Friday, May 16, 2008

Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant

Shanghai.
Chen Huang Temple.
Within the vicinity of the nine-cornered bridge at Yuyuan Garden.
Guangxu.
26th year of the Qing Dynasty
AD1900.

The steamed soup bun was created (or so the restaurant claimed).

Here.
Today.

I like this feeling. Of warping back in time for a taste of history. It is like listening to Jay Chou's (周杰倫) haunting Blue And White Porcelain (青花瓷). A masterpiece perpetually engraved on the beautiful body of a centuries-old vase. A timeless beauty, laced with bars of mesmerising contemporary melodies.

As assuring as the masterpieces by the dynamic duo of Jay Chou and Vincent Fang (方文山), I was very much looking forward to an encounter with the legendary Nan Xiang Steamed Soup Bun.

Served piping hot, the Steamed Soup Bun With Shrimp And Pork Filling (S$7.80 - 6 pcs) was flavourful. Thanks to the sweetness of the shrimps. As the orifice expanded, the flavourful melted gelatin oozed from within the skin, releasing a sweet/savoury taste of pork. Above average, yes. But not top notch as the skin was rather thick. Centuries old porcelains or not, I still prefer my Crystal Jade, the restaurant.

With such rich colours, I thought the Shanghai Fried Rice (S$7.00) was a sight to behold. Taste-wise, like a filler in an album, it was absolutely uninspiring. Think dark soya sauce, scrambled eggs and chopped scallion. Only. I'm sure there's more to Shanghainese fried rice than this. Well, hot and spicy, at least. Like those feisty, fair as snow Shanghainese maidens.

The Chilled Tofu With Preserved Vegetable (S$4.20) was a suitable side dish to complement the fried rice, we thought. The silken tofu was soft and has a rich soya flavour. The preserved vegetable was rather bland. A better crunch would have been appreciated as well. The dressing? A chili oil and soya-based sauce combination, simply.

A signature dish, the King Size Steamed Soup Bun With Crab Roe Stufing (S$6.80 - per serving) was not as generous as I imagined it would be. Slightly smaller than my fist, it was. With basically just soup and minimal solids, a large straw was all it took to extract the so-called treasure encapsulated by the thick bun skin. The soup (with bits of carrot, lard and meat) was rather salty. I also walloped the skin, cursing the thickness with every chew. Only to find out later from Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations that the skin was not meant to be consumed. My sejarah dunia (world history) textbook did not prepare me for this, I'm afraid.

Just as the dishes were as strange and uninspiring as Cowboy On The Run (牛仔很忙), came a dainty Hair Like Snow (发如雪) to save the day. The Steamed Bun With Glutinous Rice (S$4.20 - 3 pcs) was quite interesting albeit again, the rather thick skin. The simple glutinous rice was soft and flavourful. Honestly, I could do without the skin. Oh, throw in some dried shrimp chili paste as well.

The steamed buns were above average, yes. But if this whole meal was a reflection of a century-old oriental taste, we would have sung our Chrysanthemum Flower Bed (菊花台) long time ago.

OK, moving on to some Eason Chan (陳奕迅) ballads now.

Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant
200 Victoria Street
#02-53 Bugis Junction
Singapore 188024
Tel: (+65)6835 7577

Other review:
Jojo

31 comments:

ling239 said...

Jay!!! my fav ^_^

why the green flower can become blue white de.... >.<"

and the last pic... the skin looks so plastic-ky =.="

Kenny Mah said...

"Like those feisty, fair as snow Shanghainese maidens."

Me wonders how you managed to find out they were feisty. Oh we should have sat down together-together yesterday and I would have probed you about all your Sino-Nipponese misadventures...

But then, I guess we were all distracted by the good food and Nigel+Allan+Unkaleong's Bangkok tales... :P

Keropok Man said...

hwah! a straw in a pau!
that's really interesting!

sejarah dunia, which edisi did u had?

laksamana cheng ho was involved in these dishes? Bringing it to Asia Tenggara? Met with the people from Sulawesi and opened up shop at the the junction that is named after the people from Sulawesi.

haha....

Lianne said...

our sejarah book or any book did not prepare us to go on makan spree like this too! hehehe where we learn from lah?

Xiu Long Bao said...

Enough said, their fried rice is totally uninspiring. For that kind of pricing in this kind of restaurant. And the...err...i was not aware that the bun skin is not supposed to be consumed. No wonder it is so darn thick.

Tummythoz said...

Haha reminds me of a foreigner who complained how tough the dried chillies were .. after he tried to chew and swallow.

team bsg said...

You got an 8.8 for grandious wet opulence but we were kinda looking forward to the silky lotus jade Princess from beyond the triple pink mountains. Maybe next time no problem for that would have been a clear 9.8 no less

Paprika said...

Nice seeing you again! Gorgeous pics. I'm a little jaded about siew long paus in this country - too much msg!

J2Kfm said...

not exactly a Jay Chou's fan, but Cowboy On the Run was one of the tune that stood out among his endless streaks of ballads, though sounds a bit funny, akin to nursery rhymes.
the fried rice looks good though, or could be your photography skills ... hmmm, deceiving ...

Precious Pea said...

牛仔很忙 uninspring? I tot it was sooo cool. Totally not Jay but yet so nice. Sniff..i like that song worrrrrr!!!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

wah jay chou songs into food reviews?? what next wor?? bring back some good old tunes..just for old time sake..an jing..gu ji..etc etc..

ai wei said...

salivating now. i wish i could have dim sum as breakfast tmr. but no way... gonna up up early n prepare to go to work... have to continue with the very dull routine... sigh

Bren Herrera said...

i want to come visit, please!!


www.flanboyanteats.com

Bren Herrera said...

i want to come visit, please!!


www.flanboyanteats.com

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Never knew the XLB had such grandiose history. Your pictures are getting better and better...quite beautiful!

fatboybakes said...

wah, lemongrass's declaration sounded like minerva mcgonagall telling her student that there transmogrification is getting better and better...

fatboybakes said...

sorry, "THEIR", not there. your pics are gorgeous, as always.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I see you've been stealing your kids' books again, FBB.

Nic (KHKL) said...

ling239, ya, yr fave! :) i really like his 'china wind' songs!!! different from the rest of the rnb thingy...

oh, i heard that 青花瓷 means vase with that kinda blue ink against the white background. that's y it's called blue and white porcelain, i guess.

ya lor, the skin was sooo chewy! then again, it's not meant to be eaten lar. hey, u went for jay's concert? i missed it...sigh!

kenny, haha! maybe i should write about my 'hide and seek' too eh? but of course, it will not be as well-written as your brilliant/sensual post. :)

ya lor! we didnt really have a chance to talk much that day. so, do let me know if you are coming down to singapore/jb, okay! weekends are fine.

and yes, the distraction! haha! the tales and the food! the glorious food! the fantastic white wine jello did it for me lar. a few more and i'll start to sing...haha!

keropok man, my edisi was 1994, i think...hehe...so brief lar, back in those days! what an interesting brown colour book hor? hehe

hehe, no lar, me thinks. that laksamana fella was more of a sea navigator than a foodie. wah, imagine how interesting bugis junction will be with a 'taste of history' promotion hor? on the other hand, me think puteri hang li po was part of the peranakan culture, right? wonder if she could handle all the spicy stuff at first...hehe

lianne, how true!!! actually, got lar..under pendidikan moral...with the muhibbah chapters and the kenduris! hehe...i guess we are born to love food lar. it came very naturally. and i think it's a blessing, definitely! ;>

xiu long bao, definitely. i almost dropped my jaw. i'm not sure thought if that's shanghainese style. felt kinda DIY to me, that's for sure. about the skin, ya, just got to know from discovery channel..hehe...but i was thankful for the window seats lar..hehe...

tummythoz, haha, that reminds me another non-related peribahasa : siapa makan cili, dia rasa pedasnya. remember that monkey cartoon rtm1 played to death? aku tak kisah, aku nak juga, the monkey said. then, that fella walloped all the chili and that drove him crazy. that cartoon still makes me laugh once in awhile..hehe

team bsg, i'm glad the little teasing worked out to be a 8.8. that is already a very grandious grade from you! as for the jade princess, she has always been my favourite and no one knows how far and wide i've climbed those delectably pink mountains just to peak and peek the princess. the effort was worthwhile. never have i seen such scapes. 9.8? 9.8+0.2, i hope.

paprika, nice seeing you again! how long has it been, huh? lol! thanks for the compliment! oh yes, i agree on the msg, definitely. no matter how exquisite or well-known a siew long pau restaurant (joints, mostly) may be, i cant help but to gulp a few glasses of water after the meal.

j2kfm, that was definitely a shocker for me! lol! never thought that jay would do a song like that. ***** for the shock...i feel..hehe...i somehow prefer his 'china wind' songs! ;)
and thank you so much for the compliment. well, i was very fortunate to be seated next to a window that day. complete with the smiling sun! :)

Nic (KHKL) said...

precious pea, you must see my first reaction when i heard that song...i couldnt believe my ears! and the dj said, that's really jay chou...well, i must say it's very bold of jay to step out of his comfort zone. kinda reminds me of the cowboy madonna last time...hehe..so hard to sing at "k" somemore..actually, all his songs are lar..hehe...u jay chou fan also?

joe, wah, you are really in da "for old time sake" zone, eh? hehe...actually, i do prefer jay chou's older songs like hei xe you mou (black temptations) and long juen fung (tornado) but guess i was blown by the 'china wind' stuff lor...hehe, at this pace we are going, it's gonna be a jay chou forum soon...hehe...

ai wei, eh, u started working while waiting for your result ar? so hardworking lar you! well, another alternative is to ta pau the dim sum the night before and reheat it for breakfast lar. or wake up earlier...hehe...ok, ok...i know, i cant do that myself either...hehe...

bren, awesome! anytime for you, babe! do let me know if you are coming over...food galore here...oh yeah, the emeril show with you in june! hope it's available here in this part of the world... keep us updated on the youtube thingy, ya! ;)

lyrical lemongrass, same here. too bad 'a taste of history' turned out to be a 'a history of taste'. ok, perhaps i should try out other dishes before i call it history, hor? and thanks for the compliment on the pics...quite beautiful only ar? haha! now i'm motivated to do even better. thanks! ;>

fatboybakes, i guess getting a declaration like that from a 'hero' is already a great booster for me. hmm, and since we are at the topic of that rich rowling, if lyrical lemongrass was minerva, does that mean i'm harry potter??...hoohoo! and if she's my photography minerva, i guess that makes you my baking minerva lor, hor? awesome!

oh, and thanks for the compliment! and u'll be surprised to know i've not watched any of the harry potter movies...and spiderman! hehe....

lyrical lemongrass, wah, u ppl really harry potter fans, eh? i wish there are people out there who would steal my books. like sejarah dunia ;>

mimid3vils said...

Can related Jay Chow's song into ur food, so creative lah u....*salute*

Nic (KHKL) said...

mimi, thank you thank you! i really enjoy his china wind creativity. plus those poetic lyrics (i understand little only since i'm a banana). great stuff! wah, u changed yr profile pic already, eh? nice!

Jun said...

were u the one who told me u din know chinese? and yet u could appreciate what jay wrote? i was never a fan until i read his lyrics, and i have to admit that i reli admire his works.

and we shud go to the actual nan xiang in shanghai, i still remember the soup bun on a cold dec afternoon... slurpy heaven!

Precious Pea said...

Not really a fan of Jay but some of his songs are pretty good. I am no.1 fan of Eason Chan!

Nic (KHKL) said...

jun, yupe, i'm a what they called a "banana". but of course, karaoke helped me abit. and translators like babelfish as well. jay chou's melodies and vincent fang's lyrics. fantastic!

wah, so nice! looks like i didnt do the authentic nan xiang justice, eh? will re-do nan xiang again, when i visit china. definitely!

precious pea, me too! me too! below the fuji mountain! shall we talk! ferris wheel of happiness! haha! cant wait to sing his songs!!! are you going for his concert on June 14?? :)

JOjo said...

So i supposed u r out from exam stress too?
So let's go out MAKAN!!! =)

Big Boys Oven said...

I just love sucking up those juices! lol!

Nic (KHKL) said...

jojo, yes, yes!!! it's about time we meet up for makan already! u sound like you're in holiday mood, eh? haha! email me lar! :)

big boys oven, hehe...it's quite salty leh...hey, i bring u there lar when u come over to sg, ok? the steamed dumpling was nice, though. :)

Precious Pea said...

R U going??? Me no kaki to go with since Hubby said he already accompanied me once to his concert 2 years back in Genting so he is not keen of going again. :(

Simon Seow said...

Let's hope i can get Eason Chan's concert ticket in Stadium Merdeka next month.

Nic (KHKL) said...

precious pea, no leh, i got some plans already that weekend...*sigh*...hey, maybe you can go with simon.

simon, if you have extra ticket, give one to precious pea lar! or ask her to join in lar! it'll be great fun! wish i can be there....