I stepped off the subway, shivering from the super strong air conditioning in the train. But when I walked over to this little nook on Jian Guo lu with my friend on a hot summer day (and by hot I mean HOT, HUMID, SHANGHAI kind of HOT), I was struck by the strangely addicting flavors of Shanghainese cuisine. Mmmm. I had to come back here with my mom just to taste the hong shao rou again.
Located on 328 Jian Guo Road, the name of the restaurant is pretty self-explanatory, haha. The place was established by a Taiwanese lady who has lived in Shanghai for over a decade; the food at Jian Guo 328 is claimed to be MSG-free, which caught my attention as well. It took us quite a while to find the place, but once we got to the right address, we could see the sign clearly. I was surprised by the unexpectedly hip (?) atmosphere of the place.
I liked that almost the entire menu came with English translations, and the waitress was very nice. She strongly suggested that we get their house-made iced tea, which turned out to be a pretty good choice, since it wasn’t too sweet (just the way I like it) and had a deeper flavor than store bought iced tea. Now, I’m not even close to being an expert at Chinese cuisine, so we listened to the waitress’s advice and ordered some of the dishes that were starred, aka popular!
The first time I came here with my friend, we ordered a shredded eel and shrimp dish, Morning glory (kong xin cai) for some fragrant veggies, the Hong Shao Rou pork dish, and some dates stuffed with sticky glutenous rice, which was more of a dessert (too heavy and rich for my taste, to be honest).
I thought everything was pretty amazing. To be frank, I don’t enjoy Chinese food that much because I get the impression that it can be a little too oily at times. However, all of the dishes that we ordered, although not totally guilt-free, were filled with rich flavors yet not too oily at all. Everything came out hot and fresh!
The Hong shao rou was my ultimate favorite. Quail eggs, pork (with the fatty parts, yes), tofu skin, and chestnut all bathing in rich, delicious sauce!
I liked the shredded eel and shrimp too. I thought the sauce tasted a bit like the Koreanized Chinese noodles (called Jjajiangmyun) – I guess the herbs/spices used to make the sauce are the same!
The kong xin cai was good as well. They ask you if you want them cooked with garlic, and we said yes.
On my second visit, my mom and I ordered two more dishes besides the morning glory and the hong shao rou:
This was fish spring rolls, very crispy but not too salty, which I liked. My mom’s favorite food of the day.
Overall, I think this was a good Chinese food experience, and I would definitely bring my friends here if they want to be introduced to some good Shanghainese food. Name card is stored in my purse!
Jian Guo 328
328 Jiangguo Xi Lu, near Xiangyang Nan Lu