Monday, September 07, 2009

Highlight #227: Working lunch - Restaurant: Xiao Xi Xi (Shanghai)

One of the first waves of investors in Shanghai came from Taiwan, resulting in a whole area of the city catering to Taiwanese tastes. For our working lunch in that area, we chose a restaurant serving set lunches. You may notice that the set presentation looks Japanese. Indeed, the Taiwanese cuisine adopted many Japanese elements during the years of Japanese occupation. It is now accepted by my generation that the very unpleasant history at least gave the island some good eats.

The main dish in my set is a roasted pork tempura. The tempura part is definitely Japanese, but the unique batter is decidedly Taiwanese. It's made from fermented red rice leftover from rice wine making. The residue rice wine tenderizes the pork and imbues the meat with a faint rice wine taste. My companions were also quite impressed with the rice covered with a sauce made from bits of pork belly and preserved vegetables. Imagine rice drenched with hot butter and a savory gravy and you pretty much get the main idea. The meal ended with a simple dessert of chilled azuki bean drink, one of my favorite summer treats.

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