Kuching used to have quite a number of good Chinese restaurants - Chia Heng Restaurant, Chui Hua Lau, Golden Dragon - these were familiar names and now they are no more. Perhaps it is due to the changing palate of Kuchingites. There are only a handful of good Chinese restaurants left in Kuching - and Joyous Shanghai is one of the best.
By KL or Singapore standards, the decor at Joyous Shanghai would be considered basic - but in Kuching this is considered one of the more opulent Chinese restaurants. The dining area is not very big - accommodating up to 10 tables. There are a few private rooms should you want a bit more privacy.
The menu here focus on Shanghainese Cuisine. You can order many of the popular Shanghainese appetizers here. We opted for the special appetizer platter that comes in a wooden boat. There are 3 items - fish cake, Maki rolls and crispy prawns. Not really Shanghainese - but all good.
They do their soup here really well - but it can get pricey. This is the soup with dried seafood which is really delicious.
The deep fried pork ribs is one of our favourites - crispy outside and the meat is a bit chewy - but that gives it a nice texture to exercise your jaw muscles.
Steamed Soon Hock fish - they are experts at steaming this fish which is one of the best local fish. Expensive, but the meat is so sweet and silky when perfectly cooked.
Chinese cabbage with crab meat. The sauce is rich and flavourful.
Prawns in two flavours - on side coated in salted egg yolk, the other side in mayonnaise. Interesting contrast of flavours and textures.
The only wrong note of the night was the braised pork leg in soy sauce. The pork leg wasn't cooked long enough - so it was not tender, and the meat was a bit gamey. Longer cooking and more judicious use of spices would have saved the dish.
If you are still not satiated with all the food above - you can have noodles. This one is cooked with fresh river lobsters. The noodles have soaked up all the sweetness of the prawns.
The one thing which most Chinese restaurants lack is good desserts - and Joyous Shanghai is no exception. Luckily you can order from their sister restaurants - this is the mixed Thai dessert from the Thai restaurant downstairs.
Dining at Joyous Shanghai is not cheap - but you are paying for the quality. The chefs are very good at their sauces and soups, and sometimes can surprise you with inspired cooking. If you are looking for great Chinese food in Kuching - give Joyous Shanghai a try.