Restaurant review: New Shanghai
By Ling-Mei Wong
Spice lovers, take note: New Shanghai is your home away from home.
An enormous cluster of fiery chilies adorns one wall, while Zagat awards and many “Best of Boston” rankings line another. It specializes in Szechuan dishes from southern China and Peking dishes from the north, with a dedicated chef for each cuisine. The result is authentic dishes that keep regulars coming back for a taste of home.
New Shanghai makes sure its seasonings and sauces come straight from Sichuan, but adjust the flavors for freshness. It uses Sichuan chilies that are dried and preserved, then beaten into chili sauces or combined with other spices.
The Chung Du spicy chicken ($11.95) has a generous helping of dried chilies over fried chicken and sliced green peppers. Each bite of battered chicken was full of flavor and crunch, without being greasy. The heat from the chilies tingles the tongue pleasantly without numbing your senses completely.
A Szechuan signature dish is ox tendon and tripe with chili sauce ($7.95), literally translated as “lung slices made by the married couple.” Wafer-thin slices of marinated beef, tendons and other organs were sold on the streets of Cheng Du with a generous helping of cilantro, garlic and chili oil, as the organ meats and lungs were cheaper. This cold-cut appetizer is tricky to prepare, as the meat must be tender and juicy. New Shanghai’s version hits all the right notes.
Not all Sichuan dishes are hot. Cucumber with minced scallion sauce ($4.95) was crisp and refreshing. The cucumbers are not quite as sour as pickles, but have been marinated in the scallion sauce for a light contrast to the spicy chicken and beef. It has a subtle flavor that is fresh and sweet.
New Shanghai’s Szechuan offerings are truly unique among Chinatown’s Cantonese cuisine. As temperatures start to drop, its fiery dishes are the perfect way to heat things up.
Please note this was an arranged tasting.
New Shanghai Restaurant
21 Hudson Street
Boston, MA 02111
This post is also available in: Chinese