Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dinner With Friends

In a city with over 24 million people, Shanghai has no shortage of amazing restaurants.   Each restaurant is as unique as the city’s inhabitants.  Many restaurants cater to the communal dining experience!  I have had a great time learning about different cultures while dining with friends at these local eateries.

Korean Barbecue at Ben Jia
If your party is craving flame-broiled goodness, Korean Barbecue is the way to go!  I have gone to a couple of Korean Barbecue restaurants, but I have found that Ben Jia is my favorite.

The Korean BBQ experience starts with a bucket of hot coals placed in the middle of the table.

Then meat and veggies are grilled on a screen or grate.

Then pick a piece of lettuce...

…wrap the meat and eat!   So yummy!

Hotpot at Haidilao
If you are looking for a soupy good time, go to Haidilao Hot Pot.  Hot pot is like fondue with a sauce bar.  The fun always starts once you set foot in the restaurant.

If you don't have a reservation for Haidilao, you may have to wait for a long time.  To help pass the time, diners play board games, check their email on waiting area computers, or even get manicures!

Once seated in the waiting area, diners snack on complimentary snack food and seasonal fruit.
Once seated diners order soup and a variety of meats, veggies, and pastas from the iPad! 
Most dinners come with two soup bases.  One of my favorites is the non spicy tomato base!
After ordering, it's off to the sauce bar to create your own dipping sauce from a variety of herbs, spices, and oils.

I am a fan of sesame, so I usually mix sesame oil, sesame seeds, chives, coriander, and garlic for my dip!  Feel free to experiment; you can get a different sauce if you mess up your secret recipe.
It's dinner time!  Diners cook their food in the boiling soup!  Yummy!

A visit from the noodle man is a must for every Haidilao meal!  He will dance with and hand pull noodles for your pot!
After all that cooking, I needed a free mani!

Duck at Lao Beijing
Imagine the crispness of a fine roast chicken with the flavor of a thanksgiving turkey.  That is the flavor of roast duck! If you don’t have time to travel to the Capitol to eat duck, head to Lao Beijing to experience one of my favorite dishes in Shanghai!

Chris stuffs his wrapper with onion, cucumber and duck!!

The table side presentation reminds me of Thanksgiving!

The crisps with kiwi and duck skin are amazing!!!

Teppenyaki at Tairyo
It is difficult to beat to 200RMB all you can eat hibachi and sushi at Tairyo.  Like many hibachi restaurants in the states, the hibachi chef entertains diners with his culinary magic, however they don’t serve the white sauce that most hibachi restaurants in the states provide.  The meal includes all you can drink kirin or sake, so prepare to stuff yourself!

At Tairyo, if one person orders a dish in your party, prepare to eat it!  I always leave Tairyo stuffed!! 
Late Dinner and Bingo Night at Mr. & Mrs. Bund
Being a Midwestern Catholic, Monday Night Bingo with friends was part of my culture.  When I learned about Bingo Night at Mr. & Mrs. Bund, I had to teach my international people about one of the great games from my childhood.    Every third Thursday of the month, one can purchase a two course late dinner or drink package for 200 RMB and play bingo for some great prizes!

Many of my friends assume that Chris and I love meat and potatoes because we are American. They are right!  The truffle whipped potatoes at Mr. & Mrs. Bund are amazing!

Bingo prizes include iPads, teddy bears, luggage, cappucino makers, hotel gift certificates and other random prizes.  The grand prize is usually a motorized scooter!

There are no B-I-N-G or O's on the board, but we still call out "Bingo!" when we win!

The first time I played, I actually won a set of earbuds!

The last time we went to Bingo, our table won 4 oversized teddy bears.  One bear ended up at my place!

There are many more great restaurants in Shanghai, but in my opinion these are a good start.  Have fun dining, my friends!