Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating: no
Food Quality: 4 out of 5
Decor: 4 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5
Recommendation: Good Shanghainese Cuisine in Modern Dining Space
"Shanghai Shanghai" is an upper-mid level restaraunt that offers authentic Shanghainese Cuisine from its multiple locations in Taipei. "Shanghai Shanghai" offers an extensive menu with classic dishes like Dong Puo Pork and Wu Xi Ribs. For those who don't know or can't decide, they also have recommended family set meals where you get appetizers, dishes, soup and dessert for a price of $2550 NT for 3 people. They also provide lunch sets for 450 NT a person. In terms of their a la carte menu, most dishes average around 450 NT, but seafood and beef items tend to cost more. "Shanghai Shanghai" offers a classy Chinese family dining experience with a family friendly price tag.
We ordered the 3 person family style set meal, which includes all of the items shown in the pictures below except for the little basket baos and red bean cake.
We also got an order of basket baos. These are the little soup carrying dumplings that are really famous at Ding Tai Fong. Still, if you want to eat these things you should go to Ding Tai Fong, cuz they have better skin and a more savory filling. These were just ok, and they only gave us one sauce bowl to share, so obviously this is not a primary dish here. This is a famous item in Shanghainese cuisine so I thought i'd give it a try here. However, these basket baos only lost to Ding Tai Fong by a narrow margin.
This dish is the abalone mushroom stir fried with beef. It tastes just like the soy saucy look to it. Slightly spicy slightly sweet thick soy sauce covers the ingredients to this dish. They are united by this coating of flavor, but the mushroom has a more hard and stringy texture., while the beef is more chewy. Also, each bite of beef has that red meat bovinity infused in it which make carnivores scrunch with joy.
They also had a pumpkin soup. The broth itself seemed like chicken, and it was cooked with pumpkin so the result was a soup of thick consistency with a slightly sour hint of pumpkin. They also added some of the popping peas for color, and the round circular things are this wierd crunchy things that I am guessing is fish maw, or some sort of vegetable that has the same texture as fish maw. They added no flavor, but were mainly there for the crunchy texture.
Lastly, the dessert that comes with the meal is a fruit plate consisting of a slice of watermelon and a wedge of orange. Also, you get a red bean soup. The red bean soup was more dense in the red bean so the chalkiness is suffused throughout. They also added some forbidden/purple rice into this dish so there is something extra to chew on as you down the bowl of sugar and beans. This is better than the average red bean soup deserts you will find as a staple at most chinese restaurants.
Not completely satisfied, we also ordered this desert. It is called the Red Bean Loose Cake. This was Chiang Kai Shek's wife's favorite desert, which says a lot of this item because she must have had the fortune to taste a wide array of delicacies. The base is not flour, but glutinous rice. It is very soft and Q, and not chewy as you would imagine rice products would be. The rice base is mixed with sugar so the cake itself is a little sweet. They added sweetened red beans and peas. The version they brought out here was dryer than I would have liked. If you would like to try this classic Shanghainese desert you should order the ones at Ding Tai Fong instead of this one here. It's sad that the Red Bean Food House failed on the Red Bean Layer Cake. What a disgrace to their name. Despite a fail or two for their family set meal, the overall quality of food, decor, and service puts them in the upper eschalon of the traditional Chinese family dining options in Taipei.
For those who would like to try this restaurant but deem a 850 NT per person price tag to be rather steep, try coming during the lunch time. They offer business lunches for two or three costing 450 NT a person. The business lunch is 2 dishes 1 soup for two people or 3 dishes and 1 soup for three. These value lunches also come with desert. Lunch time is a great time to try out restaurants which have a steeper Dinner Menu.
 I don't like the fact that they named their restaurant "Shanghai Shanghai." What a great way to trivialize your restaurant by giving it such a stereotypically bad english asian sounding name. Good, Good. Bad, Bad. No, No. Sorry, Sorry. Shanghai, Shanghai. In Chinese they are literally called Red Bean Food House. And they have this long poem on their website describing the reason behind the name. Basically, the idea is to recreate Shanghainese cuisine in Taiwan after the civil war caused some Shanghainese people to migrate to Taiwan. They chose to follow in the spirit of the red bean, which has the power to sprout up anew. So they hope that shanghainese cuisine will once again spring up on this island like the red bean through them. That is why it's sad that they messed up a red bean dish.