My first Shanghainese meal in 2023 and I decided to give it to Yong Foo Elite. I used have a good time there, as it was one of the more elegant Shanghainese restaurant in the city.
- 酱糟盒 Assorted appetisers marinated in rice koji or soy sauce
- 油爆河虾 Wok-fried fresh river shrimp with soy sauce
- 蟹粉狮孑头 “Lion’s head” pork and hairy crab meatballs
- 塔菜冬笋 Sautéed Tatsoi with winter bamboo shoot
- 韭黄鱼丝春卷 Deep fried spring rolls stuffed with fish and yellow chives
- 蟹粉小笼 Steamed soup dumplings filled with pork and crab meat
- 烤士豆冰淇淋 Baked potato ice cream with milk sauce
Home to the former British Consulate for over two decades, Yong Foo Elite opened its door to the public in 2004. Yong Foo Elite is a one-Michelin starred restaurant specialised in Shanghainese cuisine.
The 1930s Spanish-style brick-wooden-structured main building is called Judetang 聚德堂, which implies benevolence, righteousness, manners, wisdom, trustworthiness in Chinese culture.
The interior is well-poised, with a modern and elegant lobby and terrace on the first floor. The second floor connected with a unique sunroom offers a sharp contrast that is exquisite and retro chic.
Decorated with silver foil walls, velvet wall fabric, natural crystal columns, Qing plaques, vases, paintings, and calligraphy, the main dining room has 80 elegant dining seats available for a memorable dining experience.
The first Executive Chef was trained under the disciple of the renowned chef, Mr Li Borong. Apart from an extensive à-la-carte menu with authentic Shanghainese dishes that have been passed down for generations, the seasonal menu at YongFoo Elite is at the heart of innovation and creativity.
酱糟盒 Assorted appetisers marinated in rice koji or soy sauce
醉鸡、醉扇贝、糟时蔬、酱油肉、酱油虾 chicken, scallop, seasonal vegetables, pork and shrimp
Pork belly was dry but flavourful, the drunken chicken still had its bones on, the shrimp stuck to its shell was inedibly chewy. Best were some ginkgo nuts, water chestnuts and lily bulb marinated in rice koji. The main fail was the scallops – very salty and drained completely of the umami of scallops.
油爆河虾 Wok-fried fresh river shrimp with soy sauce
This one was good, an awesome demonstration of the hot kitchen skills. The river shrimps were crispy and if you want to, you can chewed through the entire shrimp. Well flavoured and a good eat overall.
蟹粉狮孑头 “Lion’s head” pork and hairy crab meatballs
This dish can easily be spoiled by the chef; the proportion of fatty and lean pork, the granularity of the minced port, the amount of other ingredients in these giant meat ball. And then there’s the stock that it would be stewed in, it needs to lend some taste to the meat ball and yet performs its task as the poaching liquid.
The meatball itself was quite bland, but the resulting broth was extremely flavourful. I left the soggy bokchoy alone.
塔菜冬笋 Sautéed Tatsoi with winter bamboo shoot
The first time I tried this dish was in Anhui Provincial Guest House, which featured Wenzheng mountain bamboo shoots. Here, the same dish was presented with slightly different condiment, slightly sweeter and fragrance from Shaoxing wine.
韭黄鱼丝春卷 Deep fried spring rolls stuffed with fish and yellow chives
This was the most expensive spring rolls I have ever eaten. But they were worth every dollar I paid. The yellow croaker was deboned and mixed with yellow chives and used as filling to the spring roll. Each was expertly deep fried, crispy to the last bite.
蟹粉小笼 Steamed soup dumplings filled with pork and crab meat
It said pork and crab meat, but there was so little of the crab meat that it wasn’t evident. Neither was the dumpling filled with steaming hot soup, which is essential for xiaolongbao. The dumpling had decent texture, the skin was not doughy and was really thin, but there are many other xiaolongbao stores across the city that taste better for less than a tenth of the price.
烤士豆冰淇淋 Baked potato ice cream with milk sauce
Yongfoo Elite has recently introduced a new menu of Italian cuisine under the guidance of a second Executive Chef Chang Liu. This was a dessert that came from that menu which I got tempted to try as Chinese cuisine usually has quite boring dessert. The sweet and slight savoury potato ice cream was quite refreshing, I had not imagine the humber tuber can be made into a dessert.
I have been to this restaurant many times over the years, even before they got their first stars. It was one of my favourite Shanghainese restaurant, a place I would entertain my most important guests. When it debuted at one star in 2016, I was quite impressed; and then they got their second star in 2018, I went again and felt something was amiss but it was still good. And then in 2022, they lost one star. Fast forward to 2023, the standard was not worth the star.
And the service had deteriorated over the years. The young staff was not knowledgeable about Shanghainese food, and obviously was more interested to push their new Italian menu to me. They are not known for Italian cuisine and they should stick to Shanghainese. At the rate it is going, I am afraid it will lose its star really soon.
雍褔會 YongFoo Elite
200 Yongfu Road, Shanghai, China 200031
Tel : +86 (21) 54662727
Visited Feb 2023
Michelin Shanghai Guide 1 Star 2016-17, 2020-23, 2 Stars 2018-21