Crystal Jade Restaurant in Xintiandi
Xintiandi is rarely Shanghaiist’s first port of call when it comes to eating out. Nor is it popular with the taxi driver who took us there yesterday morning: in fact, he professed to having never heard of the place, and required a complete set of directions from the back seat. Regarding this as slightly mysterious (Xintiandi being a landmark of considerable prominence in Shanghai) we asked the driver why he didn’t know. “I’m from Pudong,” he replied. Pudong Town in Anhui Province, perhaps?
There was only one reason for our visit to Xintiandi: to eat a bowl of dandan mian (26 RMB) — fresh noodles in a hot, spicy peanut sauce — at popular Cantonese-cum-Sichuanese restaurant, Crystal Jade. Let’s be frank for a moment: these are some mighty fine noodles. Dig your ladle into the red, oily broth flecked with scallions and you’ll expose a rich thread of the peanut sauce. Mix this thoroughly through the noodles (hand-pulled just minutes earlier) and you’re ready to slurp them down. Crystal Jade’s barbequed pork buns (16 RMB) are also first-rate and will provide a few moments of respite from the searing dandan soup.
It was midway through this red-hot repast that we encountered the friendly restaurant manager (with a perfect Cantopop name: Ringo Luk). He told us the welcome news that next month Crystal Jade is opening a second branch in Shanghai — a good thing, particularly in view of how crowded the Xintiandi location can get during Sunday lunch.
The only disappointment is that this new outlet is frustratingly close to the old one: it’s in the basement of Hong Kong New World Tower on Huaihai Zhong Lu. Literally a few streets away.
Better news is that the restaurant will be perched directly next door to the exit of the Huangpi Nan Lu metro station. So if you happen to encounter our same taxi driver and have problems convincing him that there is in fact a street named Huaihai in Shanghai, take the subway instead. Do it for the dandan.
Crystal Jade Restaurant: 1) House 6-7, South Block Xintiandi, Lane 123, Xinye Lu (兴业路123弄新天地南里6-7号). Tel: 6385 8752. 2) B110, Hong Kong New World Tower, 300 Huaihai Zhong Lu (2 淮海中路300号香港新世界B110). Tel: 6335 4188. Opening date to be confirmed.
Eat Me is a semi-regular feature on Shanghaiist that highlights noteworthy restaurants in Shanghai. Know of a restaurant you think deserves consideration? Email us at shanghaiist(@)gmail.com.