One restaurant's name kept cropping up as the most authentic in Shanghai whenever I talked to locals, friends who had visited Shanghai, or when I searched online: Jesse. It's actually a small chain, but I was invited one evening to the original, by chef Austin Hu of Madison, and we were joined by a great group of expat and local chefs, food writers and enthusiastic eaters.
Staggering food. So many new dishes, flavours and textures. Pungent fermented tofu (left) was not, I have to admit, one of my favourites, but the tofu skin salad (right) was great.
Another challenging dish, drunken crab: raw crab marinaded in shaoxing wine. I've read some reports that the live crabs are literally drowned in the rice wine. Not such a bad way to go, I suppose. Most disconcerting was the fizziness of the resulting raw crab meat, fizziness usually being one of nature's warning signs that something is no longer edible.
… which be followed by far too many cocktails.