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Amazing Hunan food and among the best spareribs in Shanghai

It seems like often when we go to Shanghai we tend to gravitate to high-end Western dining. While certainly I never get bored of sky high Bund dining and glamorous cocktails, on this particular evening I had a hankering for something a bit more local. So when my friend Joerg who has been in Shanghai for about 5 years offered to show me his favourite spareribs in town, I said “let’s go!”

We hopped in a cab and headed over to the French Concession area of Shanghai to Di Shui Dong, a Hunan style restaurant which is a long time favourite of locals and expats alike. One of the eight regional cuisines of China, Hunan cuisine is often compared to Sichuan, but it relies more on chillies, shallots and garlic rather than the unique and toungue-lashingly hot Sichuan peppercorn. Still Hunan cuisine is not for the faint of heart, but that makes the accompanying Tsing Tao beer taste even better 😉

Of course the spareribs were a must try and did not disappoint. Coated with herbs and tender to the point of falling off the bone, it’s easy to see why the Zin Ran spareribs (58RMB) are a local favourite.

Next up we tried the Mandarin Fish with Pine Nuts & Sweet and Sour Sauce (98 RMB) and Mao’s Quick Fired Shrimp. Both presented super fresh seafood, expertly prepared and beyond delicious.

And to compliment the abundance of proteins, we ordered the Sizzling Eggplant. Now I love eggplant and this was perhaps one of the most addictive eggplant dishes I have had in a long while, rich yet not heavy.

Joerg was right. Di Shui Dong had perhaps the most succulent spare ribs in Shanghai. But more than that, everything was amazing and presented at surprisingly low prices for such skillfully prepared, classic Hunan cuisine.

Note: the staff hardly speaks any English, but the menu has English and photos so you can point. Also, the toilets only have squatty pottys – consider yourself warned.

Di Shui Dong
56 Mao Ming South Road, 2nd Floor
(by Change Le Road)
Shanghai, China
Telephone: +86 (21) 6253 2689

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