Before making my grand exit out of Shanghai, I decided it was more than necessary to revisit The Manchurian, or Dongbei Ren (东北人), a chain of atavistic eateries that perfume a potent Mao-era ambiance. While I love the nostalgic decor and variety of northeastern dishes (the medley of fried mushrooms comes to mind), the real reason why I wanted to return before I left was to scoop up some photos of the error-laden English-Chinese menu that greets every guest — what appears to me as an obvious Baidu/Google translator goof up.
You can find The Manchurian listed on a number of English-language magazines in Shanghai; they have, at one time or another, all printed something about the place, but not one seems to highlight what I find to be the most ridiculously enjoyable part of the place. Not even the dated “planned birth” chart on the third floor can compete. How could perusing dishes so aptly titled “Private Place meat pie,” “Sauerkraut monolithic,” or “Nausea sauce pork” not make you want to come back for more? Take a stab at it why don’t you.
So, without further ado, I present some of my favorite dishes from The Manchurian’s menu, which, I admit, I have yet to sample myself.