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.
Chaoshan Sha Guo is a headliner among the pantheon of excellent eateries occupying Dingxi Lu. It has all the marks of a Shanghai establishment serving scrumptious food: a crowd that could fill Shanghai Stadium waiting to get into a space smaller than a subway bathroom, and a gruff staff who acts like you’re trying their patience by simply being there.
The star is seafood congee, a dish combining two things I love most about China; congee and sea creatures fresh from the tank. Choose the one with mud crab, whole shrimp, and dried scallops (230RMB).
As the photo shows, it looks rather murky with shellfish parts jutting up from a gloopy expanse of congee like the aftermath of a crustacean expedition stumbling upon quicksand. However, the flavor is crystal clear. The congee condenses all the roe, juices, and crab and shrimp meat into a pure sea essence – think the best seafood risotto you’ve ever had. When ladling and slurping the rice porridge gets too monotonous, dissect the crab and shrimp parts bobbing about in it.
Be there by 5:30pm at the latest if you want a table.
Chaoshan Sha Guo – 805 Dingxi Lu, near Yan’an Xi Lu (定西路805号, 近延安西路). Tel: (0)21-6282-5883.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Steamed flounder with soy, ginger, and scallions @ Qianlong Food
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]!