“Shanghai” restaurants in New York City

I don’t know why, but there are so many restaurants in Manhattan Chinatown that claim to be Shanghainese. There’s Joe’s Shanghai, Shanghai Gourmet, Shanghai Asian Manor, Shanghai Asian Cuisine, just to name a few. All of them serve xiao long bao (soup dumplings). Most of them serve random Sichuanese dishes, like the hong you chao sou (Sichuanese mini spicy wontons), albeit they are not spicy at all and are actually quite sweet. That’s the problem I’m seeing with a lot of these restaurants. They try to do things they don’t know, and they replace the spice and heat with sweetness. When did spice become replaceable with sweetness? The eggplant dish was too sweet. The wonton dish was too sweet. The mapo tofu dish had absolutely no heat and was also too sweet. It’s probably one of the reasons that a lot of people who claim to hate Chinese food get mad. There are too many subpar restaurants who have goopy sweet or salty sauces that aren’t truly representative of how great and varied Chinese cuisine can be.


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