Credit: CheLi

I have had many yummy meals throughout New York City, especially in the East Village where there are several hidden gems to discover. CheLi, located in the middle of St. Mark’s Place, is easily one of the best dining experiences I’ve had all year and I can’t wait to tell you about it.

CheLi is yet another fabulous restaurant that has opened amid the chaos that has been 2020. My hopes are that this new neighbor stays put for many years to come as its team of chefs excel in every single dish that they make.

The dishes you order from are based off of the popular Shanghai cuisine. “Originating during the Song(宋) dynasties, traditional Hu(沪) cooking combines what are known as Benbang and Haipai dishes from the Jiangnan region,” their website states. “At Hu’s core is a wine-braising method, featuring accents of Zhejiang vinegar and Shaoxing rice wine, and dishes consisting mainly of pork and seafood to create simultaneously complex, delicate, and fresh flavors with varying textures.”

If there was one style of food that I would love to be able to learn to cook its this. I have never, at least in recent memory, devoured so many dishes that were this flavorful that ranged from sweet and tangy to spicy and sensational.

The food is served family style so be prepared to order at least 6-8 things and of course come hungry as they will feed you handsomely.

Let me spill details on the ones we had that I’m still salivating about to this day. First, as a good side to many of the others you’ll try is their Braised Rice with Bolete Mushroom and Green Pepper. I’m not even a big mushroom fan yet it was so delicious and paired wonderfully with the other two ingredients.

Now we are going to the vegetable portion of the menu where their Stir Friend String Beans with fermented shrimp paste were divine.

It’s surf and turf time folks. Their Steamed Prawns with Glass Noodles and Garlic was one of my favorites from the evening that was. Seafood and pasta are such a great combination and each of these items stood out on their own and then jointly together wonderfully.’

Finally on the meat side their Braised Pork Belly and Grilled Beef Ribs are two options I can go back to again and again. As previously stated, CheLi’s dishes come packed with flavor. These two are prime examples of that.

If you still have room for dessert (best of luck) then their Fried Sticky Rice Pancake with peanuts brown sugar is a great way to end the meal. They come on sticks and are a delight to eat from start to finish.

For more information on CheLi, please check out their official website.

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