In May, I went on an ultra-short hop back to Shanghai to celebrate my sister’s high school graduation/birthday and oh man. OH MAN. Nothing really brings into perspective how much you desire cuisine from one location until you’re there for a very limited amount of time. I stuffed myself on sushi, then stuffed myself on Thai, then stuffed myself on baozi and then cried on the inside when I didn’t get to stuff myself on more. Too many boxes to tick, to little time to tick them.
The one thing I was able to remember to get pictures of before throwing it down my gullet was my sister’s choice for birthday lunch – and just looking at them again makes my insides wobble in longing.
Yolota is a Taiwanese-style noodle shop that, I believe, only exists in Shanghai. It was probably started up by a Taiwanese expat – they’re great at doing that kind of thing here. There’s four or five Yolotas in the city, but I think this one, in Pudong’s Kerry Parkside, is the newest.
They do a very decent niu rou tang mian (beef noodle soup). Well, actually, they do several very decent niu rou tang mians, including:
Besides giant bowls of noodles, there was also a couple of great Taiwanese side dishes:
I’ve realized recently that I haven’t been very clear, even to myself, about why I miss the food in Shanghai so much. It’s not that you can’t find decent Chinese food abroad anymore… Rather, it’s that there is so much breadth and depth to “Chinese” food and I love it all. What Cambridge and London lack aren’t decent Chinese places, it’s the ability to decide what kind of Chinese you want that day. If all I’d like is Sichuan and a smattering of dim sum, I’m all set here. If what I’m really craving is a decent lu rou fan followed up by some chua bing, or malatang, or dao xiao mian… eh, good luck with that.
I guess it’s what happens when you grow up on the food of people that haven’t been rich for long enough (i.e. New York has had wealthy Japanese people traipsing over there since the late 70s, so it’s got amazing and authentic sushi restaurants) and, as China gets to travel more, the whole world will be better able to learn the difference between Shanghai and Shandong, Yunnan and Hunan. There’s some promising signs – a place called “Wulumuchi” doing Uighur dishes recently popped up near Leicester Square – so maybe I’ll soon be laughing about the days when I couldn’t get my hands on oyster basil omelets. Kind of like how I do now about Cal-Mex whenever I’m at Cantina Agave.
In the meantime, every trip to Shanghai is a reason to indulge in this:
Must. Stop. Slobbering.
Yolota (友乐达) // Store 05A, Floor B1, Pudong Kerry Centre, 1378 Huamu Lu 浦东新区花木路1378号浦东嘉里城B1楼05A号 // telephone: 8621 – 50150757