Shanghai Night, Tuesday 30th November 2004
Well, I have been very busy these last few weeks, sampling Lebanese, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, and even haute cuisine food and I regret to say that none of them have really come up to scratch, or it is too overpriced, or usually, both. It's a hard job, but, well, someone's got to do it. For example, a few days ago, I sampled an "interesting" new Vietnamese place near Friedrichstrasse station that has a huge concrete tree in the middle of the room that pokes into the ceiling, plus some artificial mountain cliffs that protrude from the walls, and a pool with goldfish and stuff, but well, I'm still thinking about it as it's a bit pricey for the quality of food offered although it is sort of (quite) interesting in a tacky sort of fashion. (Actually, it's not really that expensive, but it just does not taste like value for the price and the portions are a little small.)
Anyway, all this running around has caused me to get behind in my real job, so I have a real backlog of things to do for my own work (and life), and therefore the only evening left when we can have dinner is Tuesday, 30th November. I know it's not the best day of the week but well, my schedule takes me to the Black Forest this week, followed by Bulgaria next week, and so on and so forth. It never really stops, you know, especially if one has to keep earning that little crust to survive.
The bottom line is that, after sampling all that amount of food, is that I've decided this month that we should try some unusual Chinese cuisine, Shanghai-style cooking, to be precise. Most of you would probably have only ever tried Cantonese-style or Mandarin-style food as "Chinese" food (eg. Good Friends, most Chinese imbisses, Peking Duck, etc) and I would bet that you've never come across Shanghai-style food before. Well, neither have I in Berlin before, but I found a place last night which does a pretty good Shanghai menu. For those of you not familiar with Shanghai food, well, it's different - they use different spices and herbs and the flavours can be pretty unusual, like halibut poached in heavily spiced oil. Can't even describe it. One thing you should be aware of is that every dish seems to be enormous so I would suggest ordering only 2 dishes per 3-4 persons as you won't finish the dinner otherwise. The prices are reasonable, ranging from less than 10 EUR per main dish to up to 20+ EUR, but the cheaper dishes are really worth trying and the portions are no less huge. And because I have booked a special table (with a nice view over the river) with a circular rotating section, we can all share the dishes (as Chinese people do) so the cost should be pretty low per person in the end. There are vegetarian dishes as well, so veggies are welcome as well. By the way, you will encounter fish maw in the menu. Before you ask, fish maw is dried fish stomachs and I don't recommend it. Trust me.
Anyway, the place is called Ming Dynastie, in Brueckenstrasse 6, 10179 Berlin, (just opposite the Chinese embassy, in fact, and the people in the embassy eat there as well which gives you an idea how good it is) and, once again, the dinner is set for Tuesday, 30 November. The place is close by Jannowitzbruecke which is just one stop from Alexanderplatz so it's very easy to get to. As usual, all those that want to come along should send me an email asap, and those that make the list will get a confirmation email later about where and when we shall meet beforehand for a beer or two before dinner (no cocktail places around there unfortunately). It's a biggish place but we have booked a special dining room and I guess we can fit around 12-16 persons in there, so get your emails in quick if you want a place! After dinner, well, there isn't that much excitement around the area but we can stroll over to Alexanderplatz to work off the dinner and see what we can do there.
See you all soon!
How it went on the night...
Well, I wasn't actually there as I had a delay on the way to the airport and missed getting into Berlin in time. Oh well. But Sylvia stood in as a very able replacement and somehow organised an 9-course menu for only 15 EUR per person which I think must be one of the best deals of the year, judging from the pictures. So I guess everyone went home happy and sated, which is how it should be.
Adenn Kathi Limbering up Duck! More food! Zander! Fruits! Stephanie Bharat, shhh Roland&Susie