Thursday, April 02, 2009
COLORFUL TIBET IN SHANGHAI
It's March. Yup, the time of the year to fly again to Shanghai for work.
It was also another chance to have dinner with my friend JPL, and the friendly couple, Mary and Looi, who had chosen a Tibetan resto this time. (We had eaten at a Xinjiang resto the last time 2 years ago)
After some walking around in circles, we finally found the resto. The exteriors are nothing much to write about, and i had a huge feeling at the back of my mind that this resto would be a stinker. Tibetan cuisine wasn't exactly setting the world on fire, was it?
But once one stepped inside, everything suddenly changed. To say this resto was bursting with color was an understatement; it was breathng and exploding with vivid colors any where one looked!
And should one feel compelled to dine inside a tent, just like they do in Tibet (?), there's a colorful tent waiting:
The staff, who are dressed in colorful costumes, go around table to table, offering toasts in their native tongue.
We had absolutely no clue what they were saying. Hopefully, it wasn't in colorful language. :D
Onwards to the food.
The menu featured a one-page ad on their whole roasted sheep (complete with a ribbon tied around its head!). It looked tempting; alas, it has to be pre-ordered a day ahead.
Mary and Looi took charge of ordering, so i didn't have an opportunity to write down the exact names of the dishes. Below is a run-through of most of the dishes we ate:
First up, a dish of Alfafa sprouts, which proved to be chewy and tasty.
Second, lamb ribs. Lip-smacking good! A tad too oily, though. Nonetheless, I could have eaten another order of this all by myself.
Third, yak meat. When i tasted this dish, i asked JPL, "Why does it taste so much like eggplant?"
Well, that's because it WAS eggplant mostly. Turns out the yak meat was those little bits and pieces ground up.
Up next, the Tibetan baked macaroni. :D
It was actually a tomato stew, with cheese, potato, etc. Looked a bit yucky at first, but it was actually pretty good. The tomato was intensely sweet, but perfectly balanced by the potatoes.
Then, it got more exotic. The picture below is of the quail egg/veggies/dates/chili/hotdog/fishball soup with Tibetan ants.
Yes, you read correctly. Ants. These were supposed to be good for one's health.
With some trepidation, i scooped a bowl of the soup, turned to JPL, and solemnly stated, "I hereby appoint you as executor of my last will and testament", to everyone's hearty laughter.
Here's a close-up view of the ants:
They're pretty big and horrific-looking, but you won't really taste them at all. Everyone agreed the soup was good, and got second helpings, myself included.
Then, spinach soup, with naan bread. More like pureed spinach, sort of a goop. It tasted like, well, spinach.
Yak tea [not pictured] was also served, which in my opinion, tasted like regular tea mixed with low-fat/skim milk powder.
Throughout dinner, we watched the cultural program being performed by the staff, which consisted mainly of dancing and singing. At the end, guests were "invited" to join in a group native dance.
To our amusement, JPL was roped in to go up the stage and partake of this audience participation segment. He proceeded to do the Tibetan tap dance and Tibetan two-step shuffle with much gusto. (No pics here though, lest his reputation take a permanent beating ;-D)
There was a raffle as well, and i won a coupon entitling me to the lamb ribs dish (worth RMB 80.00) during my next visit!
Yak!! (Tibetan word for "Yes!!!", or so i think :D)
(The resto is located at the ground floor of the Shanghai Stadium)