Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Shang Palace

Shang Palace
Shangri La Hotel
Fine Dining
Tel: 04 343 8888

Having spent ten years in Hong Kong I feel pretty well qualified to comment on good, bad or indifferent Chinese food and restaurants and the Shang Palace is, in my opinion, the best and most authentic Chinese food in Dubai.

Shang Place is up on the mezzanine floor of the Shangri La hotel on the Sheikh Zayed Road. In has a sort of rotunda in the middle which is the no smoking area and the pale yellow lighting, the goldy colours o the wall, the wooden floor boards all create a pleasant warm atmosphere.

The staff here are predominantly mainland Chinese and are marshalled by the very capable and friendly maitre d Joe who hails from Xian where the famous terracotta warriors are based. The head chef is from Hong Kong and if there is something not on the menu that you fancy you are well advised to ask as generally they will be able to do it for you.

Diners are always presented with two menus, one being the regular fare and the other being the specials. Now, call me churlish, but in the last few times we have eaten there over six months or so the specials haven’t changed at all so I don’t really know why they keep it.

The style of Chinese food in this restaurant is Cantonese, which is not that surprising given that the chef is from Hong Kong. Cantonese food can be a little bland to those that prefer heavier flavours but the combinations are very carefully worked and thought out.

There is a small ‘dim sum’ selection on the menu with sadly only the really well known staples like shrimp dumplings (har gow) and steamed bbq buns (char siu bau).

One of the tings that I really like about this restaurant is the selection of authentic Chinese teas. Usually ‘gweilos’ only get offered jasmine tea but I am a big fan of the richer, red teas like bo lay and pu’er, both of which feature. Other green teas available include (from memory) chrysanthemum, an acquired taste but very delicate, and tee kung yam. It’s worth trying a couple of different ones to see what you like. The red teas go better with heavier spicy food like Sichuan, and the light delicate teas go very well with Cantonese style cooking.

If you are looking for excellently cooked and presented southern Chinese style food I heartily recommend this restaurant.


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