Friday, September 11, 2009

Shanghai Chubou, Kanda (上海厨房)

Well, if I'm going to have Tonkatsu Tuesdays, should I also implement Cheap Chinese Fridays? Because that's what I got here. It was sorta soothing, it wasn't bad, and it was really cheap. I'm totally guessing on the name

Work plus an inconveniently-scheduled meeting meant that I didn't get out for lunch until after 2. Fortunately there are plenty of places that are still open, and in fact the one that I had in mind was one of them (3 PM). The staff were sitting around playing cards, which was cute and funny and made me apologize for disturbing them.

There are about 10 lunch sets, and you could rattle off most of them from memory even if you hadn't been there. Mapo tofu/eggplant/noodles (the last being a little unusual), vinegar pork, fried rice, fried noodles, noodle soup, jajamen (also a little odd in a Shanghai place). I had the vinegar pork. While momentarily exciting during the cooking phase when a strong vinegar smell filled the dining room and I thought I was going to get something strong, it turned out to be a bit gloppy and, well, American. Very fatty pork too.  Rice was gloppy, soup was very thick, pickles were a little gross. I wonder if Shanghai food is more viscous than other places, and I've just realized in typing this that I was sort of expecting Szechuan food even though I knew it was a Shanghai place. Oops.

On TV one time I saw a famous chef demonstrating how to make perfect vinegar pork. The crucial thing is the texture of the pork bits. The ones I ate today were just hacked up pork nuggets, but here's the real way to do it: start with strips of pork. Yes, to get satisfyingly-textured balls, start with strips. Like shabu-shabu pork, thinner than bacon. Then roll them irregularly, but not randomly. He had a whole technique of roll a little, quarter-turn, roll a little that produced a ball that was at once chewy and meaty yet somewhat airy (it seemed, on TV). Then flour it, batter it, fry it.

And that's the digression of the day. This place has really nice pictures on their menu, but the food is just decent value for the Y5-600.

Really nice gurunabi site... I guess this is the upstairs room.

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