Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spring Wave: Great Mall of China gets Shanghai'ed

The most unusual dish we tried was salted pork with bean curd sheets.

The Great Mall of China seems to be Shanghai ground zero these days, despite the sad departure of nearby Green Village.
Spring Wave is just a few doors down from Shanghai restaurant and across the street from the more well-known Mei Long Village. Spring Wave, which describes itself on its rudimentary website as "South East Asian fusion," isn't too crowded on a Saturday night. It's a kind of plain, modest-sized spot, with the usual glaring fluorescent lights and a medium-sized menu -- not as long as Green Village, but packed with plenty of Shanghai specialties.
Though I had heard the fish with pine nuts was good, we had to skip it since I'm terrified of pine nuts now -- I spent all last week with a horrible taste in my mouth, possibly the dreaded "pine mouth."
We passed up the usual Shanghai specialties like chicken with chestnuts and Wuxi spareribs to try a few other dishes. Pepper beef is exactly what it sounds like, tender slices of beef in a soy glaze with plenty of black pepper, a very simple but well-executed dish similar to Vietnamese shaking beef.House special crispy tofu starts with pillowy fried tofu cubes, then adds sliced leeks, preserved black beans, and a medium-spicy sauce. The result is irresistible spooned over rice -- I only wish there had been enough for leftovers the next day.

A steamer full of dumplings arrived, on the house. They weren't the very best xiaolongbao I've ever had, but they were definitely the best free ones! We were pretty hungry, and though the wrappers were a bit thick, they tasted just fine.
I love bean curd sheets -- they feel like eating noodles without the doughy fullness -- but I had no idea how salted pork with bean curd sheets (photo at top) would be presented. It turned out to be slices of smoky ham atop a pile of bean curd sheets, sprinkled with sliced red peppers and scallions in a refreshing clear broth. It didn't resemble any Chinese dish I've had before, and yet it tasted hauntingly authentic, a pure representation of Chinese cooking with no influence from the West at all. The simple but flavorful dish perfectly complemented the other two dishes which had more familiar soy-based sauces.
I have no idea if Spring Wave is one of the best Shanghai restaurants near the corner of Del Mar and Valley, but I know we were quite pleased with everything we had and will definitely return -- hopefully with a large group like the dozen hungry teenagers next to us who seemed to order everything intriguing on the menu.
Spring Wave
140 W Valley Blvd., Suite 209
San Gabriel
(626) 571-1178


Donna - Dishy Goodness said...

Hi, Pat! Glad you found Spring Wave as tasty as I did! I am running a bit behind on my posts, but I'm definitely going to blog about my delicious meal there, too. So much good food in the Great Mall of China now! I must confess Mei Long Village used to be our "go-to" spot for Shanghai food...but that was before finding Shanghai Restaurant and then Spring Wave.

My next recommendation: Shufeng Garden for Szechuan food. In the Great Mall of China, as well, in the old location of Shanghai Restaurant.

mattatouille said...

Very cool! I still need to wander through all the amazing SGV restaurants I haven't been to. There is just an endless number of them. Thanks for pointing this one out, food looks great.

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Pat,

Thanks for the great review. :) I'll have to try this place out the next time I visit my SGV Hounds.

SinoSoul said...

The problem with the menu is that it's not quite Shanghainese. The chef/owner kept on telling us it was jia chang cai (家長菜) - home style cooking - when I asked what to order.

At these prices, I'd rather literally cook it all at home, w/o the MSG, w/o the oil. Every dish came out rather ho-hum, excepted for the fried duck. Then again, it's fried duck! I give this place 9 more months, tops.

Mei Long has lost its Shanghainese badge long ago. There is one actual Shanghainese joint, manned by SHA FOH, and a team of SHA chefs, on Valley, except I can't remember the English name right now.

Great write up as always!

Unknown said...

they improve their menu,cause they heired a new chef,who is the former chef of green village restaurant,which was a famous shanghainese restaurant in great mall of china