★ 狮子林面馆 (ShiZiLin Noodle House) - Shanghai
ShiZiLin Noodle House is conveniently located across the street from the Shanghai Grand Hyatt which I was staying at during my last visit. It is a authentic SuJou style noodle chain store with various locations available in the city. ShiZiLin literally mean "Lion Forest", it is one of the four major gardens in the city of SuJou located further inland from the city of Shanghai. During my first visit I ordered the first item on their menu, the 辣肉面 (spicy meat noodles).
The Soup - is a very thin, very lightly flavored soy sauce flavored soup. Surprising since the soup's dark brown color made it look saltier than it actually is. I'm so used to the ramen from Japan, Taiwan and SE Asia where the soup is packed with complex flavors, compared to that this soup almost tasted like water. The oil on the soup is most likely from the spicy meat and not the soup.
The Noodles - are thin straight nooldes cooked firm. This is one area that Shanghai noodles never seems to fail, the noodles are firm and chewy, while they don't pack a lot of flavors if you eat them with the spicy meat it's just right.
The Toppings - are spicy meat, that's it. Spicy meat are small pieces of pork, marinated in a sweet soy sauce and cooked with red chile oil. Not a whole lot of spices are used and it tastes very simple. More than being spicy, the meat tastes very sweet, which I found out is a signature of Shanghai cuisine.
Overall - a very simple noodle soup that is a good representation of what Shanghai ramen is like. Lightly flavored soup with toppings that are on the sweet side. For $9RMB (about $2.25) this ramen is slightly on the expensive side, but the portions are quite large. Located in PuDong area, across the street from JingMao Tower where the Grand Hyatt Shanghai hotel is located.