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.
There are few greater joys than wrenching out a fish’s eyes and sucking its skull dry. Most Chinese would agree, which is why you can find fish noggins ogling you from menus across Shanghai; the most prevalent being Hunan double pepper fish head . But for us, you can’t be a bonafide headhunter until you tackle Jesse Restaurant’s roast cod head with spring onions (葱烤鱼头, cong kao yu tou, 168RMB), the fish ‘head honcho’ about town.
Jesse chefs are understandably reluctant to give out the recipe, simply divulging that it’s pan-roasted with spring onions. Though we speculate it’s steamed beforehand. As you can see, the presentation is not the prettiest; looking kind of like a fish head in a hula skirt, but there’s a reason one adorns every table in the house. The caramelized crust caves in easily, unveiling a moist meadow of buttery cod with a note of almond. Its sweet glaze reminds us a bit of Japanese miso cod. Perhaps the only downside is there aren’t any eyeballs or globs of skull jelly to lap up. Or maybe that’s a plus for some of you.
This dish is so popular you have to reserve it way ahead of time, we’re talking up to a week in advance. And it feeds about 2-3 people so bring friends.
Jesse Restaurant – 41 Tianping Lu, near Huaihai Xi Lu (天平路41号, 近淮海西路). Tel: (0)21-6282-9260.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Xiefen Dan (scrambled eggs with hairy crab roe) @ Hai Jinzi
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
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