Taiwan 2024. Great Shanghainese in Taipei

Great dinner in Taipei last week at Zhe Ning Fang Jia Restaurant. The Shanghai diaspora transported their great Shangahinese cuisine to the island, we enjoyed some of the best Shanghainese we’ve had outside of the Mainland.

A well balanced meal of perfectly cooked and beautifully presented dishes, service was attentive, timely and inobtrusive. A bottle of Tamnavulin Speyside Single Malt, Sherry Cash Edition, lubricated the conversation and went well with the meal.

Small plates of Peanuts and Bitter Melon to start, a simple foil to the Scotch. Drunken Chicken soon appeared. Tender with snappy skin, hit of good Shanghai Wine.

JellyFish, lightly dressed with vinegar, Soy Sauce. Celery and Red Peppers added a crisp and colour touch. These were ragged pieces, not like the slivers usually served in the Cantonese style.

Eel with Yellow Chives. The Eel is boiled, served atop wok fried Yellow Chives. The server tossed finished the dish with Hot Oil and their Special House Sauce. Vibrant and fragrant, succulent tender Fish with the snappy Fresh Chives.

One of my favorite breads, the Silver Thread Buns. Crispy buttery outside, soft fluffy bread inside with noodle-like threads.

A fantastic Dong Po Pork Belly in Shanghai Baos. Not the Gua Bao so famous in Taiwan, which is dressed with accoutrements. The Shangahai Baos were naked, save for the savory braising juice from the Pork Belly.

Menu says Curry Beef with Rice Noodles. Seemed more like Beef Brisket in Clay Pot to me, quite tasty.

Thorny Sea Cucumber braised with Shrimp Roe and Shitake in Clay Pot. Extravagant.

Steamed Whole Fish, finished with Hot Oil and Aromatics. Can’t name the fish, best guess is Carp. Very flaky and tender, was quickly stripped to the bone.

Tofu Skin (Yuba) with Pickled Mustard. Comfort food at its finest.

Spring Bamboo Shoots and Pea Sprouts (Dou Miu). Spring is here!!! Beautiful simple dish.

Pork Bacon, Bamboo Shoots Casserole. I’ve always thought this more souplike, and love it. Cured Pork, Bamboo Shoots, Yuba and Shanghai Bok Choy. A super rendition, warm and comforting.

Just a little room left for dessert.

Peanut Tong Yuan, Ground Peanut dusted Mochi Balls.

Seeded Yellow Watermelon, seen all over the street markets, fruit stalls and supermarkets. In season and delicious.

A superb meal!! Looking forward to the next time.


Beautiful place and extravagant spread!!

The bitter melon at the start was pickled/sour I assume? Just came across a recipe.

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We were a bit puzzled to the actual prep ourselves. Think the melon is boiled, then lightly dressed with soy, sesame, vinegar and ???

The BEST Bitter Melon side was from Smart Fish in Chiayi. Just plain parboiled White bittermelon with a dab of Mayo. Even my bittermelon hating wife thought it delicious.

BTW, if you have Netflix. Smart Fish was highlighted in their Asia Chiayi street food series. Fun watching.


Thanks for the heads up re netflix - just found the episode again. Had already watched it before apparently but now that I’ve seen multiple of your Taiwan posts I can probably relate more.

By the way I’m not a big bittermelon fan either but sour sounds okay hence my interest in the recipe. I do sometimes make bittermelon with pork ribs in black bean sauce - my cue to go out and shop for the black bean sauce ingredients again!

So what is next for you guys?

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Looks like a TRULY wonderful meal. The bread was quite a surprise as I would NEVER expect to see that kind of bread at ANY Chinese meal be it in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan. It looks quite similar to the ubiquitous “shiopan” (“salt bread”) found in Japan, but your description sounds nothing like it.

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Are you talking about this bread that Google_Gourmet writes about?

If so, it’s quite ubiquitous, esp in Taiwanese cuisine and oftentimes at breakfast.


I just got some Taiwanese spring bamboo shoots.

Can’t wait.

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Yes, but other than congee, I didn’t have the chance to eat anything else for breakfast while in Taiwan. I was there for approximately 2 weeks, but unfortunately 11 days of those 2 weeks were spent in the hospital.

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Sounds like my first visit to Taiwan.


Everything looks delicious. Taiwan is a such an under-rated food city, IMO.


Pork ribs and bittermelon is a combination made in heaven!! I have yet to make this dish as good as any hole in the wall Chinese restaurant. Gotta keep trying.

We’re off to Singapore and Bangkok in a couple of weeks. Just enough time to readjust back to our home time zone and then get jetlagged again.


From the web: “Yin si juan (Chinese: 银丝卷; pinyin: yínsījuǎn; lit. ‘silver thread roll’) is a Shandong style bread . The name comes from the long threads of dough that are pulled when it’s being made.”

The bread we just had was delicious, but not as many threads as some we’ve had. An extreme representation, from the web:


Thank you. I hope to try it someday if I ever get back to Taiwan.

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I love this bread! In Singapore or Malaysia, it’s most commonly found in Shanghainese restaurants. We also usually buy it from the supermarket chilled foods section.


A beautiful meal! I would have been happy with just the first two dishes but to add the rest to the experience would have been phenomenal!
One dish that I would never have ordered that jumped out at me was the tofu skin with pickled mustard. That looks delicious!

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