Every few days our team will scour Shanghai’s dining scene for scrumptious dishes that’ll fill your belly without emptying your savings. Not to discriminate, we’ll search everywhere from bicycle carts to chic venues with twenty-course tasting menus, knowing that any spot could have the next Dish of the Day.
Every so often, as a voracious meat-eater in Shanghai, you run into what we call the “poultry dilemma”: when chicken has become too tame for your daredevil taste buds but you don’t want to deal with the grease geyser inherent to duck or goose. Luckily for our kind, there’s pigeon, a bird that’s gamey enough to keep things interesting, and succulent enough to satisfy without making your stomach feel like it ingested a wrecking ball.
Just hoof it down to Xintiandi’s periphery where lies Ye Shanghai, a venue that combines the best of Shanghainese and Cantonese cuisine, and order their drunken pigeon (醉鸽, zuì gē) or Shanghai squab soaked in rice wine (68RMB).
Now we’ll admit, even on the menu’s picture, the pigeon’s presentation appears rather eerie. With its ghost-pale skin and wine-drenched body, the bird looks like it was just hoisted out of an embalming jar while its open-beak makes it appear aghast at its delicious fate. But once you get past all that, you’re left with a tasty squab whose wine marinade and room-temp preparation accentuate its plump, livery flesh.
Though if we were to nitpick, we’d say our guy’s meat was missing that pink flush which indicates a perfectly-executed pigeon. But all in all, it’s a pretty damn delectable bird. We especially liked how our squab was decapitated at the base of its head so we could insert a chopstick and extract the milky-white gobs of brain alla Hannibal.
Ye Shanghai – 338 Huangpi Nan Lu, near Hubin Lu (黄陂南路338号, 近湖滨路). Tel: (0)21-6311-2323. Hours: 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Braised pork belly @ Lu Bo Lang
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
Have a recommendation for Dish of the Day? Let Shanghaiist’s food editor Benjamin Cost know at [email protected]!