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.
Those ubiquitous hong shao rou blocks you see on every menu might seem synonymous with Shanghai fare, but they’re really the bottom of the pork barrel (in fact they made our list of Shanghai’s 5 most overrated eating experiences). For a more unique ‘swine dining’ experience, go for fu ru rou (腐乳肉), fatty pork with fermented red bean curd sauce at Hong Qi Lin Lao Zhen (48RMB).
Often mistaken (at least by laowai) for Azuki bean paste, fu ru is made from fermented bean curd that’s pickled with red rice (hong qu mi) to give it a maroon hue. You might recognize this coloring from Zhejiang-style stinky tofu, which also uses red rice as a dye. Hong Qi Lin adds a dash of baijiu and corn starch to its braise so it takes on the viscosity of BBQ sauce, allowing it a lot more depth than the typical trinity of soy, rice wine, and rock sugar. After being thoroughly glazed in the stuff, the pork is then served swimming in the middle of a velvety-red moat of it.
That mammoth slab might look daunting, but trust us, it practically wobbles apart when plunked on the table. “Melt-in-your-mouth” does not do it justice.
Hong Qi Lin Lao Zhen – No 2, 727 Anyuan Lu, near Yanping Lu (安远路727-2号, 近延平路). Tel: (0)21-6232-9012. Hours: 11am-2pm lunch, 5pm-10pm dinner. Closest metro stop: Changping Road, line 7.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Japanese grilled eel @ Ibashou
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
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