Although I've been to Shanghai Wonderful many times for lunch, this was my first visit for dinner. Their lunchtime service features lots of Shanghainese dim sum dishes but dinner is a whole different ball game.
I know what you are thinking, are those rice krispies squares?? In short, they are probably the original rice crispy squares, made without marshmallows. It's chunks of crispy rice served with a thick soup on the side. You're supposed to pour the soup over the rice and listen to the Snap, Crackle, Pop, Asian style. The rice softens and soaks up all the soupy goodness. It's really fun and you can do it to the whole bowl, or grab a few chunks and do it in your own bowl.
No visit to a Shanghainese restaurant is complete without Xiao Loong Baos (XLBs), soup filled pork dumplings. All you do is dip it in a little vinegar and bite off a little bit so you can suck up all the soupy goodness first. Or if you are patient, you can wait until they cool off a bit and pop the whole thing in your mouth.
We needed one additional carb dish and settled in the Shanghai Style Fried Rice Cakes. These are oval shaped "noodles" and mixed with cabbage or other greens as well as some shredded pork. Great flavour and I really do like the texture of these cakes, chewy and almost impossible to overcook.
In addition to the mandatory XLBs (for both lunch and dinner) my other must-have is the Peking Duck. It's a whole BBQ duck served two ways. They skin the duck and serve it as a taco filler. The key to BBQ duck is to slice the skin off without taking too much of the meat. Several of my slices were overly meaty, but the crispiness of the skin did help to mitigate that.
Okay, they are not really taco skins, more like quesadilla skins...steamed and piping hot, you spread this open on your plate, and then add some condiments to this.
What sort of condiments? Mostly cucumber and green onions, and a splash of hoisin sauce. People say this is like Chinese BBQ sauce, but it's richer and slightly sweeter than BBQ sauce.
Remember how I said this was served two ways, right? So the second one is the the rest of the duck meat, shredded up with a blend of fried vermicelli, celery, carrots and green onions. I really liked how the duck meat was cubes, so you can really taste the meat. Most places shred the duck so finely that you can't even tell what protein you're eating. Definitely no filler here.
Instead of using the same flour wraps, the duck meat are placed in leaves of lettuce. The crunch of the lettuce pairs well with the meatiness of the dish. Be sure to add some of the hoisin sauce as well.
Last but not least, we ordered another dish off the Dim Sum menu, the Fried Dumplings. These were a little disappointing, both in the lack of flavour and the bland appearance. I could have skipped this and wouldn't have missed a thing.
Our dinner at a glance. I'd recommend the Peking Duck and the Shanghainese Rice Cakes for sure.