Shanghers were recently informed of Holy Cow #1 closing. For those who don’t know about Holy Cow, it’s absolutely the best hot pot in town and you can still enjoy it in their other locations. My readers may remember of Holy Cow as the place that took my hot pot virginity.
But while we were announced this sad disappearance, we were also informed that the owner of Holy Cow, Anthony Zhao, has just re-launched one of his older ventures: Mi Xiang Yuan 2.0 – The Rice Garden.
The original Mi Xiang Yuan was located in Xintiandi and opened its doors about 6 years ago. It quickly became the go-to lunch spot for office workers needing hearty delicious local Shanghai meals, served quickly and at reasonable prices. The new Mi Xiang Yuan revives the same classics and brings in new flavors with the consistency of next generation kitchen equipment like their crazy German Rational programmable ovens and the super fancy Panasonic rice cookers – cause rice is a serious matter at Mi Xiang Yuan!
Rice really is the star of this restaurant (Anthony even planted a little rice paddy in there!) and the quality of the grains is completely different to what you’re used to at your average restaurant. This product comes from Heilongjiang, it’s 100% organic and its consistency is firm, never mushy.
The rice bowls come with some fantastic companions. My favorite first: the Lu Rou Fan (RMB 42), is the perfect hearty dish for a quick lunch break. The braised pork is tender and I could substitute it for Bolognese sauce on my pasta any day (if you’re Italian and you read this please don’t sue me!).
Another favorite was the Peppercorn Bullfrog (RMB 42), seriously spicy and pickly, the frog meat falls off the bone. Rice makes for the perfect accompaniment of this dish by cutting through the spiciness.
The Pi Dan Doufu (RMB 5) was also brilliant, the silky milky subtly flavored tofu matches perfectly with the musky, strong punch of the thousand years egg and the fishiness of the dried shrimp.
I loved how the sous vide onsen egg in their Teriyaki Chicken (RMB 42) mixes up with the rice and creates a rich creamy bowl of goodness. You can also order the egg on the side (RMB 5) and mix it with any dish of their menu.
The menu features a bunch more bowls coming from all over China and beyond: their Gong Bao Chicken is great value at RMB 35 for the set, the braised chicken wings (RMB 42) are not as sweet as your typical Shanghainese style ones, which was perfect for me. There’s also a beef tendon curry that I haven’t tried but looks amazing.
The downside of Mi Xiang Yuan 2.0 is the location, which is catering to a specific pool of white collars working in South Huangpu district at the new Gopher Center, which is right above the Line 13 World Expo Museum station. Nevertheless if you’re in their delivery radius, you should definitely order their meals on the Meituan app. The more we buy from them, the more likely they’ll be expanding to a location near you!
Address: Shanghai – 757 Mengzi Lu, Gopher Center, Room B2-B013, near Longhua Dong Lu 蒙自路757号歌斐中心B2-B013, 近龙华东路