This eatery on the second floor of Taipei Main Train Station has a really good pedigree – 紅豆食府 Red Bean Shanghai is one of the best Shanghainese restaurant in Taipei. Much is expected of Shanghai Express.
This is a bistro concept – a selection of the full menu of Red Bean Shanghai but with a little twist. I have ordered almost the same dishes as my last visit to its bigger sister. But much of Shanghai Express portions were for single diners, while the communal dishes were much small portion for the couples rushing to catch their commute.
The 獨享精選組合 appetiser sampler came with 4 single portions of classic Shanghainese and Taiwanese appetisers – 溏心蛋 stewed egg in brown sauce, 果凍肉 cured jelly pork, 麻辣口水雞 Szechuan-style spicy chicken, and 涼拌過貓 vegetable fern salad.
There are many ways to enjoy 東坡肉 braised pork belly – you can eat it with a bowl of steamed rice, you can eat it with steamed buns, but one does not eat them plain as they are very rich and sweet.
Here, they paired it with 燒餅 home-made sesame buns, a pastry coated with yummy, fragrant sesame seeds.
醃篤鮮 salted pork and bamboo shoot soup is a Shanghainese classic but usually it meant that a huge casserole was served for the whole family. Luckily for me, they served them in single portions, thank God, my prayer is answered.
Not quite the standard of the Shanghai 水晶蝦仁 sautéed crystal shrimps, the 碧綠蝦仁 sautéed shrimps with greens was simpler version using freshwater shrimps and local caixin. Make a note to skip this the next time.
But the next course, 韭菜炒鱔 sautéed eel with leek sprouts, did not fail my expectation. The earthy eel was delicately balanced with the strong aromatics of the leeks and bonded together with a sweet and satisfying sauce. You will need a bowl of rice to fully enjoy this.
And finally, the mains and what more appropriate than pot sticklers and Xiaolongbao (steamed pork dumplings). They were competent and filling, but like what princess said, they are not Dintaifeng.
Service is normal, speed of service quick, and this is still a pale comparison to the main restaurant.
Shanghai Express 紅豆小館
3-2 Beiping West Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100 中正區北平西路3號2樓
Tel : +886 2 2370 1033
Date Visited : Dec 2015
Closed in 2018, other branches are still opened.