New & Noted: The Long House

What: A taste of Southeast Asia
Where: The Long House. Unit 105, 1-2F, Block 7, Cool Docks, Lane 505 Zhongshan Nan Lu. T: 6131 3238
Why: Because Penang is too far away

Despite their geographic proximity, Malaysia and Singapore have been underrepresented in Shanghai’s dining scene. Or, even worse, restaurateurs piggy-backing on the country’s culinary reputations have delivered unimpressive knock-offs. Enter The Long House. Named after the homes of tribesmen in the Borneo rainforest, it brings authentic Southeast Asian flavours to Shanghai.

The dining room is decked out in cool green tones, with a window into the kitchen that wafts out the scent of banana leaves and roasting meats. This is the type of restaurant where you shouldn’t be afraid to go off book, ordering beyond the typical satay and laksa.

Entrees come out tapas style, and you can easily make a meal out of just the first half of the menu. The sambal bilis (RMB 26), a traditional dish of dried anchovies, smacks of chilli paste that is tempered by raw red onions and julienned cucumber is a must try. Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike can also get down with the deep fried beancurd (RMB 38); the soft tofu is mixed with egg and herbs until it becomes custard-like, then battered with a light tempura-like breading.

The ‘special’ calamari fillet (RMB 28) is coated in a curiously addictive combination of seaweed, cookie crumbs and curry powder, giving a taste that is both spicy and sweet. The texture of the breading is almost granular, a gritty sand-like texture that melts into the squid is delectable, and you’ll find yourself craving for more.
But of all the dishes, we have to give the most credit to their lemongrass tea (RMB 45) - and that’s not a slight on the menu. Just one sip of this floral elixir of pandan leaves, rock sugar and lemongrass, and you’ll be addicted too.

Located right in the centre of the Cool Docks, The Long House’s rooftop terrace will be the best people-watching spot in town when the mercury starts to rise – especially if you’re into ogling the bodies down at the Bund Beach. With a jungle of banana leaves and a shaokao master grilling seasonal specialties, you’ll feel like you’re actually in Borneo. And it’ll taste like it too.

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