Most of you probably remember my recent post about the Random Hot Pot Place in Parkmore. That post taught me a lesson. I published it on a whim, without learning all the facts about the place I was writing about. To my surprise, the post spread quickly on social media and raised confusion about what the Random Hot Pot Place is, where it’s located, etc. I’m afraid I might have led a few hungry people astray.
Sometimes I forget that people actually read this blog and expect me to know what I’m talking about.
Anyway, after publishing that post I was asked to write a story about the Random Hot Pot Place for JHBLive. This was a perfect excuse to return to Parkmore and get my facts straight.
Here is what I learned:
1) The actual name of the Random Hot Pot Place is Shanghai Hinabe. The sign above the door is in Chinese, but there is an English sign on the overhang facing the street. I researched the word “Hinabe” and discovered that it’s a Japanese word, roughly translated as “fire hot pot”.
The exterior of Shanghai Hinabe.
2) The exact location of Shanghai Hinabe is 130 11th Street, Parkmore. Contrary to my initial instructions, it is four doors down from Sway Nightclub (not two), between a pet food shop and a fruit-and-veg shop. Shanghai Hinabe should not be confused with Orient Fusion, a Chinese restaurant two doors away.
3) Peggy, the owner of Shanghai Hinabe, is a Chinese woman from Shanghai. Her husband, also Chinese, is the chef. The food served at Shanghai Hinabe is technically Chinese. However, the restaurant has many Japanese customers because Chinese-style hot pot is popular in Japan. The Shanghai Hinabe menu is in both Chinese and Japanese.
Hence the half-Chinese, half-Japanese name, and hence my confusion about whether the restaurant is Chinese or Japanese. (Interesting side note: Japanese food usually isn’t spicy, but Chinese hot pot is very spicy. I think this is why the pots at Shanghai Hinabe are divided in half, allowing for spicy soup on one side and mild soup on the other.)
4) In addition to Shanghai Hinabe, Peggy owns a Chinese restaurant around the corner called Night Shanghai. Night Shanghai originally opened ten years ago, in the space where Shanghai Hinabe is today. Night Shanghai eventually became so popular that Peggy moved it to a larger space at the corner of Elizabeth Avenue and 10th Street, and opened Shanghai Hinabe in the old spot.
Night Shanghai in its new location around the corner from Shanghai Hinabe.
I showed up at Night Shanghai early on a Monday afternoon, expecting the restaurant to be empty. On the contrary, every table was full before 12:30 p.m. and every customer except for me was Chinese. Peggy says the place is packed every day for lunch.
Night Shanghai on a Monday. Despite the name, it is busier during the day than it is at night. I recommend calling ahead.
I ordered spicy brinjal with chili and garlic sauce. It was delicious, the portion was huge, and it cost R55 (about $5).
Lunch at Night Shanghai. I chose a fairly benign dish, but there are many authentic Chinese options on the menu. The most interesting item to catch my eye was “braised tofu with duck blood”.
5) Peggy is a nice person. I had a good chat with her at Night Shanghai, and she showed me a news story about her restaurant that appeared a couple of years ago on CCTV News. She told me that several of her South African wait staff have learned to speak Chinese. I find Peggy very inspiring, which makes me love both of her restaurants even more. (Also she paid for my lunch and gave me ice cream.)
Peggy at Night Shanghai.
Stories like this are what make me love blogging. If you need further clarification about Night Shanghai or Shanghai Hinabe, please ask. And my apologies for the previous confusion.
Shanghai Hinabe (011-784-4938) is open seven days a week for dinner only (5:00-9:00 p.m.). Night Shanghai (011-783-1108) is open seven days a week for lunch (11:30-14:30) and dinner (5:00-9:00 p.m.).
This Chinese restaurant seems to prepare food that is different from the American Chinese places. Is that so?