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Sweet and Tender

Original Shanghai food has been having a difficult time competing with a number of other popular cuisines in Beijing.

A major local cuisine in China, Shanghai food became trendy for a couple of years in Beijing. But then it lost a lot of favor against other styles of food such as Sichuan cuisine.

After all, most northern Chinese people favor food that is spicier and with a relatively strong flavor. When it comes to Shanghai food, they often complain it is bland and too sweet.

There is basically no red pepper in Shanghai food.

In fact, an absence of a strong flavor does not mean food does not tasting good. A small amount of sugar in Shanghai food actually makes dishes fragrant and tender.

Light fried eel mash and shredded crab meat and pork ball are two representative examples of Shanghai cuisine at Lao Zheng Xing Restaurant. These dishes are tender and tasty.

Garlic and ginger is included with the eel and the crab and pork meat ball contains bamboo shoot cubes, small pieces of shrimp and biqi, a Chinese fruit. And of course what tastes good to the tongue might not be good for your body. Many people who eat spicy food might have a difficult time with their intestines the following day.

In this sense, the relatively light-tasting Shanghai food has its merits.

The history of Lao Zheng Xing Restaurant reflects the history of development of the Shanghai food in the capital.

It was first established in Shanghai in 1867. But it was not until almost a century later, in 1956, that the brand came to Beijing and established its first chain.

In its most prosperous times, the restaurant was frequented by high Chinese officials from south and eastern China.

It has since then become one of the main representatives of Shanghai cuisine in the capital.

Presently it is a four-star (top class) designated tourist restaurant.

Other typical Shanghai dishes at the restaurant include squirrel fish, hairy crab in oily sauce and fish fillet in wine sauce.

The restaurant's ground floor offers home-style food.

A light fried eel mash costs 50 yuan (US$6) and shredded crab meat and pork ball is priced at 58 yuan (US$7).

Location: First floor, No 46 Qianmen Dajie

Tel: 010-65112145

Opening hours: 10 am-10 pm

(Beijing Weekend April 23, 2004)

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