Shanghai Uncle Restaurant

Dec 19th, 2006, 11:05 PM
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Shanghai Uncle Restaurant

Has anyone eaten at this restaurant in Shanghai? It gets very good reviews but I would like to hear from Fodorites that have been there.
Paulchili is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 09:30 AM
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Do you have the address, please? My sis doesn't know the english name but might have ate there.
Shanghainese is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 09:42 AM
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Here is one of their addresses; there appear to be two other locations, though:

211 Tianyaoquiao Lu, by Nandan Lu. (metro: Xujahui).
TimeOut guide says the owner is the son of a New York Times food critic.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 09:50 AM
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Shànghai Uncle - Chinese name is apparently "Haishàng Ashu" Hsishang is Shanghai reversed (maybe some mistake where the info comes from), while Ashu means "uncle"

There are 3 outlets.
Address: Yán'an Dong Lù 222 Wàitan Zhongxin (Bund Center), Basement (between Hénán Zhong Lù and Jiangxi Zhong l&ugrave, Huangpu District (Downtown Shanghai)

Opened by "Uncle" Li Zhonghéng, gourmet, restaurant-owner (11 outlets) from Hong Kong, and son of a New York Times food critic.
Johnmango is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 02:50 PM
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Johnmango - thank you for filling in the address; that is the one I mean.
Also, Shanghainese, is Whampoa Club really that bad? I know it is overpriced, but considering its location and the great views of the Bund I thought I might try it for lunch. The chef has great credentials and all the food critics like it a lot. Do you know anyone local who has eaten there?
Paulchili is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 03:10 PM
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Here is a copy of my recent post on restaurants--as you can see neither Whampoa Club or Shanghai Uncle were favorites.

We were in Shanghai for 10 nights last May. Chinese food had always been at the bottom of our restaurant choices-just too gloopy for us and we've tried in many places--Hong Kong, KL, Penang, Burma, Borneo. However, we were determined to do all Chinese.

Our favorite was South Beauty. This is a chain of about 19 in Shanghai, Chengdu, & Beijing, and they've recently opened in Hong Kong. We went to two: South Beauty 881, 881 Yan An Zhong Lu, in the French Concession, and South Beauty, Super Brand Mall in Pudong. Both had different menus and completely different decor--elegant, clean lines. This is the new breed of Chinese restaurants--no phoenix or dragons here. See their web site A Singapore food blogger describes them correctly as "Chinois Chic". The food is Sichuan and Cantonese. At SB 881, everything but one (a bad choice) was delicious. We had Tea Smoked Duck, Pulled Noodles, Fish burried in Chiles, a Cucumber dish, Shredded Pork, Pumpkin, and the unloved Bullfrog in soup, Mango Pudding, a Martini, a Beer, Tea for 428 RMB. At the Super Brand Mall, we had a table by the huge windows facing the Bund, but for those tables there is a 300 RMB per person minimum. We went for the shellfish, at 230 each--a prawn dish & a crab dish and ordered the rest--a platter of 4 dishes (tapas like), broccoli w/garlic ( had to be 3 bunches--our first green veggie in 2 weeks)--a plate of Chinese Yams (white & crunchy), some cold spicy pork shreds, without looking at the prices. Our waiter told us we had ordered enough! Also had a lemony ice cream, tea, white Belgian Beer, Brown Manchester Ale, a pineapple yogurt drink, and a watermelon juice. Astonishingly, the bill came to 610 + 10%--only 10 above the minimum. This was a fabulous feast.

The Two other contenders for 1st place, both in the French Concession were:

Guyi Hunan, 87 Fumin Lu (we went 2 times). They don't take reservations, and although there were long lines, our concierge had called and both times we were given the first available table. small, clean, unasuming, extremely lively. We had: beer, tea, cold pumpkin, cold spicy cucumbers, shrimp on skewers (heavenly), spicy beef ribs (heavenly), fish hot pot--187 RMB Second time: shrimp on skewers, chicken (with bones) hot pot (fish was better), pork belly, sweet tomato slices, lilly bulb, glutinous balls w/sesame--171 RMB

Di Shui Dong, 5 Dong Ping Lu at Hengshan Lu---Hunan food and was the spiciest so far. We had: Pork belly over spicy veggies, stuffed salted eggplant fritters, pumpkin w/osmanthis & dates & little red fruit, a duck dish in a brown sauce w/2 little duck heads on top, tea---140 RMB

Highly recommend Crystal Jade (a Singapore based rest.)in Xintiandi for either dinner or dim sum at lunch. Actually don't miss dim sum! We were there 3 times. Also for dim sum in Xintiandi, but a more limited choice Ding Tai Fung ( Taiwan based rest). Try the soup dumplings in both.

Others we tried and found disappointing for various reasons:

Shanghai Uncle at Bund Center, Whampoa Club on the Bund, Xin Jishi and T8 in Xintiandi

We were not in Beijing, but if I were going I would head immediately to one of the South Beautys.

twofortheroad is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 03:23 PM
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twofortheroad - thanks for the info - very helpful; South Beauty is already on my list. What exactly did you not like about Whampoa Club?
Paulchili is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 04:45 PM
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Paulchili: Sorry, I know the chinese names of restaurants but have difficulty connecting them to their english translation.

Locals-frequented restaurants are another story, you won't be able to find them unless with a local or an expat. Remember locals do not like spiced foods, don't eat raw foods, and love bony foodstuff. Neither do they drink cocktails. My fav is anything fresh water -- fish, shrimp, hairy crab and shell fish.

Johnmango: Shanghai means "above the sea", Haishan means "on the sea". Perhaps they did do a reverse in the translation.
Shanghainese is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 09:57 PM
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Below is the web site for the tasting menu we had:

The appetizer, I have no recollection

We should have asked for a substitution for the shark's fin, but I thought maybe an excellent chef can make this taste good rather than like a gelatinous glob of mucus--but no such luck. It was in a custard which is not mentioned in the description--a good antidote.

Black cod is delicious always but this was set atop of 2 jellies that melted together into a sauce that obscured the cod

I have no recollection of the chicken

The rice cake turned out to be a refined edition of mu shu pork. This was the 2nd time we got suckered into this. At Xin Ji Shi--twice baked pork w/cake was an unrefined version with the overly sweet plum sauce blended in with the pork. Of the 2, Whampoas was better, but I would have rather done without either

The desert was really BAD--It stuck in my mouth like lockjaw & tasted vile

The menu descriptions didn't really match what we were served. Everything looked much better than it tasted. It was not a memorable meal and we had been looking forward to it with great expectations.

The walkway into the restaurant is lovely and you are greeted by a very chic Shanghai lovely and turned over to a server who was poorly trained. My husband eats faster than I, and his plate was whisked off after every course. Removing the plates when everyone is finished is so standard in any restaurant training, that we were astonished. Private rooms are in every restaurant--and there was a large party going on with lots of balloons & lots of children. We knew this because halfway through our meal, about 8 of the children with their balloons started running around the restaurant and no one stopped them. There did not seem to be anyone in charge. The total ambience was not good.
twofortheroad is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 10:10 PM
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twofortheroad - I really appreciate your reply & the pictures. I love chinese food too much to go for this "nouvelle" stuff ( especially at those prices).I don't mind spending the money but these dishes look and sound too "nouvelle and fusion" to me. I think I'll stick to the more traditional chinese food and have a drink at the bar at the New Heights if I want to go there for the views of the Bund.
Paulchili is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 10:50 AM
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For a fabulous view of the Bund, go to the Shangrila, (new building) in Pudong-to the bar of Jade on 36. It is a gorgeous jewelbox designed by Adam Tihany. Instead of the overcrowded Hyatt, you will have a wonderful view sunk into comfy armchairs smack in front of huge windows. When we went there were only 6 people. There is an australian manager who has chosen excellent wines by the glass w/designer nibbles to go with. The night we went to South Beauty in the Superbrand, we went here first. Actually, I think for high priced chinese, the restaurant, Jade, would have been a better choice than Whampoa.

I believe you are staying near the subway on Nanjing. We used this twice, both times to go to Pudong. I also think you are equally positioned to use the subway at People's Square. Although taxis are inexpensive, your location seems great because you wont have to change lines to get to the French Concession at Peoples Square.

twofortheroad is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 06:04 PM
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What about that Chinese restaurant that's in the Peace hotel? It's on the Bund (the opposite end from Whampoa Club) and has a nice view of Pudong. No balcony. Good food, but it's a chinese (not western) dining experience. By that I mean bright lights, big tables with lazy susan, louder than a western restaurant, etc. I ate there and enjoyed my chinese meal. I can't imagine it was very expensive either. unfortunately I can't recall the restaurant name but there can't be too many in the Peace hotel. 3rd floor or so, I think.

I always recommend the western restaurant, Laris (3 on the Bund), which is upscale and has good western food. Like most others, they have a lunch menu. Bar Rouge (a bar at 18 on the Bund, I'm pretty sure) has a great/huge balcony and is a nice place to go for a night out.

For great eastern food... I think it's Hong Kong style, try my favorite, Heng Shan Restaurant at Heng Shan Lu/Gao An Lu. It's in the French Concession near the Heng Shan Lu bar area. 1221 is a chinese restaurant popular with tourists. Good food, but a decent number of foreigners there. We take visitors to both of these places because we're sure they won't get food poisoning.
nagiffag is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 06:16 PM
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Paul sorry, I just caught my error, the chinese restaurant With a view of the Bund in the Shangri La is Gui Hua Lou--Sichuan, Shanghai & cantonese. It has won awards. Jade is nouvel.

# Marinated River Shrimps
# Sliced Marinated Lamb served with Sesame Chili Sauce
# Shredded Chicken & Bamboo Shoot with Sesame Chili Sauce
# Thin Sliced Pork with Spicy Garlic Sauce Barbecued & Marinated
# Roasted Goose served with Plum Sauce
# Barbecued Meat Combination Platter
# Assorted Marinated Meat Platter with Bean Curd & Egg
# Roasted Suckling Pig Barbecued Meat Platter Soups
# Boiled Mince Meat Ball with Crab Meat & Roe
# Hot and Sour Seafood Soup
# Braised crab Meat & Sweet Corn with Enoki Mushroom
# Poached Mandarin Fish Fillet in Hot Chili Oil
# Baked Prawn, Minced Beef & Glass Noodle, Spicy Sichuan
# Stewed Eggplant with Fish Cake
# Wok-Fried Scallop, Black Pepper & Mustard Paste
# Braised Chicken Filled with Minced Pork in Oyster Sauce
# Wok-Fried Diced Chicken with Peanuts & Chili Pepper
# Braised Goose Fillet, Bamboo Shoot, Picked Ginger & Chili Pork Beef Lamb
# Surf & Turf Mandarin Fish with Lamb Leg
# Wok-Fried Sliced Pork, Bamboo Shoot, Chili, Black Bean Sauce
# Stewed Ox Tendon with Pork & Pickled Chili
# Braised Beef Tenderloin, Bamboo Shoot, Bean Sprout, Chili Oil
# Braised Pork Spare Ribs, Soya Sauce, & Spice Vegetables
# Steamed Winter Melon Stuffed with Ham & Conpoy
# Wok-Fried Potato Cake
# Wok-Fried String Bean
# Wok-Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish

twofortheroad is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 07:35 PM
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twofortheroad & nagiffag,
Thanks for your suggestions. I just got back from a little Christmas getaway. I will use your ideas and report back about my dining/ accommodation experiences in Shanghai when I return in April.
Paulchili is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 12:50 AM
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Today we went for lunch to Shanghai Uncle restaurant in the Bund Center (the building with what looks like a crown on top that's connected to Westin Hotel). Enter from the side of Bund Center and go down two escalators to a pretty large restaurant with an invisible line between smoking and non-smoking. Nobody spoke english to us even when spoken to, but you'd think they'd have english-speaking staff what with being close to Westin.

We agree that it's not that great and probably won't be back unless my husband insists on having the cabbage roll he was eyeing at the next table.

We had the following for 231RMB which is about US$30.(Remember that people don't usually tip in Shanghai. We don't unless it's already included in the bill.)
- Veal with garlic: Very good. Had yummy crunchy garlic chips in it, but unfortunately not so much meat.
- Sweet & sour pork: A mistake. Thick sauce, miniscule meat pieces. I've had much better in Shanghai. Didn't eat much.
- Vegetables with lily (or some kind of flower that IMO has the texture of potato): Not much taste to the dish. Didn't eat much.
- "Shanghai steamed dumplings": I love them typically but these weren't made very well. Too much dough used on the closure at top yet the bottom was so thin it split and the soup streamed back into the serving dish when I picked it up. Even "soupless" we did eat them all!
- egg tarts. Yummy!
- 3 diet Coke's. Although english menu listed three rows of Pepsi at the same price without explaining why there were three Pepsi's listed. (We ordered in Mandarin since our server didn't speak English, but you can easily point to the picture or english description of what you want.)

We were surprised not to like it that much because Zagat's survey of Shanghai Restaurants from 2004 said:
"'Uncle sure knows how to cook' say fans of this trio that puts a 'new style' 'twist' on Shanghainese food; the big Bund Center site earns praise for its 'beautiful' decor mixing 'traditional and modern' touches (including glass-partitioned private balconies), but opinions differ on the cost ('a bit overpriced' vs. 'fair for what you get') and an unconvinced minority finds them 'overrated.'"

If you want Shanghainese food, Zagat's recommended:
1. Yuan Yuan. A chain that, IMO, is pretty good and cost is low.)
2. Club Jin Mao. Food is good, but expensive. Being in JinMao tower, it has a good view of the Bund over the HuangPu River.
3. Bao Luo
4. Whampoa Club
5. Xin Jishi

Here's a link to ShanghaiExpat where favorite restaurants are discussed:
nagiffag is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 05:28 AM
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Thanks for posting that link to the expat forum; I saved it for my trip in March. You are all very helpful.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 01:56 PM
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Thanks for the report on Shanghai Uncle. I suppose it is not surprising about restaurants that some love it - others do not. That is true even here at home. People have different tastes. Sometimes you are in a great restaurant and order the "wrong" dish, etc. It is best to test for yourself if one has the time. For example, I get VERY mixed opinions on Whampoa Club from my reading. I won't know for sure until I try it. The advantage at home is you have a favorite local food "guru" who's tastes you know and you can judge his/her reviews better than those of "strangers". The problem isn't money as much as time - you want to make the most of it if your time is limited and not "waste" it on so-so food.
Paulchili is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 10:26 PM
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nagiffag--is this the lilly bulb dish you had

We didn't care for this either--found it woody. I was reluctant to write about our very weird experience at Shanghai Uncle. I must ask you if it was crowded at lunch time. We were there on a Saturday night at 8:00 and it had about 20% occupancy in that huge cavernous gloomy room. This did not instill confidence. Since it is in the business/financial area, we hoped that they must do better at lunch. We ordered 4 things, the lilly bulb, a cold fish dish, crispy eel, (none of these were outstanding), & a pricey whole roast duck, which we waited an hour for. There is someone who can speak english there. He came to our table at 9:00 to tell us that our duck had been canceled. Apparantly the chef had left long ago. At 9:00, we were the only people in the restaurant.
twofortheroad is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 11:56 AM
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I think this finally gets Shanghai Uncle off my list ( incidentally, we were going to have dinner there on Saturday evening).
Paulchili is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 11:52 AM
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Those lily bulbs (baihe) can be bitter too, I've had them in soupy desserts, i.e. red bean or red dates, rumored good for improving eye sight.
Shanghainese is offline  

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