Aug 24 2013

Yi Long Court

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We were passing through Shanghai on our way to Vietnam, and the nice thing about Chinese immigration is that from January 2013 if you are passing through China in transit (like we were) you are allowed to stay in China for 48h without needing a visa. As we had 9h to spend in between our flights we decided to get some dim sum.

We did not know any good Chinese restaurants and as we were not expecting to eat in Shanghai had not prepared where to go, but we knew there was a Peninsula hotel in downtown Shanghai, so we decided to go there, have a drink and ask the concierge to recommend us some good Chinese restaurants. The concierge recommended two restaurants, Yi Long Court, located on the second floor of the Peninsula hotel and Imperial city, a nearby restaurant. I googled both and found Yi Long Court to be more appealing as a Michelin chef, Hong Kong born Chinese executive chef Dicky To, worked there and also as my trusted Frommers guide gave it 3/3, so we went there at 11.45 for early dim sum.

When we arrived only one other table was occupied, but when we left about an hour later, half the restaurant was full. The décor is very upscale with wooden/ leather chairs, paintings around the room and large, round and square tables, and white tablecloths. We were seated by a lovely table by the window.

Chef Dicky To mainly cooks Cantonese dishes, but there are also some regional dishes. I had read about the signature dishes at Yi Long Court, like the pan fried scallops stuffed with minced shrimps and barbecued pork buns, but when it came to ordering, I could only find the barbecued pork buns on the menu, not the scallops, which is what I ordered. The menu was extensive and had a set dim sum menu for a bit less than RMB 300/ person. They also had an a la carte menu and a dim sum a la carte menu. When we arrived the waiter brought us some snacks/ crispy type of things and two spicy sauces, and all of it I very much enjoyed, especially the spicy sauces which are very different to the sauces you have in London Chinese restaurants, not as spicy but with more flavour.

We had come here for dim sum so we only ordered dim sum and skipped the more substantial dishes. Dim sum dishes usually came 3 in one dish, and were ranging from RMB38 to RMB48 per dish. Besides the steamed barbecued pork buns, I also ordered “steamed “siu mai” with scallops”, “deep fried spring rolls filled with red king crab meat and coconut milk”, “steamed pork dumplings “Shanghaies-style”. The waiter also recommended I have the “steamed shrimp dumplings with bamboo shoots”, so I did go for this and my boyfriend really wanted to have “steamed pork ribs with black soy sauce” so we also got that. I love hot and sour soup and always have it in a Chinese restaurant and here the default option was to have a hot and sour soup with abalone, and I asked the waiter to bring us two portions without the abalone, as I am not that keen on it, and they happily accommodated my request.

I have two main takeaways about the dim sum: 1) I realized how lucky we are in London as we have some of the best dim sum in the world. I came to Shanghai expecting miracle dim sum and for it to be very different than dim sum in London, but it was very similar and equally good to top restaurants in London; 2) the taste of all the dishes was similar to the taste of dim sum in London although it was a bit more light, less powerful, the hot and sour soup was not as hot and sour as I get served in London, the flavour of the Shanghai dumplings and the accompanying sauce was just a bit lighter.

Overall I very much enjoyed the meal. Despite the fact as I said the hot and sour soup was not as flavoursome as I usually get in London, it was delicious, more subtle and my boyfriend really liked it. The standout dish for me though was the “deep fried spring rolls filled with red king crab meat and coconut milk”. I had only ordered this as I was craving some spring rolls and these were the only ones on the menu, and I initially though having crab and coconut milk would be a bit strange, but they were sensational, so delicious. The flavour of the coconut was very light, it went so well with the crispy, perfect pastry and the delicious crab and they were so cute as well, not round like most spring rolls are, but flat.

The dish that I did not like was “steamed pork ribs with black soy sauce”, and it seemed like one of those really traditional Chinese dishes that foreigners like me don’t fully understand and are not used to. We were presented with a small bone and some meat (I thought mainly fat) around the bone and you had to chew this off. I also did not even think the meat/ fat had that much of a nice flavour to it, to eat it. The “steamed pork dumplings “Shanghaiese-style” were very good, but the flavour was not as powerful as I have had before, still delicious. “Steamed “siu mai” with scallops” was very pretty dim sum, with thin slice of scallop covering the dim sum and the inside was great. I also very much liked the “steamed shrimp dumplings with bamboo shoots” that the waiter had recommended and they were in a nice slightly pink colour. My boyfriend also very much enjoyed the steamed barbecued pork buns, and he always likes these pork buns and has them in every Chinese restaurant we go to. I am not the biggest fan of this dish, but I could definitely appreciate the quality and skill put into these pork buns as they were some of the best, if not the best I have had.

I had a lovely dim sum meal and a great start to my Vietnam and Cambodia holiday in Yi Long Court and I wish more places would do the red king crab and coconut milk spring rolls, as they were incredible. I only wish there were more of us going for this meal so we could have ordered and tried more things.

Date: 24/ 08/ 13
Price for 2 people, no alcohol and 15% service charge: RMB 782 (around £66)
Location: Shanghai

Maija rated: 

4.50

Location: 

Yi Long Court
32 Zhongshan East 1st Rd, Huangpu
Shanghai
China
Yi Long Court Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4.5