[Shanghai] Dian Shi Zhai 点石斋小宴
Dian Shi Zhai 点石斋小宴 | Dianping
Address: 永嘉路320号(近襄阳南路) – 320 Yongjia Lu near Xiangyang Nan Lu (徐汇区 Xuhui District)
Date visited: 2013.09 for dinner
Total bill: RMB¥1,047 for 8 people (~RMB¥130 per person)
Will return: Definitely
I am no stranger to lavish meals on random Wednesdays so for my birthday this year, I had a low key dinner with a few friends at a Shanghainese restaurant. A Shanghainese meal for a Shanghai girl’s birthday was only proper.
Dian Shi Zhai 点石斋小宴 is a Shanghainese restaurant (with influences from nearby Southern China regions) located on Yongjia Lu. There is a general dining area as well as private rooms (“baofang”) available to book with minimum charge. A room that sits 8-10 people will have a minimum charge of around RMB¥1,000+, which is not difficult to fulfill even with very modest dish prices. The menu is written in both Chinese and English along with photos of signature dishes. A note on some of the English dish names: straight up what it says on the menu. I think they took some of the translations a little too literally.
Chicken in alcohol 绍兴醉鸡 (RMB¥42)
Getting right to the point with tender pieces of drunken chicken to start.
Cooked crucial with scallion shallot 宁式葱油鲫鱼 (RMB¥58)
I don’t know what a “crucial” is but the Chinese characters say it is carp. I think they meant to write “crucian” (as in crucian carp), which is a real thing. Tasty fish buried under fragrant fried scallions.
South of Yangzi River crab meat bean curd 江南蟹粉豆腐 (RMB¥98)
This signature Shanghainese dish with soft and silky tofu and a layer of thickened crab meat sauce is great over white rice.
Big shelled shrimp of crabmeat 蟹粉大虾仁 (RMB¥198)
I usually don’t like cooked shrimp, especially the big ones because the bigger they get the more fishy they taste if not fresh, but these were fresh and tender and covered with an abundance of crabmeat.
Fry spare rib with spiced salt 港式椒盐排条 (RMB¥68)
Breaded and seasoned fried pork. Cannot go wrong with this.
Stewed pork piece “dongpo rou” 宋传东坡肉 (RMB¥28 per piece, below is four orders pre-cut into two pieces)
Dongpo rou is a Zhejiang (Hangzhou, Ningbo, Shaoxing) specialty while hongshao rou is a Shanghai specialty. Dongpo rou and hongshao rou are similar so there is really no need for redundancy of both in one meal but I wanted to try both here. The entire table liked the hongshao rou more.
Cooked pork piece and eggs with special sauce “hongshao rou” 本帮红烧肉酱烩蛋 (RMB¥88)
This is what we call a Shanghainese braised pork belly. To me, the hongshao rou easily trumps the dongpo rou with a slightly thicker sauce and sweeter finish. The fat on the hongshao rou has a more defined outer layer whereas the dongpo rou fat is soft all around.
Nobody knew what was going on with this million-vegetables-thrown-into-one soupy dish that I don’t even know the name of. Moving on…
Fry rice cake 上海传统粢饭糕 (RMB¥12 for three pieces)
These can be found as a street food but Dian Shi Zhai’s extra large savory sticks of crispy rice on the outside and soft rice on the inside are extra good.
Fried noodles 路边炒面 (RMB¥35)
Chinese birthdays require eating noodles for longevity (because noodles, as opposed to rice, are long I guess). The Chinese name on the menu translates to “street side fried noodles,” which is hopefully not where they were cooked. A more common name for noodles stir fried in this style with soy sauce and vegetables is Shanghai stir fried noodles 上海炒面 and is one of my favorite noodles. Simple and delicious–my dad makes a great version,
Glutinous rice balls in fermented rice wine 酒酿圆子