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Every since the Shouning Road crayfish street shuttered its stalls for good, I'm sure you've been wondering where your inebriated group can go to crush a few kilos of chili-coasted crustaceans. Wonder no longer friend, I have you covered.
In the far reaches of western downtown Shanghai, in the wild wooly wilderness known as Dingxi Road (I mean seriously, it's almost to Zhongshan Park, which is basically the edge of the world for those of us who live downtown) is the Dingxi Road night food street. It's basically just a little section of street at the intersection of Dingxi Road and the Yan'an Expressway, not really much of a street as much as it is a single block of restaurants doing crayfish, hot pot, noodles and other nighttime classics. Hey this is the night food desert of Shanghai...this is the best we've got.
Long xia feng bao (龙虾风暴， or literally "crayfish storm") sits right in the middle of the street. It's popular, bustling, and filled with chili odors. It's exactly what you expect from a crayfish resturant on a food street.
Dazhong dianping had a coupon for 250 CNY which gets you an order of 13-spice crayfish, an order of xia qiu, (虾球， which literallly translates as "shrimp balls" but don't be fooled, it's crayfish tails) an order of smashed cucumber in vinegar (拍黄瓜)， an order of pickled green soy beans (毛豆) and two servings of cold noodles (冷面).
If you aren't aready into Chinese spicy crayfish, this is probably not going to the experience to convince you (but maybe?), but if you are into crayfish, then this is going to hit the spot. The 13-spice crayfish was savory, spicy, oily, everything you want from your midnight snack. My girlfriend complained that some overlooked aspect of the crayfish preparation resulted in the shells being too difficult to remove, and she has more experience eating crayfish than I do, so she's probably right, but I won't take off points for that.
I regret ordering the crayfish tails as ma la (numbing and spicy), because the taste was a teensy bit samesy with the 13-spice (although obviously the 13-spice wasn't numbing), so if I went back, I would try the garlic option instead.
The side dishes were all great, and the two large servings of cold noodles meant we were stuffed at the end, (which is wise, because crayfish itself doesn't have much meat really). The green soybeans in vinegar and chilis were especially good - my spicy-and-sour loving girlfriend commented that they're just the way her grandmother used to prepare them.
With a cold beer, the total damage was just about 290, which is a touch more than you would have paid on Shouning Road in the past, but this is the reality of Shanghai street food as it stands now. With slightly better value, or a little more wow factor to the crayfish tails, I would have given it 5 stars, but as it is, I give Crayfish Storm a 4/5.
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