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June 23, 2019

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The first ‘journey to the west’ for many in Shanghai

DEDA is one of the oldest Western restaurants in Shanghai, dating back to 1897. It’s the iconic, nostalgic venue for the older generation of locals. It’s where they had their first taste of Western food or went on their first date.

The Western food the Huangpu District restaurant has been serving for more than a century is originally inspired by German cuisine but also influenced by French, Russian and Italian.

It has been famous for adapting European food to local tastes — typical Shanghainese versions.

It opened as the Cosmopolitan Restaurant in 1897 on Tanggu Road. Now, it is on busy Nanjing Road W. in an old two-story building. Another branch is on Yunnan Road S.

The façade and the interior are reminiscent of old Shanghai, with nostalgic posters and lamps. The Shanghainese service staff generally speak the local dialect, so don’t expect a modern Western food outlet. It is peculiar in its own way.

On my recent visit, both floors were packed with locals and tourists with the staff busy changing tables. It’s an iconic venue to serve international tourists as the “must-go” place in the city for an authentic Shanghainese cultural experience.

The menu keeps its original signature dishes that have stood the test of the time. The iconic dishes include potato salad, borscht, deep-fried pork chop, baked crab with cheese, baked chicken stew in Portuguese style, German-style roasted pork knuckle and sausage.

The prices are incredibly low to keep their old customers and to attract young people. The Shanghainese borscht is only 15 yuan and the pork chop 25 yuan.

My dinner started with the borscht and it immediately brought me back to my childhood when locals used to cook a lot at home. Shanghainese borscht is made with tomatoes and cabbage instead of red beets. It was authentically local as a comforting starter.

The deep-fired pork chop is a must. It’s probably every Shanghainese’s favorite and Deda makes it well. It’s a chopped-up, pounded and tenderized, deep fried pork. Dipping each bite in the Worcestershire sauce is the right way to enjoy it.

I also liked the German-style roasted salted pork knuckle and sausage with sauerkraut.

Westerners will not find the dishes authentically Western. But Deda is all about a nostalgic Shanghainese experience.

Opening hours: 11am-1pm, 5pm-8:30pm
Tel: 6321-3810
Address: 473 Nanjing Rd W.
Average price: 80 yuan


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