Saturday, August 13, 2005

Shanghai Soup

While looking for something else yesterday I came across Shanghai Soup, a wonderfully rich site about the history and culture of the Chinese city. Among the highlights are mp3s of charming recordings by the famous Shanghai singer Zhou Xuan, and the complete menu of the Sun Ya restaurant from about 1935. The latter made we want to go back in time and spend an evening there -- 28 pages of tantalizingly described Chinese dishes (I may try reconstructing the Melon Cup myself), and an American soda fountain.

One thing that caught my eye was the tagline on some pages of the menu: 'Our Kitchen is open to inspection at any time on request.' I've seen variations of this boast on several old restaurant adverts -- James Lileks has
another example, this one from 1950s Las Vegas -- but it seems to have fallen out of fashion, probably because government health standards are now taken for granted. However, this steak house in Thailand, where regulations are less strict, still uses the line, and so do some catering firms.

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