date November 13, 2010
contact 38F, No. 89, West Section, University Road, Tainan City/台南市大學路西段89號38樓/02.2628.2638
hours 7 days a week 11:30-14:30/17:30-21:30
price 1000NT-1500NT (excluding drinks)
rating ♥♥♥♥♥ (5 out of 5 hearts)
Crappy weather and a failed trip to Huayuan Night Market on our first night in Tainan ended happily with a delicious meal at Shanghai Pavilion at our hotel, the Shangri-la. Never in my life had I stayed in a 5 star hotel (I highly recommend this hotel if you’re in Tainan) and it was quite the experience. Since it was raining and we were hungry we decided, let’s just eat at the hotel.
Restaurants at 5 star hotels are very accommodating. We made reservations, although we didn’t need them, and were sat down immediately at a table near the window on the 38th floor. Had the super crap weather not been super crap, it would have been a beautiful view of Tainan. We decided we needed drinks. Not realizing that they did not have a full bar at the restaurant we ordered martinis. Apparently they called down to the bar on the 2nd floor, and had them sent up.
Shanghai Pavilion has set courses along with a la carte options. Since we were only two people, we went a la carte and ordered the pork belly pyramid, king prawns, their special fried rice, bamboo shoots with baby shrimp, and two desserts.
The pork belly pyramid is one of their specialties and oh my god, it was amazing; gluttony at its finest. It may be one of my favorite things I’ve ever eaten. The pork belly was tender, juicy, flavorful and delicious. We were trying to figure out how it was holding it’s form and found that underneath were pickled vegetables. The vegetables were the perfect match for the pork belly. The flavors matched perfectly, and the vegetables helped to cut the fat from the pork belly. The best bite was a little bit of everything: pork belly, pickled vegetables, slathered in sauce. Surprisingly this dish was not too salty. With the pork belly, pickled vegetables and brown sauce, it looks like it’d be too salty. While this dish was rich, it was not too salty. In fact, it was pretty balanced, to me at least. Simply amazing.
The king prawns were another one of their specialty dishes. The dish comes with four king prawns, each lightly battered and flash fried, slathered in a creamy citrus sauce, served on a slice of carrot and orange. This too was delicious. All together the flavors worked together. I loved all the citrus and the slightly crisp outside of the prawn. The prawn was meaty and cooked perfectly. Again, like the pork belly, the best bite was when you got a little of everything.
Our vegetable for the night was bamboo shoot. I love bamboo shoots and these were great. Crispy and juicy, just the way they should be. The sauce tasted like a generic brown sauce, salty and sweet, neither too overpowering. It said that there were baby shrimps, but I don’t remember seeing any. Doesn’t really matter because we wanted the bamboo shoot. There were some leafy greens under the bamboo which were good as well.
We decided we needed either rice or noodles, so we got their specialty fried rice. When I asked what made it different she said it was dryer than most fried rices. Inside was green onions, meat, egg, and maybe some other stuff we couldn’t make out. Either way, this rice was great. Even though it looks like it would be salty, it wasn’t. In fact, it was perfect for our other dishes. I like the “dryness” of the rice. It had a good texture and the flavors were great.
For dessert we didn’t want to go too sweet, so the waitress suggested these cute little pumpkins. The outside was like mochi, there was no pumpkin flavoring, it was made to look like them. The date paste inside was the perfect sweetness for us, since we weren’t look for anything very sweet.
I decided I also wanted to try the mango sago. It was sweeter than the pumpkins, but it was not too sweet. The mango “soup” was great. It tasted like freshly pureed mangos and cream. The sago inside was good too, nothing special, but overall this was a tasty dessert.
Everything about Shanghai pavilion was great: the food, the service, and the view. I want to go back and eat multiple pork belly pyramids, but I won’t because I’d probably clog too many arteries. So instead I will go back and eat one pyramid, and honestly, I’d re-order everything we got.