Last night, at the ITC Grand Centrals Shanghai Club Express, I had a most interesting dinner; such a wide spectrum of tastes and flavours, colours, shapes and combinations of ingredients, textures, all culminating in the famous Shanghai cookery at the hands of chef Jia and Chef Sameer.
The ITC Grand, Lower Parel, will continue to have the Shanghai cuisine at its Far East restaurant the Shanghai club Express from 25 April to 4th of May.
The Shanghai Club Express at the ITC Grand, Lower Parel, has traveled through the Szechuan, Hunan and Canton Provinces and arrived at last at the Province of Shanghai.
The next 10 days, the ITC Grand has Shanghai Cuisine as its main menu. Buy your ticket for Rs. 2000 or Rs. 1500 and enjoy a four/five course meal as per your purchase. Rs. 2000 + Taxes per person avails a First Class meal with five courses—starters are added on to The ‘Superior’ menu (Rs. 1500)— 4 vegetarian, 4 non-vegetarian. (Menu at bottom of page).
Despite being a confirmed non-vegetarian, my two favourites that emerged were the Crispy mix vegetables in Chili Honey Sauce and the complex flavours and fresh colours of Vegetable fried rice with Basil in Chef Jia’s style.
West Lake Sea Food Soup
Shanghai, the Paris of the Orient, is the commercial capital of China; its port is a major Maritime and an Administrative base. With the increase of sea trade in the nineteenth century, Shanghai grew steadily in its size and economics to reach its present day skyline.
Alongside, its migrant community grew too, amalgamating and adapting its own cuisines with the original Shanghai methods of cooking. Thus substantively changing the traditional ‘Benbang’ cuisine of Shanghai— making it more complex—introducing the West Lake Carp from the nearby Hangzhou or vinegar from Zhejiang its western neighbor or Shaoxing contribution of Warm Rice Wine.
Today, Shanghai cuisine is known for accentuating the original flavours of the high quality raw components and condiments which come together to bring about a light, mellow and slightly sweet taste unique to the cuisine. Sweet and sour is typical of Shanghai. Harmonious colours, complimentary shapes, emphasizing presentation is a must in Shanghai Cuisine. It uses more rice than wheat products like noodles.
Also called ‘Hu Cuisine’, its colours, taste and aroma make it one of the more popular cuisines in China. The famous Xiaolongbao, Steamed or Fried Pork buns, Steamed Crab, are all part of Shanghai Formal Cuisine. The common man in Shanghai resident eats a sweet soy sauce-based noodles stir-fried with meat or fish rather than cabbage and onions.
The origins of the cuisine trace back to the Ming and Qing dynasties 400 years ago; and yet, it’s the youngest of the 10 major Chinese Styles of cookery.
The Main Menu for the next ten days at the Shanghai Club Express: