Our hotpot journey in Shanghai continued with a F&B establishment opened by a movie star. Usually they are quite bad, but Lingjie Seafood has been highly recommended by many.
New Kid on an Old Block
Located in Sinan Mansion, Ling Jie Seafood Hotpot is housed in the former residence of Soong Ai-ling (one of the Soong Sisters) and Kong Xiang-xi (former banker, high KMT official).
It was founded by Zheng Kai 郑恺, a famous movie actor, but of course he is not the culinary expert behind the kitchen. Its head chef, Zhang Jiying, has been working as executive chef in world renowned hotels for more than four decades.
The decor is old Shanghai high society. You step back in time as you admire all those marble and granite masonry. The ornaments are excellent copies from that era – I don’t believe that they had tissue boxes like that in the 1920s. On top of all these, all diners are entitled to butler service as soon as they enter the premises.
Built in 1920, Sinan Mansions is today a 50,000-square-meter conservation zone with 51 garden houses located on Sinan Road and Fuxing Middle Road. Some of the famous personalities who have resided in the area include distinguished Chinese diplomat Wei Daoming and his first wife, Zheng Yuxiu. Mei Lanfang, a legendary Peking Opera artist, used to live in the house situated at No 87 Sinan Road.
There are 6 different nourishing healthy soups that are stewed for more than eight hours that can be used as the soup base, and another 3-4 seasonal soups to be paired with a selection of top grade fresh seafood, wagyu beef, Hong Kong styled meat balls and more.
We picked a seasonal soup based that came with assortment of wild collected Yunnan mushrooms.
Since the pandemic, the condiments were served as individual portions. However you can ask for as many portions as you need.
In the best restaurants in Shanghai, they always start with a platter of fruits. The fresh dates were in season and delicious.
The induction stove was embedded into the table. We were quite concerned about the table cloth on top of the cooker. But the waiter assured us that it was absolutely safe because there’s no open flame. I will not argue, but that’s just a wild assumption with no scientific fact – that it is not a fire hazard.
云南野山菌菇 Assorted Yunnan Wild Mushrooms
Before they cut up the mushrooms, the different fungi were presented to us in their original form. This was the first time I have seen a bamboo fungus in the naturally form.
Four types of wild mushrooms were served, (from left) matsutake, bamboo fungus, white boletus and chanterelles. They were all collected in the wild.
- Chanterelles 鸡油菌 – Because they’re notoriously difficult to cultivate, they are usually foraged in the wild. Golden-hued, fleshy and firm, they’re described as having an apricot-like scent.
- Matsutake Mushroom 松茸 – Matsutake mushrooms are extremely precious if wild and one of the most expensive foods in the world by weight. They take 5 to 6 years to grow and require a harsh environment. Matsutake mushrooms are highly sought after in Japan.
- Boletus mushroom 牛肚菌 – The boletus mushroom is named for its fertile flesh extremely similar to the bovine liver, and it is a rare and expensive wild edible mushroom.
- Bamboo fungus 竹笙 – It is a cryptic mushroom that is parasitic on the roots of dried bamboo. The product is featured with slightly net-like dry white snake skin, dark green cap, a snow-white cylindrical stipe, pink egg-shaped mushroom holder, and a fine white mesh-shaped skirt at the top of the stipe from the cap.
All the mushrooms were placed in a chicken stock that had been infused with some more mushrooms (dried morels and maitake). The end result was a really rich soup with lots of umami and delicious nutty flavours from the fungi.
Each mushroom had a different texture and taste, I do felt that the matsutake was wasted being boiled – I would prefer them grilled. Chanterelles were quite fruity, but my favourite remained the bamboo fungus for hotpot as they soaked up all the goodness from the soup.
手打鲜丸全家福 Assortment of handmade meat balls
There were eight flavours of handmade meat balls – tiger prawn, pork, milkfish, crab roe with milkfish, crab meat, beef with dried mandarin peel, dace and squid. Well, they did not put them in the order of the placard. So you can try to guess which is which. No price for guessing which one was the squid ball.
鲜活斑节虾 Live Tiger Prawns
I felt for the live tiger prawns that were stuck in those skewers
They were cooked in the boiling soup and then unshelled for easy eat. Great for lazy bums like us.
一品牛肉拼盘 Premium Beef Platter
Luckily for us, the waiter knew exactly how long each cut was supposed to be blanched in the boiling soup.
Among the different cut, I enjoyed the chewy gyutan (beef tongue), and melt-in-mouth texture of the M12 wagyu beef sirloin.
Other Hotpot Ingredients
You can order an assortment of ingredients to enjoy your hotpot with. Among those stood out that night was the fish noodles – noodles made of cod fish meat paste; goose intestines – really crunchy and good.
The wonderful thing about eating in these classy hotpot restaurant was like teppanyaki – there’s a chef assigned to you and making sure that the ingredients were all cooked properly. Of course it took away the enjoyment of cooking and communal atmosphere of hotpot. But if you have all these wonderful ingredient, it would be such a waste to just dump it all in the boiling soup.
焦作铁棍山药 Jiaozuo mountain yam is quite famous as an aphrodisiac. In Singapore, we refer to it as Huaishan 淮山 and the Japanese call it nagaimo 長芋. Jiaozuo is a county in Henan, and in old days, it was known as 怀庆府 Huaiqing Fu. In the old medical books of China, it was recorded the medicinal property of Huaishanyao 怀山药 as good for 肾虚遗精 “kidney deficiency and spermatorrhea”. 🙂 Well it was yummy with the XO sauce.
And to round off a wonderful dinner, Chinese dessert. Many would frown at eating tortoise jelly 龟苓膏, it is made from plastron from the turtle and other herbs. These days the plastron has become so expensive, most of these jelly are just gelatine with Chinese herbs. The classic Chinese dessert – mango pudding with sago and pomelo 杨枝甘露 – has a name that did not mention any of the ingredients. Invented in 1984 by Michelin-star Cantonese restaurant Lei Garden in Hong Kong, it has sustained its popularity up till now.
The food was excellent, the service was excellent, the Manager was a gem – he made the whole dinner really special with his commitment to details. It was not a cheap dining place, but it was worth the ¥1,000 (USD 130) per person given that Michelin restaurant these days in Shanghai would easily set you back USD 300 per person. Very popular with fans, so reservation recommened.
Lingjie Seafood Hotpot 玲姐海鲜火锅
Sinan Mansion, 537 Fuxing Zhong Lu, by Sinan Lu 中国上海市黄浦区复兴中路537号
Tel : +86 (021) 62777557
Date Visited : Jul 2021