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Dining in the glory days of Old Shanghai

By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Angela Cheng

(04) 2220-1391
161, SanMin Rd, Sec 3, 2F, North Dist. (Chung Yo Department Store, Building 'C')
Hours: Mon-Fri 11 am-10 pm; Sat-Sun 10:30am-10pm
English menu available.
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.

One of the most lasting impressions left by any city in the early 20th century was that of Shanghai, whose exotic, cosmopolitan East-meets-West stew of humanity, images and intrigue continues to inspire today. Arguably one of the best Taiwan places to immerse yourself in Old Shanghai, 1924 Shanghai has been around for 19 years, testament to not only its amazing, nostalgic ambiance but also its excellent Shanghai-style cuisine.

1924 Shanghai Restaurant 1924 Shanghai Restaurant
Right: Stir-Fried Eel with Leeks (NT$390)

Two years ago, the restaurant moved to a new, larger location about 100 meters further down the Art Museum Parkway. Walk through the classic entryway and you're greeting by waitresses clad in traditional 'qipao' (cheongsam) dresses. The first floor's red-leather chairs, dark-wood floors, framed black-and-white photos from Shanghai's previous heyday and other vintage decor is already impressive, but don't pass up the second and third floors, each with its own striking Old Shanghai vibe--the second floor with black-leather booth-style seating, old hanging lamps and white marble-topped tables, and the third floor of dark velvet drapes, white walls, high-backed chairs, big round tables and other touches. Besides a variety of tables, various classy private rooms for small and larger groups of up to 80 are available.

1924 Shanghai Restaurant 1924 Shanghai Restaurant
Lefe: Dong-Puo Style Stewed Pork (NT$390)
Right: Mixed Vegetables and Peking Salty Ham Casserole (NT$240)

Such a setting needs proper accompanying cuisine and Chef Su Mao-chang delivers, investing his skill and quality ingredients into a full range of famous, traditional Shanghai-style dishes. A top pick here is the Dong-Puo Style Stewed Pork (NT$390), a Chinese classic that is carefully handmade by Chef Su. Other stand-out favorites include the Stir-Fried Eel (NT$390), available with or without leeks, Stir-Fried Winter Vegetables with Tofu (NT$220), and Braised Carp with Scallions (NT$280). For a soup, try the Mixed Vegetables and Peking Salty Ham Casserole (NT$320 small, NT$500 large) and a savory trademark dessert here are the Green Bean Paste Cakes (NT$30/piece).

A great, reasonably-priced way to sample the many offerings here is the NT$480 weekday individual set meals, with three dishes, a soup, dessert and drink. For bigger gatherings, there are a range of set meals, from a NT$2,800 four-person set to NT$7,200-NT$12,800 10-person meals that include eight dishes and soup. Whatever the size of your dining party, 1924 Shanghai promises you a delightful journey back in time to the "Paris of the East"

1924 Shanghai Restaurant 1924 Shanghai Restaurant
Left: Steamed Pork Soup Dumplings (NT$150)
Right: Shanghai Style Preserved Vegetables with Rice (NT$30/bowl)

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