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  • Atmosphere: The House of Lilies is situated at the top floor of a big shopping compound on Century Avenue. It is one of my two favorite Dim Sum restaurants in Shanghai. This restaurant has a really high ceiling and a panoramic window facing the east to offer broad day light to the entire venue.  The restaurant lives up to its name by placing a big and fresh white lily bouquet right at the center of the restaurant.  This is how every Sunday morning should be spent, dim sum with a cup of warm tea by the window and a nicely trimmed bouquet exuding refreshing flowery scents in the air.

    Food: Everything looked delicious in the menu and we ended up ordering a bit too much. First, I had my usual har gao (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork dumplings). The har gao had mini bamboo shoots in it to give the perfectly steamed dumplings another layer of chewy texture. The siu mai had an excellent ratio of minced pork, shrimp paste and diced shrimps. Unlike so many other places, the siu mai here was not too loosely wrapped and would not fall apart even though you bite into it. It was amazing how it still managed to be juicy, tender and solid at the same time.

    After that, we ordered steamed pork ribs with chan chun fun (a kind of old style steamed rice roll which is hard to find even back in Hong Kong) and steamed peppery beef short ribs. The pork ribs were falling off the bones and had the right amount of fat and meat. The chan chun fun absorbed all the juices from the ribs and carried a few little flakes of garlic in between its folds. It tasted just like heaven. The steamed peppery beef short ribs had a lot of little flavor bombs (black peppercorns), which were large enough to avoid but grinded to small enough fragments to release all the flavors. I think the essence of the short ribs was the thin layer of tendons sticking to the bone as it gave the entire piece an almost crunchy feeling.

    As per usual, after four kinds of dim sum it was almost time for us to carb it up with char siu (barbeque pork) cheung fun (steamed rice rolls) and fish congee. The cheung fun here tasted just like home, it had a special oily gloss to it and it was transparent and just a little bit chewy. The gooey fish congee surprised me with a few slices of grouper hidden at the bottom of the bowl. At this price, I never expected to have actual pieces of flaky grouper with a line of bright red skin on top of it and I never thought the quality of the congee could be this good.

    As an attempt to finish the meal (you will know very soon that it was not the end), we ordered steamed milk pudding to share. It was basically milk in the form of a jiggly pudding. The only thing is the restaurant only offered cold pudding and the core of the pudding was freezing cold. It made me think maybe they made it the night before and froze the pudding overnight.

    Just before we left, my boyfriend decided to have a final look at the menu to see what kind of food options this restaurant got to offer for our next visit. We saw the beef stew with turnip and tendon in chu hau sauce and we gave each other a silent stare and nodded our head slowly. The next thing I knew, my boyfriend was flagging down a waitress to place the order. The beef stew was so hearty. It had chunky but melting beef brisket and beef tendons. The turnips were cooked to perfection in the sauce. It was more sweet than salty as the turnip itself was very juicy and it diluted the saltiness of the beef sauce in the cooking process. I almost ordered a bowl of rice if my boyfriend did not order fried dumplings secretly. I only had one bite of the dumpling as I was too full and I found it a little greasy; however, my boyfriend gobbled all of them at ease.

    Service: The service was really on point. There was a massive troop of waitors and waitresses ready to add hot water to your tea pot and take your orders. 

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SMARTREVIEWS

SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.

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