Shanghai World Expo 2010 - Expo Food Part I
The Expo Organizers have figured one big thing out, and that is you can’t have a good Expo without food ! Food is everywhere, and it is good to see that cuisines from the participating countries are featured on the menu. For many of the Chinese visitors, this would be their first taste of food from a different country.
There are many food options at the Expo – from typical fast food to fine dining restaurants. Most of these are contained in purpose-built buildings dotted around the Expo Site. Some of the pavilions even have their own restaurants inside, like the German Pavilion serving their famous pork knuckles, and the French Pavilion with, of course – a French restaurant.
After half a day of walking through the Asian Pavilions, I was quite famished. Being in China, I decided to stick with Chinese food, and I was really thrilled to see a restaurant promoting the famous Nan Xiang Sio Long Bao. I had wanted to try this at the original Nan Xiang Restaurant at Yu Garden – but the queue was famously long unless you are prepared to pay a lot more in the upstairs dining halls. Thankfully the crowds at the Expo dining outlets are not so bad – I noticed that many of the Chinese visitors had brought their own food and were having picnics under the shades everywhere.
The restaurant was quite full with lunch time crowd.
You order at the reception counter and collect your order at the food counter. The service was really fast ! I guess they got the system down pat after serving so many people.
I ordered the Sio Long Bao and a bowl of Yu Siang Noodle Soup (Fish Fragrant Noodle Soup). The order came in a bamboo steaming tray, and they looked great. I've had Sio Long Bao in other places like Malaysia and Hong Kong, and had always liked them – but this is Shanghai – the birthplace of this famous delicacy and it’s got to be different. And it was – the skin was so thin – it was a wonder that it did not burst during the steaming. And the liquid stock inside the bun was really delicious – clean, porky and fragrant.
The Yu Siang Noodles – contrary to what the name suggests, doesn’t actually have fish inside. It’s a Sichuan dish which uses strips of pork that is cooked with fish sauce to give it the fishy taste (Read Fuchsia Dunlap’s excellent book on Sichuan Food). It was good !
I also tried this Japanese peach drink with liquer. It was quite interesting and refreshing. It only had 1% fruit juice, but 5% alcohol.
The total meal came to RMB 75. Not cheap but not a rip off either.