N and I went to first grade together. She is now working in Shanghai so we met up for the first time in about 25 years. Of course, what's a reunion without food? We went to a popular Shanghainese chain restaurant called Charme... sigh, what can I say, even a chain restaurant in China is nicer than most restaurants here...look at the pretty menu...
...and the neat (if bland) decor (it's a chain mall restaurant after all).
The appetizer: bowing shrimpies.
Fresh fish steamed with Chinese ham and Si melon, not photogenic but tasty.
Here are the rest of the dishes, too busy eating to take individual pictures... there is minced squid stuffed in fried dough (surprisingly good), sauteed pea shoots (my go-to veggie dish), very good soup of the day (Cantonese type of soup with all sorts of herby stuff), mushroom casserole (casserole without the heavy cream, just light and flavorful)...
This was the star of the evening... practically every table had one. It's a "bread pudding" dessert, what they do is they carve the inside of the bread out and cut it into neat cubes, then they put a layer of cream in the hallowed out bread, and stack the bread cubes back, and then put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top... it must be the Asian bread (not overly sweet but milky and fragrant), it was soooo good, I could not stop eating, it was of course nice to see N after all those years, but I could not stop eating, N must've thought we were going through famine in America!
After dinner, we took a stroll along the Bund...
For a fee, you can even dress up in period pieces and pretend that you are in a rickshaw roaming the Bund and rubbing shoulders with gangsters...
I love when hollowed out bread is used to serve food! At one place in San Gabriel you can get Asian toast filled with corn chowder. It's not nearly as fancy as what you had, but it's fun.
But there is something different about Asian bread... do you know what it is? They are soo much more tastier than American bread...
There's a lot more eggs and butter in them. They taste lighter, but they are actually fattier. That's true of most baked goods. The "lighter" you think it is, the more sugar and fat is in it.
Asian bread also sometimes has different kind of flour besides wheat flour in it, like cornstarch. If used right different flours can give a softer texture.
Also, bread in LA is just plain bad. I swear it's the pollution. It makes the yeast unhappy.
Poor unhappy yeast :-(
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