Part I – The Shanghai Reuben Sandwich Challenge – New York City Deli

The Shanghai Pastrami Sandwich Challenge is a two part series – with New York City Deli being first. I recently had a craving for a traditional New York deli style pastrami sandwich. I missed having the overly savory pastrami with the offsetting mustard. My mouth just waters thinking about it.

I really do miss my favorite Los Angeles deli, Langers, which features great sandwiches. And I will always remember Katz, in New York with the defining Pastrami as well. Yes, I know that I probably mentioned Langers being better than Katz. But I realize now that Katz is the finest around.

I had found New York City Deli, after scouring different sites, in hopes of a consensus sandwich specialist. The other shop that consistently came up, was City Deli (with a review to come later).

So, after figuring out a good time to go – I made my way to the Pudong location. Walking in, you realize that the owners clearly had in mind the local expat market with the bar, pool tables, and diner style seating. Looks like I found the right place.

I ordered a Pastrami Reuben – Monsta version with 225g of meat. With about a 1/2 pound of pastrami with rye, I was set. I don’t think anything less than 225g is enough. The juicy sandwich opens up with meat piled up high in the middle with some sauerkraut and thousand island dressing to mildly add a little flavor. I would have been fine with a simple Pastrami with some mustard. But the Reuben is just fine. The thinly sliced meat piles nicely. But I would have preferred a more thicker cut of pastrami – like they do in the US. The thinly sliced pastrami – acceptably in LA, presents a different texture. I tend to believe it allows, not that it does, a possibly lower quality of meat. While the thicker pastrami can’t hide it. The best pastrami I have ever had was at Katz, where they would give you a small plate of the meats, while you wait – just to wet your appetite. The meat would just break apart naturally and tenderly. New York City Deli may have excellent quality meat, but I just prefer mine to be sliced more thick.

I’m not saying that New York City Deli is bad in any way. In fact, I do like it. I would return again – and probably order the same thing. But when in Rome, or in this case Shanghai, you do what Romans do, or make the best of what you got.

I had also ordered a hot Roast Beef and Swiss on Roll. I didn’t like the brea roll all that much. I thought it was overkill. Perhaps, simple white bread would have been enough. I didn’t care much for the lettuce and tomatoes on this sandwich as well.

What to Order: Pastrami Reuben Sandwich

What not to Order: Roast Beef and Swiss on Roll (maybe better on regular white)

Rating 1 PigsPrice Range 1 $/¥/NT

LinksCity WeekendSmart ShanghaiEating in ShanghaiShanghaiistDianping Puxi listingDianping Pudong listing

纽约三明治(福建南路店)New York City Deli
黄浦区福建南路103号(近金陵东路)103 Fu Jian Nan Road, near Jinling East Road, Huangpu, Shanghai, China, 200002+86 21 6326 2835

‎纽约三明治(苗圃路店)New York City Deli
浦东新区苗圃路614号(近灵山路)614 Miao Pu Road, near Lingshan Road, Pudong Xinqu, Shanghai, China, 200135+86 21 5018 5012

Music Room at the Park Hyatt [Pudong]

In large metropolitan cities, some of the best night clubs are located at the top of high-rises. Towering nighttime views offer excitement, romance, and allure. The Music Room at the Park Hyatt in Pudong, Shanghai is one of those clubs, like M1NT and Flair. With breathtaking views, the Music Room that bring this element to the festive atmosphere.
We got to go on a random Wednesday night, which was Ladies night at the Music Room. Though we were a bit late, the party was still going on. (What a cliche) There were tons of people – wall to wall. Bartenders struggling to hear the orders and make the drinks. The DJ and band was on fire tonight. A mixed group of caucasians and Asian, since its located in diverse area of Pudong, was filled tonight. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.
The crowd ranged from the late 20′s to about the 40′s or so. Even with the old-ish crowd, people were having fun as if they were all in their 20′s. The drinks were flowing, the live band was grinding, and people were swaying on the dance floor. The band was actually pretty good. They played some good 80′s and 90′s mixes. The singers, both male and female, did pretty good jobs on the covers.
There were a couple of gripes, though. The coat check ran out of space and the bar area was way to congested. And I heard that it was the last night for Ladies night for the with free champagne flowing. Didn’t matter much to me, since I am not a girl and I hate champagne. Anyways, I liked the view and perhaps would try this place for dinner date.
2 Pigs
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT
Music Room
Park Hyatt, Pudong
上海浦东世纪大道100号, 环球金融中心92层
92F 100 Century Avenue, Pudong

New Star Seafood Restaurant 新星海鮮酒家 [Mong Kok]

I have to preface that we intended to go to Tim Ho Wan, the Dim-Sum Specialists 添好運點心專門店. But after seeing the large crowds and queue’s. . . Mr. J smartly had a back up with New Star Seafood, which was just around the corner.

After about a half-hour wait, we finally got our table. This low ceiling restaurant was packed with tables and people. I don’t think there’s any restaurant in Hong Kong, and perhaps Asia, that uses the dim sum push carts that we see in the US. Personally, I thought some of the allure and interesting facets of dim sum were picking and choosing what you wanted to eat as it rolled on by. With the menu, we hand-wrote the dishes were wanted. Our collective Chinese, though limited, coupled with deductive prowess of picture to number to name, allowed us to order some of our favorite dishes.

Our first order, of business, was the roasted pork. As you can guess, I was drawn to the pork, which can be written in any language – and I’ll figure it out, was my first pick. Thank goodness it arrived first. I couldn’t believe how good the roasted pork was. The skin was crispy, as it should be. Then the pork, marbled, had the right fat to lean meat ratio. This combination of moistness with crispiness was perfect. I think, there and then, that this was the best roast pork that I had ever had. BEST.

Outside of the roast pork, I don’t remember much of anything else. I know we had the steamed sticky rice, the steamed pork dumplings, the steamed shrimp dumplings, the meatballs, and the deep fried dumpling with ground pork. The meatballs, which I mistakenly ordered, looked nasty, but tasted ok. With everything else, I shouldn’t have ordered it regardless. The steamed sticky rice was good. I like it with a little soy sauce and hot sauce to spice it up. The deep fried dumplings with ground pork were Mrs. C’s favorites.

Even with the roast pork, I am not sure I would return to New Star. The service is horrible. The staff is rude to customers, but they don’t care – with a packed house. If I was to return, it would only be to pick up a to-go order for the roast pork. Next time, I will wait for an hour – perhaps two for Tim Ho Wan.

What to Order: Roast Pork

What not to Order: Meat Balls

Rating1 Pigs

Price Range 2 $/¥/NT

LinksOpen Rice

新星海鮮酒家New Star Seafood
旺角廣華街15-33號明威閣地下至2樓G/F-2/F, Mainway Court, 15-33 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok

Fu Sing Shark Fin Seafood Restaurant [Wan Chai]

Good BBQ Pork – Char Siu is not that difficult to find. Siu Mei’s are often hit or miss. If you are polite and ask the right questions, you can more than often get a good cut of the BBQ Pork. But sometimes you just get the ideal slice . . . and that’s when you feel things are just right. At Fu Sing Sharkfin restaurant, I had the best BBQ pork EVER!
Mr. J had found Fu Sing, through his friends, and insisted a visit. Fu Sing is traditional Cantonese Seafood restaurant specializing in shark fin soup. Located in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong, this establishment has the elaborate and fancy decor that old school locals would go for special events.
We started off with the Shark fin and Crab soup had a thick broth with the white crab and shark fin meat. This divine soup was prepared and served nearby for effect and presentation. Typically you usually add a little vinegar to enhance the taste. But this soup, as recommended by the staff, didn’t need it. And they were right, it did not need it. The shark fin had a delicate flavor with the creamy texture of the meat.
Next we had the classic and local favorite, braised ox tail. With a thick sweet and savory sauce, the ox tail boasted tender meat, still with some good texture. I am more partial to a an ox tail that is a bit more tender with meat falling off the bone. But regardless, the taste and flavors were still quite good.
The token vegetable dish was the broccoli with garlic. This was actually a really good dish with the abundant diced garlic. The broccoli, which was stir-fried, retained its consistently without the snapness crunch.
The hand packed tofu with Chinese broccoli was a surprisingly yummy dish. We weren’t sure what the brown football shaped mystery item was, till we asked. Then we bit into the slightly savory tofu and realized it was actually pretty tasty.
I had to save the best for last. I know Mr. J specifically asked for a more of a evenly fatty cut of the BBQ pork, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. This large plate of BBQ pork arrived on our table, which made me giddy with excitement. I quickly eyed an end piece with more burnt edges. Then after picking it up and placing into my mouth. . .I heard moans and groans from my other dining partners, indicating supreme acceptance. I, soon, was moaning, about great bite. It was really really good. There was the right amount of fat to bring moistness and proper texture. There was excellent flavor with the honey, soy, and sugar combination. It was just right.
I am not sure if I would return to Fu Sing, since they are a seafood restaurant. But I know if I did, I would probably try to get an order of the BBQ pork to go.
Note: The best BBQ pork I have ever had prior, was in the city of Guangzhou about 10 years ago. They had the BBQ pork deep fried to add another level of texture, which was unbelievable. I am not sure I will ever find this restaurant again.
What to Order: BBQ Pork and Shark Fin Soup
What not to Order:
Rating: 3 Pigs
Price Range 3 $/¥/NT
Links: Open Rice
Fu Sing Shark Fin Seafood Restaurant
1/F, Sunshine Plaza, No. 353 Lockhart Road,, Wan Chai
+852 2893 0881