This was the first meal I had when I ended my quarantine in Shanghai. The colleagues came and “wash the dust off me” with my favourite cuisine – Teochew food.
This is a newly opened Teochew eatery just below my office. It is designed like a HK chachaanteng (bistro) with a very simple but comprehensive menu featuring the Teochew braised goose.
And the goose they used are from Teochew – the famous lion-head goose.
But first, we started with a round of kung fu tea, which is pot of very strong Chinese tea, usually the Iron Goddess of Mercy 铁观音.
This is the piece de resistance of the restaurant.
First up, the different parts of the goose. The entire goose can be braised and served, and each will present a different texture and favour profile, even when the entire goose was braised in the same liquid. The gizzard is crunchy, the liver creamy and melts in the mouth, the eggs firm and full of yolk, and the blood pudding savoury and soft. Every part is a delicacy on its own.
While the goose body can be shared among many, there’s only one goose head and therefore the most prized items if you are a connoisseur of braised goose. Everything except the beak can be eaten, and they are displayed subtle variations of flavours. The little bits of brains, the crunchy tongue, to the deeply flavourful neck, nothing is wasted.
And now the most “boring” part of the goose – the breast meat. This is the meatiest part of the goose and if done correctly, a very tender and moist piece of meat. And unlike duck breast, goose breast is not dry and not gamey.
While this is not goose part, tofu is often braised together in the braising liquid. The porous texture of tofu will suck in all the deliciousness of the liquid.
The place is not only about goose, there are many other choices available if poultry is not your fancy.
Mutton casserole in red sauce
The mutton casserole in red sauce is perfect for cold seasons like autumn. Mutton is considered the best meat, much better than chicken or beef. Mutton is mild (neither yin or yang), and has a higher level of goodness with less fat. Many could not stand the unique mutton gamey taste, but it is exactly that taste that attracted me to mutton. Here it is stewed in a red sauce (flavoured with fermented tofu) and the parts used are brisket and tendons, the best parts for stewing The fork tender brisket and soft tendons are just heavenly with rice.
Pan fried yellow croaker
The yellow croaker is pan fried to a crisp. Usually this is done with a more local fish like mackerel or silver pomfret, but they have done a great job with Shanghai’s favourite fish.
Deep fried Puning tofu
Puning 普宁 is a district in Chaozhou province that is famous for a great source of spring water. And with excellent water comes excellent tofu. And Puning is famous for that soft tofu. But it is totally transformed when you deep fry them and served with vinegar and chives dips. Because of the high water content of their tofu, the deep frying quickly dehydrates the tofu, leaving behind a beehive like center that would soak up any dips.
Venus clams in soy sauce and chilli
The original flavours call for cockles instead of clams, and the cockles are marinated raw in the soy sauce, garlic and chilli. Because of a really bad case of Hep A in Shanghai, raw cockles have been banned in Shanghai. So the Teochew special is replaced with blanched venus clams, and it isn’t the same. In my opinion, this is one dish to skip.
All Teochew kids grew up eating two things – porridge and seafood. And this dish combines the two. Their version seemed more Cantonese than Teochew, but only purists like me would complain.
Water spinach with fermented bean curd
The only vegetable of the dinner, it is again a Cantonese dish, rather than Teochew.
Teochew beef balls
It has a more interesting Chinese name – bursting beef balls 爆浆牛肉丸 – made famous by Stephen Chow’s classic comedy The God of Culinary. I never thought of this as Teochew, but it turned out during my homecoming trip to Chaozhou, it was sold everywhere.
Chaozhou is blessed with plenty of seafood and a thriving oyster farming industry. Unlike Western oysters, these oysters are not usually eaten raw as the water around Chaozhou is not cold enough. But they are still great eats in omelettes and grilled.
Each one is as large as a French belon, which is quite rare for warm water oysters. And they are really sweet.
There are still some teething problems with tempo and pace of coming out with the dishes. They are also not used to large groups. As this is a new restaurant, all these are quickly forgiven as the food is as authentic as you can get in Shanghai. Great for small groups and a quick meal.
Chao Jie 潮界(长宁来福士店)
Raffles City Changning Shanghai
Tel : 021-52377257
Date Visited : Nov 2020