I’ve been told multiple times by different people that Old Jesse is a restaurant that I must never miss out in Shanghai – you’re lucky if you could even get a table if you don’t call days in advance! I’m talking about the original store at Tian Ping Road that is. The restaurant has since expanded to several locations… but old is gold. Moreover, there was a really cheap clothes boutique right beside it and you could see all the ladies settling in there while waiting for their tables to be ready. Touted to serve up the most authentic Shanghainese food that you can find in Shanghai, I must say that not all dishes are palatable to me. Well, that’s authenticity for you I guess! Most of the time, my mum and I were peering over at other tables to see what the locals order as the menu was really extensive and they all sounded similar! I didn’t take note of the prices, but they were really affordable, like the usual Crystal Jade Kitchen’s pricing. Read on to find out what dishes I love.
Salted Chicken (咸鸡）- A traditional Shanghainese starter, or a must-order, the chicken was served cold. No offence, but to me, it was not fantastic. The chicken was not meaty and I’m just not a fan of having my chicken cold.
Grandma’s Stewed Pork Belly (阿嬷红烧肉) – Don’t dismiss this fatty goodness! I’m usually averted to pork bellies, but this was too good to resist. Upon serving, you could smell this fabulous aroma of the sauce. Dark, sticky and sweet, the sauce was an absolute winner. There were easily over 10 pieces of pork belly, but my mum and I just went on and on. 赞!
Stir-fry River Prawns (炒河虾) – Another one of my favourites! The prawns were tiny but they were so meaty and compact. The gravy made it even more smooth and silky, you’d just gobble them down tirelessly. Goes absolutely well with vinegar too! Oh, how I miss this.
Vegetable with Beancurd Skin – There were lots of vege options and I would highly encourage you to order a vege dish. I found that veges in China are especially fresh, sweet and crunchy (though a little oil).
Onion Oil Handmade Noodles (葱油拉面) – After dozens of bowls of these from Imperial Treasure and Crystal Jade, I’ve finally tried the true-blue Shanghainese version of it! It was gratifying. One bowl was about $5 and could easily feed 2! Skip your usual white rice for this, I would say.
Would I recommend Old Jesse? Yes, most definitely. Does it make me love Shanghainese food? Maybe not. With so many different cuisine choices of stellar quality in Shanghai, I tried to switch up the variety of restaurants I visit throughout the trip.
Old Jesse (Lao Ji Shi) 老吉士
41 Tianping Rd, Xuhui, Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 21 6282 9260