Eating in Shanghai - Fu 1088
I had the best meal in Shanghai on the first night, thanks to my friend in Shanghai - Lucy. It was at Fu 1088, a fine dining Shanghainese Restaurant located at 375 Chenning Lu, which is in the Changning District of Shanghai – commonly known as the French Concession area. The buildings here are mostly old villas in European style.
The restaurant is in an old 2-storey mansion. There isn’t even a sign outside, so this is strictly for insiders only. Even my taxi driver had problem locating the place. Inside, the décor is also like an old European house – it is very cosy and intimate. We were set up in a comfortable private dining room.
This was Lucy’s treat, and she had invited 2 other friends from London who also just arrived in Shanghai. She did all the ordering, and we were waiting in great anticipation. Fu 1088 specializes in Shanghainese Cuisine, and is known as a Si Fang Cai Restaurant – kind of like an exclusive private dining club.
The first dish was a Shanghainese specialty – Drunken Chicken. Here, the chicken is served topped with some wine-flavoured ice shavings. The meat was silky and tender, with subtle hints of Chinese wine, and the ice shaving gave it an added taste sensation with its burst of wine flavour in the mouth.
Next was this cold vegetable appetizer. The veggies were lightly pickled and very crunchy – a great treat in between the meat dishes.
The next dish was the restaurant’s specialty – Smoked Fish. The fish fingers were marinated, lightly smoked and deepfried. The meat inside was sweet and delicate, and the crust provided a nice texture contrast.
The next dish was as decadent as you can get – Shark’s Fin with Abalone. The ingredients were perfectly prepared with great texture and mouth-feel. The broth was very subtle and delicious – a real “umami” hit.
Hongshao Rou (Braised Pork Belly) – this has got to be one of the most popular Chinese dishes and every restaurant has their own version. Here, the pork belly was cubed and cooked in a thick sauce. The meat was fork tender, and the fat was cooked to the point where it just melt in the mouth. Truly delicious, the bits of preserved veggies under the meat were so tasty after soaking up all the flavours, I wished there was more !
The next dish was very interesting – it looked like shredded chicken but Lucy told us it was actually strips of tofu stirfried with veggies. The texture was quite meat-like, and they soaked up all the flavours of the broth.
After all that great food, we were already very happy – but there was more !
What came next was another decadent dish – Hairy Crab Meat and Roe served with Toast Soldiers and a Vinegar Dip. This was the first time I had eaten crab prepared in this way, and I can only say it was superb ! The crab meat and roe were so rich and flavourful, and the toast soldier provided the perfect base after dipping in the vinegar, which helped to cut through the richness. I would go back to Shanghai just for this dish !
The last dish was Stirfried Veggies with Pork. As with all the other dishes, the flavour and texture was just amazing and despite the bloated tummies we still managed to lap up all the last bits of food.
This was truly one of my great dining experiences - and I have to thank Lucy for it, and for generously picking up the tab ! This is a fine dining restaurant and prices are not cheap - there is a minimum spend of RMB 300 per person, and you can easily go way beyond that. But if you love food, you owe it to yourself to seek out Fu 1088 on your next trip to Shanghai.