The Canto restaurant chain Tsui Wah is quite popular in Shanghai, with three locations west of the river.  The restaurant traces its roots back to Mong Kok in the 1960s, popularizing a teahouse menu that now contains a hodgepodge of Chinese, SE Asian, and Western dishes.  Some of my HK friends may very well have taken me to one of the Hong Kong locations a few years ago, but the Shanghai Fumin Lu spot felt like the first time, with a bustling glass-windowed kitchen hung with roast duck and chashao pork, waiters carrying trays of iced milk tea (and its classy but deranged cousin, the iced champagne milk tea), a bakery churning out chashaobao, tuna buns, sweet cream buns, etc.

Anyway, NBC used to say about its summer reruns: “If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you.”  Same idea, I guess?

I’d gone to Tsui Wah a few weekends before this last go, with a larger and hungrier crew (including three grownass dudes, two of them hungover).  When I went there again last week with just Myra, it was packed, families and couples and small groups, and the wait only made us hungrier.  This is what we ordered:

Chashao Pork Buns
Crispy Pork
Spicy pig ear, tripe, and tongue
Cucumber Pickles
Malaysian Beef Stew Curry
Malaysian Beef Stew Curry on Rice
Sizzling King Prawns with Fried Noodles

So yeah, it was a bit much for two people.  I’m starting to get a better sense of what comfort food means here in China.  Part of it is homey, traditional dishes that recall back to childhood, but another part is (a) lots of sauce and/or (b) lots of grease.  Many of the ubiquitous Chinese dishes that come to mind are saucy and/or greasy: Sichuan-style yuxiang eggplant, soup dumplings, sweet and sour pork, egg rolls.  I guess that’s a pretty broad definition, and dumplings and soupy things like noodles and wontons are notable exceptions to these completely bogus rules I just made up.  Still figuring out, don’t worry.

Tsui Wah
No. 291, Fumin Road
Xuhui District, Shanghai

(1) Cha shao pork buns, (2) Malaysian beef stew curry with rice, (3) cha shao and crispy pork, and (4) sizzling king prawns with fried noodles.