Good Eats

Golden Anchor 金錨傳菜 @ Shanghai

There are some restaurants that you will always remember – because they serve very good food and because they were there in some happy memories back in time. Golden Anchor is one of those restaurants for Shanghainese.

Golden Anchor Restaurant & Coffee is a mid-price Shanghainese restaurant that has been a local favourite for over 80 years. And they serve traditional Shanghainese cuisine, which is a branch off of Jiangzhe-Hangzhou cuisine. Here are some of the classics that we had for this business lunch.

醉河蝦 drunken river shrimps

醉河蝦 drunken river shrimps

Marinated raw seafood and produce in soy sauce and wine has been a staple part of Shanghainese cuisine. Then there was a Hep A epidemic in 1988 in Shanghai that pretty much stopped people from eating raw marinated shellfish and prawns. In recent years, with better awareness of hygiene and proper refrigeration and cold chain food delivery, it has become popular again and I started to have more confidence in eating them in Shanghai.

醉河蝦 drunken river shrimps take live river shrimps and marinate them in a brine using soy sauce, aromatics and Shaoxing wine. The process kept the crunchiness of the shrimp and elevated the sweetness and umami.

Comprador Soup 金必多浓汤

金必多魚翅浓汤 Comprador shark’s fin soup

Old Shanghainese will remember a thick soup called Comprador Soup 金必多浓汤. It came from the old days when Shanghai was one of the few places opened to foreigners for trade, and the foreigners that came to buy the Chinese good were called compradors 买办 . In Shanghainese, it’s roughly sounded like 金必多 or literally “lots of gold”. And the chefs preparing the soup for these banquets came up with a Western style thick soup with Chinese ingredients like shark’s fin, chicken and abalone boiled. Hence, the comprador soup was born.

And Golden Anchor’s version is very rich, and with each mouthful, sticky consistency tells you that the soup is full of goodness.

金牌花雕雞 Signature chicken in Chinese win

金牌花雕雞 Signature chicken in Chinese wine

Many of the dishes in Golden Anchor feature huadiao wine 花雕酒. And 金牌花雕雞 Signature chicken in Chinese wine is their piece de resistance for this particular technique. Free range chicken is used, so the result is a very yellow steamed chicken with a bit of chewiness to the meat. The chicken oil is very delicious and can be used as a condiment to steamed rice or as the stock to stir-fry vegetables.

酒釀蒸鰣魚 Steamed shad in wine lee

酒釀蒸鰣魚 Steamed shad in wine lee

酒釀蒸鰣魚 Steamed shad in wine lee is a classic way of enjoying shad. The innards of the fish are removed but the scales are left intact. Wine lee is applied on the outside and inside of the guts and then steamed to the right doneness. The result is a super fragrant and tasty fish with a strong taste of Chinese yellow wine.

I have a love-hate relationship with the shad 鲥鱼. I love shads because the flesh is tender and sweet, and if you get it in the right season, you can taste the fatty texture that is unique to fish. However, they are so filled with fine fish bones that one can easily choked on a stray bone unknowingly. The Shanghainese have a similar love-hate relationship with shads. Once upon a time, they are known as an expensive fish and the rich Shanghainese will use it as show-off course when throwing a banquet. These days they are farmed so you can eat it anytime you want.

粢飯糕 Deep fried rice cake

粢飯糕 Deep fried rice cake

The rice cake is made with a mixture of glutinous rice 糯米 and indica rice 秈米. It is then deep fried to give it a crispy crust. You eat it by dipping it with fine sugar or evaporated milk as a dessert.

You must be wondering why there’s the word coffee in its name? One the ground floor, the table settings are like coffee shop booths with little lights and burgundy table cloth. So sometime in its history, it must have doubled as a coffee house.

The decor has seen better days, and the service, well, boisterous and curd. But the food is very good and the atmosphere of the place is nostalgic. It is almost a page out of classic Shanghai gangster movies like “The Bund”. Highly recommend if you don’t mind the rundown feeling.

Golden Anchor Restaurant & Coffee 金锚传菜 新华路店
543 Xinhua Rd, Changning District, Shanghai, China
Tel : +86 21 5258 1097

Date Visited : Apr 2016

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