Friday, July 8, 2011

Lao ShangHai

Location: 2163 South China Place
Cost: Around $15 per person

Since I've started writing there's been a consistent grumbling among my followers. People just can't seem to find a good Chinese delivery restaurant. We've tried plenty at our apartment, but a few weeks back I think we found our place. So it was my birthday, but we couldn't really celebrate much since my board exam was only three days away. Studying was at an all time high, and celebrations were all being delayed until after my test. Josh, Ricky, and Schneider still couldn't have me go without any kind of celebration. Schneider started searching through Grub Hub for something to order in and said that there was some place called Lao ShangHai that was well rated. I'd heard of it before because it has the same owner as Lao Sze Chuan, but I couldn't imagine some restaurant in China Town would deliver all the way north to Lincoln Park (but they did!).

Knowing that the drive alone would take a while for the delivery guy, we ordered our food at 6:15 PM. They said the food would get there by 7:00 PM which I couldn't imagine being true. So 7:05 roles around, and we hadn't heard from the delivery guy. I then realized that Schneider, who had placed the order, was asleep and didn't notice his phone had been ringing. I looked out the window, and sure enough the delivery guy had been standing there for a while. The lesson here being that if you order early enough and keep your phone on you, you can get your food in time for dinner.

The cost is on par with most Chinese places in the city. Appetizers are around $5, and entrees float around $10. The portions are plentiful, and we had leftovers for a few days.

The Food
We got a couple of appetizers including veggie egg rolls, the pork egg rolls, and the crab rangoon. The soup was cheap but we decided it was a bit too hot outside for that. For a simple dish made of fried cream cheese in a wonton wrapper you'd think that good crab rangoon would be easy to come by, but it's not really. I though this one was near the top of my list. It had a subtle sweetness to it. The egg rolls were pretty average, and the veggie was more like a spring roll.

The Pork (left) and Veggie (right) Egg Rolls

 The Crab Rangoon

We went family style splitting the Beef with Pea Pods, the Smoked Tea Duck, the General Tso's Chicken, the Garlic Shrimp, and the Combination Fried Rice. I was most excited about ordering the duck, but it was a miss for us. It came out pretty salty and a bit dry. Otherwise things were fantastic. The beef with pea pods had a good balance of key ingredients and a nice savory brown sauce that wasn't too thick or runny. The General Tso's wasn't as fried as I'm used to (especially when our old frat chef Jacobo was cooking), but the flavors and kick were there. The Garlic Shrimp was probably the best thing. It had a whole lot of other vegetables, but the shrimp kept its starring role. Schneider can be really picky about his fried rice, but he was happy with this one. It wasn't too dry or too oily, and a good amount of the grains had a gentle crisp.

The Beef with Pea Pods

The General Tso's Chicken

The Garlic Shrimp

 The Combination Fried Rice

So far Lao ShangHai takes the cake for Chinese delivery food in Chicago. It's hard to come by, and even though they're in China Town, they go all over the city. Most everything was delicious, especially the garlic shrimp. Really though, they had me with a solid crab rangoon. I'm giving them 4 out of 5 Pearls.

Lao Shanghai on Urbanspoon


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