Daniel B. organized another lovely seasonal dinner at Ala Shanghai. Now that we are in the middle of November, and well into our way of the season of slight chilliness in the Northeast, it’s a great time to try out some warming dishes at Ala Shanghai.
About 16 of us gathered earlier this week to eat a bunch of courses for $20 per person, inclusive of tax and tip. You too can enjoy this menu if you so desire. And by the end of this post, you’re gonna desire.
This time we made sure Celina had one, since I probably ate hers at the last dinner. That’s grounds for de-friending right there. I’m a terrible dining companion.Man, how have I not alienated myself from most of the fooding elite in Albany?
More apps – turnip pastries on the left, steamed glutinous rice dumplings in the center, and steamed and pan fried meat dumplings on the right. Love the turnip pastries when they’re nice and warm with crunchy sesame seeds on the bottom. And you can’t go wrong with meat filled carbs! I don’t really like rice that much, but boy does Albany John, so he ate my dumpling with gusto.
Soup course – chicken and wonton soup. It came out bubbling in the casserole dish. Now that’s fresh!
Flounder filets with woodear. This is a simple fish dish. The fish are tender, and the woodear is a nice crunchy foil. I love, love, love woodear. It’s a mushroom/fungus that’s more texture than anything, but I think it goes really well in meat dishes.
Lanny and one of his staff assembling the sizzling lamb table-side.
Lamb slices with scallion and onion. I’ve had similar dishes Cantonese-style with beef, but the lamb flavor and tenderness blows it out of the water. It’s so meaty and good!
Note: This is not a dish for someone counting calories – there’s plenty of delicious fat and flavor in this dish.
Pork shoulder. Fatbomb on a plate! Unctuous skin, incredibly tender meat within, and a wedge of bok choy with some crunch. Mmmm. Meat coma. This is a little on the sweet side of flavor. This is a dish you absolutely must share with eight other people. You wouldn’t stand a chance of putting a dent into this rich dish on your own.
Ham with Chinese cabbages. I really liked this ham. I want to make some myself. It was rich and smoky, with a little bit of sweetness. And I usually don’t like sweet meat. It’s got a lot of flavor. The small slices are all you need. BIG FLAVORS here. Albany John wasn’t as big of a fan of the sweetness (just not his thing), but that just means he won’t be touching my ham this winter.
Lanny brought this out and told my table “This is favorite dish,”
He is so right. If there is a dish you MUST order at Ala Shanghai, it is this. It’s so good and fresh, and they make the salted veggies there (it’s salted mustard greens so they’re kind of like pickles), and the combination of flavors just makes it so that you can’t stop eating it, and I love it so much, and it’s perfect for winter.
It’s mega-salty and refreshing. And very low fat. It really wakes you up (and fills you up). And makes you a happy person. Like their soups, I think this dish really highlights Ala’s abilities to let ingredients shine on their own.
Noodles made in-house with some veggies and chicken. Tender noodles. They’re good. But you know what makes them even better? Having those salted veggies to toss on top! Great combo!
Go there. Bring your friends and get all of this delicious food. $160. 8 people (or dinner for a week). Do it.
Or just go there and get the salted veggies with soy beans and tofu sheets, because I said so, and because it will take the winter blues right out of you.