Hi! Yesterday, a two of my mom’s good WeChat friends came to Shanghai all the way from California. Needless to say, dinner was non-negotiable. After some deliberation, we decided on Shanghai Min (小南国）at the Kerry as both women were Shanghaiese and the line 7 metro goes straight into the Kerry. How was it? Well… read on
About the Restaurant
Shanghai Min is a popular mid- high end Shanghainese chain restaurant run by Xiao Nan Guo Restaurants Holdings Limited. The company specializes in Shanghainese cuisine and is actually one of the largest restaurant groups in China. They also do some Cantonese cooking and dim sum. (click here for more information) The one at the Kerry is one of 43 locations in Shanghai- really good considering the competition and high standards. I had never been to a Shanghai Min, but my aunt- who knows pretty much all the best restaurants in Shanghai- recommended it so I was pretty excited.
The restaurant was in the Kerry center so I had pretty high expectations for the atmosphere. I was not disappointed . The restaurant had an air of elegance and I really enjoyed the decour:
It was also pretty quiet. Admittedly, I was kind of worried since quiet, elegant-looking Chinese restaurants in China usually indicates mediocre, over-priced food. However, this fear was placated after seeing the number of customers. The quiet (and lack of cigarette smoke) was very enjoyable.The only downside was that almost every table was under a running airvent, so it got a bit chilly. They did have private rooms, but those have to be booked literally months in advance
This was probably the most disappointing part of the dinner. The waiters and waitresses were friendly, but very inattentive. It took a long time to get their attention and we all felt ignored. With that said, once the orders were placed, the food came very quickly.
Finally, the important part. While the service was disappointing, the food was delicious. Our party was only 6 people so we didn’t order a whole lot, but we got some of the classics. Here were the highlights
Wild Vegetables with tofu (cold dish)- It basically blanched veggies and tofu, chopped up, chilled and mixed with some salt and sesame oil. It sounds simple, but its SOOOOO good. It has just the right seasoning and the vegetable was very fresh
Marinated duck Tongue- Duck tongue is not common in the States (or Europe) but this dish is definitely worth a try. It was well seasoned and very plump and juicy. Unfortunately for me, I only got to try 1. They pretty much flew off the plate.
Shepard’s purse and yellow croaker soup- Honestly, one of the best soups I’ve ever had. Actually, the word soup is a bit misleading. Although is is technically liquid, the “soup” has a gelatinous quality to it…. sooooo good. It was very fresh and surprisingly rich. I need that recipe!!!!!
Yangzhou style bean curd ribbons- This is probably one of the most famous dishes in the Zhejiang region. It basically blanched tofu ribbons added to stock and seasoned with crab roe and some pulled meat. It looks simple, but its actually very technical as the chefs hand cut the tofu ribbons. Technique aside, it was arguably the best dish on the table (I ate around 80% of the plate). If you don’t order anything else, order this
Longjing Shrimp- Another classic dish. Small river shrimp, peeled and cleaned and stir fried with Longjing tea leaves. The shrimp were perfectly seasoned and cooked. The addition of the tea leaves added a freshness and an entire new depth of flavor. I don’t know what they added, but the shrimp had a rich, almost creamy texture. Delicious!!!!
Overall, I really enjoyed this restaurant. The food and atmosphere was great and service, although spotty, was quick. This is definitely best for larger parties as there is just so much good food to try. I would definetly go back