Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hangzhou Series: Shang Palace, Hangzhou ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


After working up an appetite walking around the huge West Lake (which includes sprinting to the nearest Starbucks for green tea tiramisu), we come back to the hotel for our reward – lunch at the Shang Palace, said to be the very best in Hangzhou.

 IMG_2598Bu-bu-but where are all the people???    

I am a bit wary of restaurants that are deserted during what is supposed to be their busiest time of the day. So I try to be conservative when ordering our food, choosing only the usual Hangzhou specialties, those that the chef cannot mess up even if he tries.


IMG_2610 Abalone and Shark’s Fin with Fish Maw and Sea Cucumber Soup

This soup is not really a Hangzhou specialty but it sounds so tempting in this cold weather I just have to have it. And WOW!!! No artificial flavoring, no thickening by cornstarch, just pure and natural goodness from cooking with the finest ingredients. This is hands down the best Chinese soup I have ever had!


IMG_2614Dried Scallops and Winter Melon Soup

And another wow! The winter melon is mashed up to give texture to the soup, and dried scallops enhance the beautiful flavors. 


IMG_2601Stir-fried Crystal Shrimps with Long Jing Tea Leaves

The delicate flavor of the Long Jing allows the freshness and sweetness of these baby crystal shrimps to take center stage. It’s a simple dish but it’s good.


IMG_2607Braised “Dongpo” Pork

Undoubtedly the most famous dish in Hangzhou, the Dongpo pork is a staple in every Chinese restaurant in the city. And Shang Palace’s version is one of the best. This little darling is so tender it jiggles as I pick it up with my chopsticks. Bathed in delicious sauce and its own fat, it causes me to lose control. I eat the whole piece in 2 bites – meat, skin, and yes, that very thick layer of fat. Yum! 


IMG_2612West Lake Style Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish  

I know it looks horrible in the photo, so you just have to trust me when I say that this tastes amazing. Not the typical orange thing we’re used to, the West Lake style sweet and sour sauce is so sweet and so sour it makes your mouth water with every bite. Ten minutes after the waiter brings this to our table, it’s all clean and shiny fish bones left on the plate.


IMG_2617And then they give us fruits for dessert. I do NOT like fruits for dessert. Fruits are like vegetables, or Centrum, or some Chinese herbal soup. You only eat them when your parents are watching.


IMG_2619Milk Tea with Sago

So I quickly scan the dessert menu and order this for lack of a better choice. And it literally is just that – milk tea with sago.


I am so glad we stopped by Starbucks before lunch. Who says dessert has to come last anyway?

IMG_2586Starbucks Green Tea Tiramisu



Shang Palace: Level 3, West Wing, Shangri-La Hotel Hangzhou, 78 Beishan Road, Hangzhou 310007, China.  Tel: +86-571-8797 7951 Ext. 21

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