I love Chinese food. As a family, we eat it on a regular basis. But equally, I love Americanized Chinese food.
Think Panda Express and the like.
Think General Tso’s Chicken. Walnut Shrimp. Crab Rangoon. Egg Drop Soup.
Simple, comfort food that’s sure to fill me up. Or what my Dad would call “fake Chinese food.”
Alas, since I don’t live in the US anymore, not every day can be orange chicken day and egg foo young day. Needless to say, cravings are a part of my daily life.
And while I haven’t found a worthy equivalent of Americanized Chinese in Jakarta, Cha’s in Shanghai was sufficing. Seeing the restaurant packed with mostly youngsters, and having to wait in line for about 10 minutes, we couldn’t wait to have a taste!
Pineapple Bun with Sliced Butter | 8 RMB
We opened with a little something sweet and warm: the Pineapple Bun with sliced Butter (you absolutely cannot go wrong with this pairing) – perfect to enjoy with some hot milk tea:
Cha’s Milk Tea (Hot) | 16 RMB
The menu was lengthy. I knew I couldn’t choose. I mean, how was I to choose between sweet and sour pork ribs and spicy pork? It’d be like deciding between a beige- or cream-colored blouse. You know? Thankfully, my voracious brother came with a list of recommended items from several friends who had previously sojourned in Shanghai. Here’s everything we had: fried rice, fried rice noodles, some fish, pork, tofu, eggs, and veggies.
Fried Rice with Seafood and XO Chili Sauce | 40 RMB
Yau Mak Green Vegetable Fried with Garlic | 28 RMB
Garoupa with Sweet Corn Sauce | 52 RMB
This fish with corn dish absolutely reminded of the exact same item at Nam’s Noodle in Madison – it was unbelievable! Anyone who’s lived in Madison before, you’d know what I’m referring to.
Fried Rice Noodle with Sliced Beef | 34 RMB
Cha’s Homemade Curry with Pork Chop | 52 RMB
Braised Tofu with Assorted Meat in Casserole | 46 RMB
Scrambled Egg with Shrimp | 42 RMB
A mountain of rice!
Nobody likes to admit it, but we often end up ordering too much. It’s what Indonesians term “hungry eyes” or lapar mata, meaning when you’re hungry everything attracts you, you think you can consume more than you actually can, and in the end you end up with too much.
My favorite were the Fried Rice, Yau Mak, Fried Rice Noodles, and Garoupa with Corn Sauce (for old time’s sake!). The most interesting one had to be the Curry Pork Chop – I’m sure it’s my first pork chop in curry sauce. Overall, the food was decent, and I would recommend it. It may be a place your parents may consider less authentic, but if you’re like me and you understand there’s no love like the love for Americanized Chinese food, you’d give Cha’s a chance.
Sinan Road Shop:
30 Sinan Rd
+86 21 6093 2062
Novel Place Shop:
Shop 18, B/F
131 Tianyaoqiao Road
+86 21 3461 5618
Mon – Sun: 11 AM – 1:30 AM