Shanghai, China: Bo Shanghai

Chef Alvin Leung is no stranger to thinking outside the box. His innovative technique and unconventional flavor combination is what made him an overnight success. Having gained 3 Michelin stars in Hong Kong with Bo Innovation, it was only natural that he extended his repertoire into a city that is booming in the F&B scene, Shanghai.

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Chef Simon and Chef DeAille in the back row

Bo Shanghai is hemmed by not one, but two executive chefs. Simon and DeAille, who happens to be a couple in real life, were born in Beijing and Hong Kong, respectively. Their families immigrated to Toronto, Canada, which is where they spent the majority of their lives. They met in culinary school, and have been together ever since. The two of them moved to Hong Kong together to work with Chef Leung in Bo Innovation. Seeing the potential in the couple, Chef Leung decided that they were the ones to carry the torch to Shanghai. This is where the dynamic duo gets to express their own style of creativity.

Unlike Bo Innovation in Hong Kong, the menu here is straightforward and easy to comprehend. Molecular gastronomy takes a back seat, as ingredients takes central stage. In other words, don’t expect to see an edible condom on your plate.

The menu is a representation of the eight famous regional cuisines of China: Shandong, Sichuan, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan, and Anhui. The dishes are ever evolving, though the underlying theme always involve these eight provinces. In addition, the chefs like to pair the menu with another country, meaning there will be a bit of fusion in the mix, though in a good way. The menu prior was France, while the current one is Italy. We were told that the next country in the works is Japan.

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After going through the first few courses, I was presented with something that is rarely seen in the fine-dining world: century egg. Most restaurants shun this ingredient due to its alkaline, ammonia flavor; or on the contrary, due to the lack of knowledge of it. Me, on the other hand, grew up eating this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Seeing how the chefs presented the egg as the focus of the dish exhibited their fearlessness to embrace the weird, and often misunderstood, flavors of China. If you’re on the hunt for a really nice century egg, look for transparent “snow flake” patterns against the dark egg white.

The rest of the meal featured a variety of proteins, both land and sea. Each exquisite ingredient was accented by a distinct regional flavor, such as Zhenjiang vinegar, Sichuan chili, salted duck yolk, wood ear fungus, and jellyfish.

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The highlight of the meal came near the end, with a rich creamy chicken risotto. The chefs mentioned they have a secret method for concentrating the chicken stock. It’s like having 10 chickens reduced into one single bite.

Doing modern Chinese food is not new in China. But dedicating the whole restaurant to the 8 regional cuisines of China takes a bit of creativity and imagination and a lot of research. The concept payed off, as Bo Shanghai secured its first Michelin star in just 2 years.

At the time of visit
Michelin: 1 stars
Cuisine: Modern Chinese
Cost per head: 1,680 RMB (240 USD), +950 RMB wine pairing (4 wine), +10% service charge

No. 20 Guangdong Road 6F, Shanghai 200021, China
+86 21 5383 3656

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