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.
Hengshan Cafe is one of those rare Cantonese spots in Shanghai that offers a hotel banquet’s variety of food from sea cucumber to suckling pig, in a small, homey, not-hotel-banquet-style-at-all space. It’s ideal for both families up for a feast and individuals like myself who just want to read the paper and enjoy a nibble. And by nibble, I mean skeletonizing a goose.
Hengshan’s roast geese are no ordinary honkers, but special birds from Chaolian that are roasted over an open mahogany fire. They come in two sizes; a quarter which feeds one person (45RMB), and a half which rivals a whole duck in size and feeds 2-3 people (125RMB) – or one slavering expat, provided you don’t order much else. You can probably order a whole bird too, but that wasn’t listed.
Let’s cut to the chase: you’ve got crisp skin which reminds you of caramelized sugar if it was lacquered with grease, and moist dark meat whose flavor invokes a combo of pâté and chicken. Dab each slice in the accompanying plum sauce and tuck in.
How is roast goose different from roast duck? The biggest difference for us is that while roast goose tastes as succulent as roast duck, after finishing an order of goose, you don’t get that bloated, queasy feeling that you get with roast duck. As a result, you leave full, but not feeling like a tub of clarified butter.
Now this is a tad more expensive than the average Dish of the Day, but hey, it’s Cantonese in Shanghai, a good portion of special bird for your buck, and the place is located on Hengshan Lu and is open ’til 4am. So next time you’re stomach is reeling from the night’s drunken charades, forget the mystery meat on a stick and go for a half-goose.
Hengshan Cafe – 308 Hengshan Lu, near Wuxing Lu (衡山路308号, 近吴兴路). Tel: (0)21-6471-7127. Hours: 10:30am-4am daily.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Niurou chao mian dao xiao @ Henan La Mian Guan
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]!