Given how much I enjoyed Imperial Treasures and its gussied-up Canto-style dishes, I knew I would like Xin Rong Ji, an equally posh restaurant in Shanghai’s Luwan district. Xin’s interiors were more moody and dark than its Bund-based counterpart, but nevertheless, there was that Chinese sense of mildly classy opulence, where your dishes came spruced up with a decorative sprig of herb. But at least the glossy white plate is heavy, and the soup comes in a solid but elegant ceramic pot whose bottom has been nicely tinged with direct flame.
We started with some BBQ, crispy roast pork and a quartered roast pigeon. Both with optimal crispiness, and a restrained amount of fat (for Chinese BBQ standards). By comparison, I think Tsui Wah’s version of the roast pork is almost all fat. Which is not a bad thing, necessarily (just sayin’). But occasionally, it’s nice to be able to have a layer of real meat you can taste, especially on the juicy quail.
We ordered a traditional pork ribs and dried squid soup, which was very nicely flavored, by which I mean appropriately dried-squid-y. But weirdly, they only gave us the soup when serving individually. I definitely wanted some of the goodies that usually come with a soup like this. Especially the dried squid.But no matter, we followed that up with a series of meat and seafood dishes that all were quite delicious. Not quite sure how to translate the first dish, but it was a wok-fried chicken, presumably with some variation of hoisin sauce (煎局海鲜鸡). Golden chunks of juicy dark meat tossed in a light but funky, faintly vinegar-y sauce.
The Vietnamese beef (越式牛肉粒) had a peppery kick, and a garlicky savoriness that spoke of a healthy marinade. The plate of ribbonfish (干煎带鱼) was tasty, and notable for how clean it tasted, like a simple fried salt cod.Xin Rong’s version of claypot rice involved neat portions that they served us in small bowls, but the showstopper was the disc of crunchy, formidably golden rice from the bottom of whatever pot they used. Glorious. Xin Rong Ji / 新荣记
138 Huai Hai Middle Road / 淮海中路138号上海广场5楼(近普安路)