettiest dumplings.
One of the best teas I ever had – fresh camomile flowers and goji berries. Gillian McKeith would approve :-)