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.
If you haven’t been around food lately, offal is all the rage in the West now. Everyone from your accountant to your grandma is guzzling blood and chomping head cheese, and it’s absolutely wonderful. This fad’s also caused off-cut prices to skyrocket. Fortunately, those living in China can have an offal-y good time for cheap by chowing down on the Nanjing specialty of duck blood and glass noodle soup (鸭血粉丝汤, yaxue fensi tang).
A popular offal dish long before offal became “a thing,” this cold-weather soup offers a glut of blood and guts in one bowl: bands of duck intestine, gizzards, and of course, dried blood hunks created by bleeding a duck out into a metal tray, allowing the blood to pool and coagulate, and then cubing it. The stock itself is made from simmered duck bones. The other key component is glass noodles or Chinese vermicelli, transparent threads of mung bean starch. Deep-fried firm tofu, coriander and other herbs are thrown in for good measure.
What surprised us is how these myriad different textures and tastes work together in unison. The veg and entrails provide chew, the blood enhances the soup’s warmth while adding a note of zinc, and the tofu squeegees up the milky stock marvelously, as do the slippery-yet-absorbent noodles. It’s the perfect winter treat, and depending where you get it, this veritable ocean of goodness only runs you 10-15RMB. We prefer Zhouli Laoya Fensi for its amicable portions (15RMB). There are lots of locations – mostly on the fringes for some reason – but we prefer the one across from Shanghai Stadium.
Zhouli Laoya Fensi – No. 10, Ling Ling Lu, Lane 751, across the way from ICBC bank (零陵路751弄10号). Tel: (0)21-6468-9722. Hours: 10am-10pm.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Fried dumplings @ Da Hu Chun
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
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