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.
We could use Lotus Eatery fare for every Dish of the Day. Lotus happens to serve Yunnan food (the best Yunnan in the city), but it transcends genre: you don’t go to Lotus because you crave Yunnan, you go to eat some of the tastiest, most colorful, and consistent fare in Shanghai. A simple small plate at Lotus like the mint leave salad trumps the pièce de résistance at most other spots, and it’ll be executed perfectly every time you go. Our favorite dish is the roast Miao lake fish (苗家烤 鱼, miáo jiā kǎo yú, 50RMB) with dried chilies, peanuts, peppercorns and sesame seeds.
Spicy roast fish sounds difficult to screw up, but it’s not. Most are crisped to the point of becoming dried-out husks of skin and bone that you chip away at rather than devour. Others are mounded with so many chilies and herbs you end up using your chopsticks to bushwhack rather than pluck morsels of fish. Lotus Eatery got the equation right. The skin crackles much as the best fish and chips crust while the white flesh beneath remains as lush as Hunan Double Pepper Fish Head or fish stew; the juices sealed in like they were in a vacuum bag. Not a single dried chili is superfluous. You end up eating every one, which you’ll pay for later, but won’t regret.
Lotus Eatery – 85 Yangzhai Lu, near Xinhua Lu (杨宅路85号, 近新华路). Tel: (0)21-6282-7756. Hours: 11am-11pm daily.
1112 Dingxi Lu, near Wuyi Lu (定西路1112号, 近武夷路). Tel: (0)21-6048-1111/6034-8168. Hours: 11:30am-10pm daily.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Dish of the Day: Hairy crab roe xiaolongbao @ Cheng Long Hang Xie Wangfu
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 know at [email protected]!