While my family was visiting in Shanghai, I took them to lunch at Fu 1039, where I’d previously gone with Myra and Amanda for dinner. There’s not much difference between lunch and dinner service – the menu and the order minimums are the same, but the restaurant does look a bit different with all the natural light flooding through the courtyard-facing windows.
We started with smoked eggs with caviar, a Fu 1039 classic that is simple and elegant and deeply satisfying. We also had jellyfish in scallion oil (葱油蜇头), a great balance of crunch and flavor that the meat absorbs during a short marinade.
Next up was flash-fried river shrimp (油爆虾), in a sticky, sweet mirin-and-fish-sauce drizzle. Like a Chinese equivalent to popcorn shrimp or something – little bites of serious flavor and thorough crunch, with that slight burst of umami seemingly unique to (fried) shrimp heads. Stir-fried baby peas – the intense vegetable sweetness of the peas was enhanced by the light stir-fry with bits of Chinese ham. The peas were texturally almost airy – it was as if somebody had peeled a giant pile of snow peas, saving just the little nodes inside the pods. It was like a weird, healthier sugar that I just couldn’t stop shoveling into my fat mouth.What took the cake for richness and material excess was the stir-fried crab meat (清炒蟹粉), which came in a big soup bowl alongside a stack of toast strips. This was crab flavor distilled into a decadent and glorified dip, to be spread onto the crisp toast of mankind’s maddening descent into Gomorrah. Okay, maybe not, but this was a swirl of tender crab meat and cholesterol-ridden happiness.In a self-amused bout of inspiration, I heaped a few spoonfuls onto my bowl of fried rice. I did not look back.
1039 Yuyuan Lu, near Jiangsu Lu / 愚园路1039号, 近江苏路