Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai’s signature Chinese restaurant Yong Yi Ting proudly features the regional cuisine around Shanghai, an area collectively known as Jiang Nan, which means south of the Yangtze River. Jiang Nan cuisine is known for sweet soy sauce braised meats, freshwater fish and seafood, steamed xiao long bao soup dumplings and bountiful fresh vegetables.
Acclaimed chef consultant Tony Lu hails from Shanghai and he takes a lighter approach to the classic dishes, allowing the freshness of ingredients and natural taste to shine through.
Upon entering Yong Yi Ting, you see a luminous ceiling of glowing ceramic lanterns juxtaposed by earthy wood panels and a black slate floor.
The dining room is refined, elegant Chinese style with red dragons, crystal and gold.
Yong Yi Ting arranged a 6 course lunch for us – an excellent representation of the menu, well portioned to showcase the different flavours and textures.
Combination of Jiang Nan Appetizers
We began with an assortment of appetizers that was as beautiful as a work of art. Starting from the right, the sliced geoduck sitting on top of green bamboo shoots was savoury with notes of floral and a hint of sesame oil. The bundle of bean curb skin was intricately tied with a chive stalk and the tiny mushrooms around it packed a lot of flavour with peppery notes.
The heart of a mustard green vegetable standing upright on the plate like a miniature jade carving had a surprising bite of sharp wasabi, which went very well with the crisp texture of the lightly blanched vegetable. The dark brown mushroom cap next to it looked unassuming, but it carried within it the results of hours of slow braising in sweet soy sauce.
The braised pork rib on the left side is a meaty bite in a sweet and sour sauce. The elements on the plate are not only attractive, but each one is edible and adds to the overall dish, even the little green peas provided a clean pop of flavour.
Braised Hairy Crab Meat with Seabass and Chrysanthemum
Autumn is hairy crab season around Jiang Nan as this is the time when the crabs are fat and have the most roe. One thing about hairy crab though, is that it takes a lot of effort to get to the meat and roe inside. In this soup, all the work has been done to present you with the best part of the crab. Generous amounts of the unctuous, creamy crab roe were melted throughout the soup making every bite a seductive dance full of crab meat and seabass. This was an elegant soup that showed the essence of hairy crab.
Selection of Dim Sum
The third course was a bamboo steamer basket of 3 dumplings – vegetable, shrimp and chili crab roe xiao long bao. It was the xiao long bao that really stole the show, which is fitting because Shanghai is the home of the xiao long bao. The soup filled dumpling traditionally comes with pork meat. Over the years, additions like crab roe and now chili crab roe have become popular. The Mandarin Oriental’s version is excellent. The delicately folded wrapper encased a spicy meaty broth that also had an underlying sweetness. It was an exquisite dumpling that you want to eat again immediately after finishing one.
Simmered King Prawn with Sea Urchin Sauce
The large prawn was crystalline in beauty with firm succulent flesh. The prawn was completely deshelled so you never have to get your hands dirty. The sea urchin sauce that surrounded it was sweet, briny and smooth. We liked cutting a piece of prawn and eating it together with a spoon of sauce. The sauce was good to the last drop. The Chinese ham on top added a salty element to balance the sweet seafood.
Braised Boneless Beef Rib in Soy Sauce with Seasonal Vegetable
The beef ribs were braised in soy sauce for many hours and was incredibly tender. The soft, fatty, moist morsel just melts in your mouth. Crunchy asparagus and candied hickory nuts provided contrast in texture.
Baked Pumpkin Pudding, Lotus Seed Paste and Black Truffle with Truffle Dumpling
It is quite unusual to have black truffles in a dessert and at first smell, I must admit that I didn’t think the dessert would work. However, when you taste it, the flavours of the pumpkin pudding comes to the forefront and together with the olfactory effects of the black truffle it comes together nicely. It’s an amusing dessert because what you smell is not what you taste, a little trick on your senses. It was a mellow, comforting custard pudding that wasn’t overly sweet.
I was very impressed with the lunch today. Yong Yi Ting takes traditional Jiang Nan cuisine and reinvents it for modern times with lighter flavours and creative twists. Together with the elegant restaurant setting and top-class service, Yong Yi Ting is certainly a restaurant to visit while in Shanghai.
To book a table –
Yong Yi Ting,
Mandarin Oriental, Shanghai,
111 Pudong S Rd, Pudong, Shanghai, China
+86 (21) 2082 9978