I heard that someone had the crazy idea to bring American style Chinese food to China and I just had to go and investigate. It’s either a really dumb idea, or pure genius!
Fortune Cookie is located on the fourth floor of the building that houses Piro (American), Vedas (Indian) and Xibo (contemporary Xinjiang), so it’s starting to become a bit of a destination. I guess the first thing that struck me was how clean and modern the place was. For some reason, I was expecting an older, run down joint, maybe because whenever I see Chinese restaurants in American TV shows, they’re usually a bit tatty.
It’s not a big place, or at least, it doesn’t look very big, but I didn’t have a look around the corner – perhaps there’s more seating round there. I’m not sure if they can accommodate larger groups. I didn’t notice any tables that could seat more than 4-6 people, but I’d be keen to know if they can accommodate a larger group, because almost all of my friends now want to try it.
I’m not very knowledgeable about American Chinese food and perhaps some of the classic dishes would generate more excitement if I was American, but nevertheless, I really liked the place and the concept. They even have those iconic take out cartons which I have never seen anywhere other than American TV shows, so I couldn’t resist taking one home.
What’s on offer is a selection of dishes you might find in a Chinese restaurant in the United States, including shrimp toast, sweet and sour pork, moo shu pork (a dish I’ve heard about many times but never come across before), Kung Pao chicken, pot stickers (fried dumplings) and orange chicken. And of course, no Chinese meal in America is complete without a fortune cookie!
I cannot vouch for “authenticity”, the food was tasty and well prepared (and of course, you won’t find a bone of any kind in any of the dishes!). The bigger surprise for me was the service. For a place that’s been open barely a month, the service was excellent. All the servers seemed to be in a cheerful, almost playful mood, which was very consistent with the place in general – it’s hard not to smile when you’re there, even if you’re not one of the many homesick American diners who were just so deliriously happy to have discovered a piece of back home in downtown Shanghai. It reminds me of a time I saw some English people in the food section of Marks & Spencer in Shanghai.
So overall then, I was very impressed with Fortune Cookie and can’t wait to go back for a repeat visit to try some of the dishes I wasn’t able to try the first time.
4/F, 83 Changshu Lu, near Julu Lu
Tel: (021) 6093 3623