Good Eats

Hunan Restaurant 韶山沖 @ Shanghai

Shaoshan 韶山 in Hunan Province is famous for 2 things – Mao Zedong, who was born there, and spicy Hunanese cuisine. So when a restaurant is called ShaoShanChong 韶山衝, you can imagine the association with the region’s favourite son and the fiery cuisine it offers.

Hunanese Cuisine

Hunan cuisine, also known as Xiang cuisine, consists of the cuisines of the Xiang River region, Dongting Lake and western Hunan Province in China. It is one of the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese cuisine and is well known for its hot and spicy flavours, fresh aroma and deep colours.

However it is not a very old technique like Cantonese or Sichuan, the first mention of chilli peppers in local gazettes in the province dated only to 1684, 21st year of the Kangxi Emperor.

烧辣椒皮蛋擂茄子 Smashed grilled chilli century egg and eggplant

烧辣椒皮蛋擂茄子 Smashed grilled chilli century egg and eggplant

The first appetiser, 烧辣椒皮蛋擂茄子 Smashed grilled chilli century egg and eggplant features steamed and peeled eggplant mashed up with century egg and grilled jalapeño  in a large pestle and mortar. 擂 (lēi) means “grind” or “pound”.

This is a typical Hunanese appetiser featuring their favourite ingredient, the chilli. It is spicy, in a good way, with the metallic taste of century egg and creamy texture off eggplant, we are off to a good start for the meal.

凉拌粉皮 mung bean noodles with sesame and chilli dressing

凉拌粉皮 mung bean noodles with sesame and chilli dressing

Another standard Hunanese appetiser with many variations in other cuisine, mainly in the dressing. The dressing used in Hunanese cuisine is just spicy.

香辣蛙锅仔 Spicy frog casserole

香辣蛙锅仔 Spicy frog casserole

I read so many reports about China frog supply to have parasites in them, therefore I have laid off them for quite some time. But we cannot resist the tender chicken-ice meat, beautiful.

干锅昂刺鱼 Baby catfish in spicy casserole

干锅昂刺鱼 Baby catfish in spicy casserole

Catfish is a bland fish and borrows its flavours from the ingredients that are used to cook it. So when given the Hunanese spice treatment, the fish flavour is elevated. The resulting dish was really delicious.

黄豆猪手汤 Soy bean pig trotter soup

黄豆猪手汤 Soy bean pig trotter soup

Most of the soup available commercially are laden with “ajinomoto” (our term of endearment for monosodium glutamate or MSG in short), which cause some to have that thirsty feeling. It is because MSG gives that satisfying umami taste for any dish. Their soup was made without MSG, so they claimed. It is still satisfying but without the thirsty feeling.

双色鱼头 Carp fish head with two types of chilli

双色鱼头 Carp fish head with two types of chilli

Steamed fish head with chopped chilli 剁椒鱼头 is a traditional dish in Xiangtan (where Shaoshan is), Hunan. It combines the “freshness” of the fish head and the “spiciness” of the chopped chilli to create a unique dish. The dish is bright and colour with the chilli, and the steaming method presents the fish in its most tender state and the taste of the chopped chilli to penetrate into the fish meat. Usually made from giant freshwater car head and chopped chilli, steamed with soy sauce, ginger, green onion, and garlic.

They have one of the best chopped chilli fish head in Shanghai, very authentic. You can choose to use either the red chilli and green chilli or either. Each type of chilli was subtlely different – the red’s spiciness hits you in the face. The green creeps up on you.

The service is so-so, but the food is great. The manager was jolly fellow, only if his staff where as enthusiastic.

ShaoShanChong Hunan Restaurant 韶山冲(南京西路店)
Tel : +86 21 6255 3572

Date Visited : Apr 2016

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