Today we go to Dai Kitchen on Manjuelong Road for some new twists on Chinese cuisine. It follows a new-style of Chinese restaurants that spends a lot of effort making creative names for their dishes, mostly involving one ingredient secretly meeting with another under the moonlight.
We ordered their most popular dishes to get an overview and here’s what we had.
All Living Things Grow (万物生长, 46RMB) is their highest ranked dish on Dianping and their most inventive. Ice plant leaves, carrots, tomato and pansy blossoms sit on a bed of purple pebbles like a miniature rock garden. Those purple pebbles looked like purple rice crisps, but they are actually deep-fried puffed-up sunflower seeds. Underneath the pebbles is a layer of mashed purple sweet potato.
Soy Flavoured Pork Lovelorn Wraps (豉香油肉相思饼, 68RMB) tastes similar to Beijing duck, but with hard, crunchy and chewy pork instead.
Silly Eggplant and Green Beans (傻瓜茄子呆萌豆, 28RMB) are simply prepared and the fun twist lies in the way the vegetables appear. The green beans are tied neatly into knots and the eggplants are chopped symmetrically into little cylinders.
For the Wenzhou Fried Glass Noodles (火树银花海鲜粉, 38RMB) we asked our Wenzhou colleague for her opinion and she said it was very similar to her mom’s home cooking. That’s as good a compliment as any! The glass noodles are seasoned in soy sauce and have bits of squid, clams, shrimp, cabbage and egg.
Rare Foolishness Fairy Soup (难得糊涂神仙汤, 48RMB) is just concentrated pork bone soup, but it’s a very very good one. The soup was boiled so long to extract all the marrow from the bones making an opaque creamy white broth that was sweet with an umami aftertaste. Yummy.
Chicken and Potato’s Secret Meeting (鸡薯同笼月下酌, 48RMB) looks like laziji with dried chilies and Sichuan peppercorns but it didn’t have enough spice or flavour. Tater tots are the potato element in this dish.
And lastly, Pepper Meets Mr. Tea Tree Mushroom (椒花相约茶姑爷, 38RMB), well… I don’t really know what it looks like besides a pile of fire ants. Pick out the fried tea tree mushrooms and peanuts to eat, they are crunchy and goes well with alcohol drinks.
They have a nice outdoor yard with many seating area, we are pretty sure it’s packed with people when the weather is nice. If you’re in the Manjuelong area and want to try something different from the usual farmer’s restaurant, you can check out Dai Kitchen. The menu is accessed and ordered through WeChat. Chinese menu only, with pictures.