Walking into Nanjing Da Pai Dang was like walking back in time. Located at the top floor of high end mall, known as Nanjing Deji Plaza Shopping Centre, I found it intriguing that walking into the restaurant made me felt like I was in a totally different place, chronologically too!
The workers were all dressed in ancient traditional outfits, and the tables and chairs were all wooden, squarish, petite. The restaurant’s walls, pillars and ceilings were centred on wooden structures. The cutleries and utensils also turned back in time. Not to mention, traditional music players were stationed in the middle of the restaurant, and they were playing their stringed instruments as the patrons dined. What was lacking was that, I should have come with a cheongsam or a samfu, then I would have totally matched the scene!
This salted duck dish, was a traditional classic Nanjing dish. Duck soaked in brine. Omgosh. Kicked ass. Tender, tender, tender meat. Thumbs up! I had trained up to skip rice even when the dishes are very salty, so I could do without rice even for this, but I reckon many will enjoy this even more with rice!
The “Shi Zi Dou”, literally means ” Lion’s Head”, the name itself baffled me a little. It looked nothing like a lion! Just a really, really, large pork ball served in pork broth. Beware guys! Fattylicious! And one Lion’s Head could really fill up your tummy nice and full. Phew, if we had ordered more than 1, our tummies would literally be chewed up by the “lions”!
Several more traditional Nanjing dishes, the steamed dumplings, which pretty much resembled xiao long baos, the taste was pretty good. But they could not match the XLBs we had at the little stall opposite Somerset Suites in Shanghai.
The stewed 3 layered pork, was pretty impressive too. Tender beyond words. Fattylicious – ain’t suitable for the dieters and faint hearted. I could feel my LDLs and cholesterol sky rocketing up by the minute.
This dish! By far was my favourite Nanjing dish of all. Partly because I was already biased. Out of the 3 ingredients, 2 are my favourites. 1) lotus roots 2) sticky sweetened sauce. If the holes in between the lotus roots were stuffed with meat rather than rice, I might have loved it 150%. But glutinous rice matched well too. The starchiness and sweetness of the rice, made it really nice to chew along with the softened, sweetened lotus roots.
Total damage was about RM 60, inclusive of 1 bottle of beer. Not bad at all! I would have ended up paying nearly RM100 over back in Malaysia.
This restaurant is absolutely worthy for foodieventurers and I would recommend anyone who is visiting Nanjing to give this restaurant a go!
The only downside is that, the place is so packed and the tables are closely positioned to maximise the business capacity, so if you have rowdy neighbours like I did (throwing rubbish on the floor, digging toes, spitting, yikes!), then it could irk you a little. But, if you are fine with all that, then focusing only on the food quality aspect, it is 100% worthy !
Nanjing Da Pai Dang,
Plaza Shopping Center