“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

A Final Post on 1930s London Chinese Restaurants – The Shanghai Restaurant’s Cookery Book

Posted: December 30th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

And a final post about London’s Chinese restaurants in the 1930s after the last two (here and here) this week. Mentioning the famous Shanghai Restaurant I am amazed to find they published a recipe book in 1936 (a sort of River Cafe type operation for the 1930s!!) – the Shanghai Restaurant Chinese Cookery Book, edited by Mr SK Cheng and The Proprietors of the Shanghai Restaurant, “a cookbook based on recipes from London’s Shanghai Restaurant, adapted for the home kitchen.” There’s a surprising amount of second hand copies knocking around on the internet at various prices.

…And so we get, for instance: “prawn rolls, sharks’ fins in soup, fried duck, lobster omelette, fried rice with crab, pork cubes with sour sweet sauce, chicken chop suey” or how about Birds Nest in Whole Chicken which requires 1 oz birds nests, which are sewn into a whole boned chicken (which is first rinsed out with gin!) and steamed in ‘Primary Soup’ (essentially chicken stock).

And everything you needed could be purchased from The Shanghai Emporium (adjacent to the Shanghai Restaurant) on 6 Greek Street in Soho.

A nice link to London 1930s Chinese culture and also an early example of a restaurant cleverly cashing in on its fame with branded books and products.


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One Comment on “A Final Post on 1930s London Chinese Restaurants – The Shanghai Restaurant’s Cookery Book”

  1. 1 J Chu said at 5:36 am on August 30th, 2020:

    This was my Grandmother’s restaurant and emporium. SK Cheng was my grandmother’s stepfather and contemporary of Sun Yat Sen having studied with him in London.

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