Another restaurant opened in Raffles City Changning that has an ancient theme based on “Romance of Three Kingdoms”. However, it serves Huaiyang Cuisine.
Pipa Man served the broader field of Huaiyang cuisine, which encompasses Jiangnan cuisine and is one of the four main pillars of Chinese cuisine.
Shredded Chicken with Cold Noodles 鸡丝凉面
Twirled like silk cocoons and delicately placed on a bed of sesame and chilli sauce and then topped with shredded chicken, crumbled boiled off and shredded beets and radish. You mix the cocoon of noodles with the sauce and the condiments before eating. A delightful zaru (cold) noodles.
Pipi Clams with Preserved Bean Curd 南乳炝花蛤
With a whiff of dry ice smoke the dish was presented. As the smoke dissipated, the pipi clams came into view. If only the presentation was as good as the taste. The clams were not fresh and the bean curd covered the shortcoming.
Duck Cooked in Nine Steps with Plum Sauce 九制话梅酱鸭
This is a signature dish representative of the Huaiyang cuisine. The duck was prepared with a complicated nine step process that gave the dark and poignant appearance and a complicated, deep taste to match. The sour plum sauce mixed with the au jus was poured onto the duck prior to serving. The tenderness of the duck remained, despite the mutilation and overcooking. The sweet and sour sauce with the savoury and waxy taste of the duck were, in one word, complicated. I wasn’t expecting a sweet duck, but that’s what I got.
Three Whites from Taihu Lake Soup 太湖三白羹
Taihu Lake, one of China’s five largest, spans Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. Covering about 2,250 sq.km, the lake boasts beautiful natural landscape and abundant aquatic resources. Fish bait, shrimps from the lake and the white fish are referred to as the Three Whites from Taihu Lake. Usually they are served individually. The chef here has made them into one soup, and a delicious one for that.
Huaiyang Style Shredded Bean Curd Soup 淮扬浓汤煮干丝
A Huaiyang classic that demonstrated the knife work of the chef. The flavours were all in the stock that was used to cook the shredded bean curd. The yellow appearance was not cooking oil but chicken oil derived from boiling lots of chicken bones in the stock.
Morning Glory with Preserved Bean Curd 南乳空心菜
A simple, home-style dish that every household would cook. I usually find this in Chachaanteng. The morning glory was really fresh and green.
Sweet and Sour Fried Shrimp 犹抱琵琶虾
The plate is shaped like a Chinese lute 琵琶. The Chinese name is a play on the same sound as oil fried 油爆. It is a simple sweet and sour fried prawn.
Signature Crab Meat with Rice 金牌蟹粉捞饭
When Hong Kong had its stock bull run in the 80s, everyone made so much many that they came up with Shark’s Fin with Rice 鱼翅捞饭 to represent the abundance of wealth. The more down-to-earth version is their Signature Crab Meat with Rice, which used Jiangsu’s hairy crab meat and crab oil to make a rich and decadent sauce to mix with steamed rice. I am in carb heaven here.
Suzhou Moonlight on the Lotus Pond 吴宫荷塘月色
And for dessert, the beautiful named Suzhou Moonlight on the Lotus Pond 吴宫荷塘月色. In essence this dessert is made up of two popular desserts in one – fermented glutinous rice balls 酒酿丸子 gelatine and raisins with brown sugar syrup 葡萄干红糖白凉粉. A wonderful dessert for summer and to end the meal.
Period dramas are in full effect on TV. Restaurants are constantly seeking new décor ideas. Pipa Man have four branches in Shanghai, and each one is named with a reference to the “Romance of Three Kingdoms” 三国志
- 琵琶蛮·钟鼓馔玉 (第一百货店) – Bells and Drums heralding the Delicacies – Four big ancient looking bells hung out front of the restaurant, and stacks of pink salt blocks dominated the dimly lit space, presumably a nod to the salt trade in Yangzhou.
- 琵琶蛮·铜雀春深 (虹桥天地店) – Locked in Tower of Tongque – Copper cranes holding a bird cage adorned the place, signifying the locking up of the two beauties of Three Kingdoms in the tower.
- 琵琶蛮·咫尺姑苏 (百联又一城店) – Approaching Old Suzhou – With wooden boats on dried out rivers, the decor reminds one of the canals and waterways of the water villages round and about Gusu, the old name of Suzhou.
- 琵琶蛮·赤壁胭脂 (长宁来福士店) – Rouge on the Red Cliff – Large battle shields form the wall outside the restaurant with red lanterns as the main source of lighting in the hall to represent the burning of the Red Cliff.
While the decors differ at each location, the food remains the same. Service needed some upgrading in the Raffles City Branch, so was the tableware. Despite the amount of effort and money invested into the decor and theme of each restaurant, they have to resort to melamine faux stone tableware with paper towels prince to resemble a paper dollar. They could do with prepare china tableware.
Tel : 021-52907606
Date Visited : Dec 2020