What’s so interesting about a fast casual Chinese restaurant in a new no-name mall near the ol’ Expo site? Nothing much. But when Crystyl Mo, Academy Chair for the World's 50 Best Restaurants for China and Korea says its good and calls you to step to it, you start running.
Anthony Zhao in the kitchen. This Rational oven costs more than a year's rent.
Mi Xiang Yuan is operated by Mo’s husband, Anthony Zhao, a local celebrity himself. The Shanghai native is a professionally trained chef and has cooked with some of the world's top chefs. He’s even been featured in several food shows both in China and internationally. He runs a family farm, too, which supplies some of the farm-to-table greens for his hot pot restaurant Holy Cow.
The accolades continue, but the one we’re here for today is the newest incarnation of Mi Xiang Yuan, a concept that first launched in Xintiandi over six years ago. The Xintiandi venue has since moved to Xiaomuqiao Lu. The concept is to provide delicious local classics that are made fresh and quick at affordable prices.
It’s a criteria that’s simple enough, but is sorely remiss in Shanghai. Zhao hopes to rectify that with the Mi Xiang Yuan 2.0 at the Gopher Plaza with a new age spin.
Here, they showcase high quality rice, cooked with the latest tech advances. They’ve taste tested rice varieties from all over Asia, with countless bags of rice filling up the couples’ home, before they finally settled on the Wuchang rice variety from Heilongjiang. They source directly from a farm there, making the premium rice more affordable. Meats are cooked in German Rational ovens for consistency, the rice in top of the line Panasonic cookers, and they’ve reduced ordering hassles to a mere QR code scan for the digital menu and payment function.
Kungpao Chicken (RMB35). Diced chicken, peanutes, and leek in a savory chili sauce.
Affordability and consistency are the root words of their concept. They want to offer a high quality meal for the working class for less than RMB50—sets start at RMB35 and include topping of choice, rice, sides, and soup. And while the expat market isn’t their primary focus, we do benefit from their perseverance.
Teriyaki Chicken (RMB42). You can't fault runny yolk and crispy, fried chicken coated in teriyaki sauce.
Do we like the food there? Absolutely. It's classic dishes like hongshaorou and luroufan on quality rice. It's impossible to dislike. Will we go out of our way for lunch at Gopher Plaza? Most likely not. We’d most likely to order for convenience.
Luroufan (RMB42). Diced braised pork in soy sauce topped with meat floss. It's savory, creamy, and perfect with rice.
However, the word “scalable" was punted around a few times, so expect an expansion. And should an outpost find its way closer to home, the cleaner, tastier, and less oily versions of these classics will most certainly find their way into our bellies.
What: Mi Xiang Yuan
Address: B013, B2, Gopher Plaza, 757 Mengzi Lu (near Zhongshan Nan Yi Lu) 蒙自路757号歌斐中心B213号 (近中山南一路)
You've reached the limit of allowed deals. For more information
You've reached the limit of allowed housing listing. For more information