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Famous hotpot restaurant, Hotpot Shanghai, a longtime fixture in an elegant building in Gubei, is rich in antique furniture and artifacts. Tables are roomy and well-dressed, and there are varying sets of chinaware for different dishes.

Abalone has long been appreciated by the Chinese, even regarded as one of eight gastronomic treasures by Ming- and Qing-Dynasty gourmets. Here, it is hotpot with style. Live Australian abalone is cut into thin slices and thrown into a soup base created from expensive ingredients that include duck, seahorse, chicken, and winter melon. The seafood sauce does the abalone justice. Other dishes on the menu are equally exotic, like Kobe beef (tongue), exquisitely marbled and wonderfully tender (the cows are fed on been); and pork from American black pigs. These are free-range and thus produce tender meat.

Bird's nest and shrimp ball don't rate as exquisite in taste, more in look. Hotpot aside, the restaurant is also famous for sashimi, especially toro and fresh Australian abalone sashimi. Toro sashimi is made from the choicest cut of the tuna belly. Smooth and rich, it seems to have been created in some kind of a god’s kitchen.

An impressive wine list that puts many Western restaurants to shame. Cognac, whisky and Chinese sorghum spirits are also available.

Professional and attentive, especially in helping patrons with advice on hotpot dishes.

Hotpot Shanghai

Location: 2378 Jianhe Road

Tel: 62376218

(bestfoodinchina.net May 29, 2008)

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