Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Macau - 456 Modern Shanghai Cuisine 四五六新派滬菜


The Shanghai 456 restaurant chain is quite famous in Macau. That's actually where the Shanghai 456 in Edmonton got its name because the chef/owner used to work for the chain. So I was very excited to be trying "the real thing" at the chain's newest venture, 456 Modern Shanghai Cuisine at The Venetian. The food here is definitely a notch above the Edmonton knockoff, but I suspect it doesn't measure up to the original flagship location at Hotel Lisboa. Xiao long bao (南翔小籠包: $28 MOP ~ $3.70 CAD) was the first thing I ordered because these little soup dumplings are so representative of Shanghainese dim sum. The skin was thin and almost translucent, but it didn't break and kept the tasty soup intact.


The Sichuan dumplings (四川紅油抄手: $42 MOP ~ $5.60 CAD) were not as spicy as expected. The sauce was savoury and the chili oil had a nice kick, but there was no depth to the flavour and it just felt like something was missing. These dumplings were still better than anything you could find in Edmonton though, for sure.


The dried veggie and salty pork congee (菜乾咸豬骨粥: $38 MOP ~ $5 CAD) was fluffy and the meat added a subtle richness. Congee is really just comfort food, and this one was pretty standard, so there were no surprises here. A warm bowl of congee in the morning really made me feel good though.


The meal ended with pickled ginger, lotus seed paste and preserved egg pastry (糖薑蓮蓉皮蛋酥: $25 MOP ~ $3.30 CAD). I know it doesn't sound like a dessert and probably doesn't even sound appetizing to the uninitiated, but this warm and flaky pastry was actually quite good. The filling was a sweet, smooth and creamy lotus seed paste, complemented by bits of piquant pickled ginger and savoury preserved egg. These three ingredients made a pretty fitting combination.


The restaurant has a prime location in St. Mark's Square at The Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes. The large open space offers plenty of "outdoor" seating under the beautiful ceiling of blue skies and white clouds. It's really something else to be sitting in a Venetian-themed shopping mall in a former Portuguese colony enjoying authentic Shanghainese cuisine.

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