Procuring yummy steak in Shanghai has always been a mission.
For where to find reliable steak, we ask ourselves.
There have even been controversies with some venues stating that their steak is from place A when it is actually from place B.
The ‘easy’ option would be to go to a swanky restaurant and pay ¥888 for a steak — but we have all been to expensive ‘Western’ restaurants and left VERY disappointed that such an expensive steak wasn’t even good.
So let’s start by testing the home-cooking options, from the well-known food sellers.
In alphabetical order; City Super, Epermarket, Fields.
- We didn’t alert the companies that we were doing this
- We paid as normal customers
- The purpose is to write about this experience. You may have had different experiences, there may be specific circumstances to each place and each order, but this is what we found
- The opinion of the steak quality is just our opinion.
To try to get as much parity as possible, we bought three steaks from each place — a cheaper, middle and more expensive steak.
We cooked it plain to make the beef itself stand out.
The cooking method:
We cook steaks in the Gordon Ramsey method, not the Jamie or Heston way.
This means that you get the pan screaming hot, rub the steak in plenty of olive oil and place it in. Don’t move it.
We added only a sprinkle of salt and mixed pepper, one sprig of rosemary and nothing else.
After a few minutes to get it around medium-rare or just over, turn it once.
After another few mins, take it out, add one small spread of butter on it and cover with a bowl, leaving it for a few mins to rest and retain the juices.
Whether you like it cooked differently is not the point — we just kept it as standard as possible to let the steak show.
The shops and their steaks:
There are lots of words tacked on to the steak list at Epermarket, like Premium, Superior, Topcut, Eper Select and more, which is not very helpful when deciding which is best based on name.
So, from Epermarket, we ordered the:
- Topcut, Australian Wagyu Striploin Steak (M7-8) 200g for RMB 275.00
- the Eper Select Superior Australian Ribeye Steak (Grain Fed) 180g for RMB 59.00
- and the Eper Select, Superior Canadian Ribeye Steak 280g for RMB 98.00.
There was no rib eye around the 200-300 RMB range which is why we went for the Wagyu Striploin as it was the closest availabe.
Then 30 minutes later, we got a phone call from Epermarket, telling us that they didn’t have the RMB 98 steak, did we want to change it for a RMB 59 steak.
We said yes OK, but what about the 39 RMB.
Then one of those phone calls with someone who is learning English and not paying full attention ensued.
They said it would be put onto our balance, but we said we preferred a refund.
They eventually said that we would be refunded the 39 RMB difference to WeChat.
When the delivery arrived, there was no replacement steak, so we sent them an email asking if we could get the 98 RMB back, and they said it will take 3-5 days.
It took some time on admin to deal with this, with the result was that we now had only two steaks to review.
We cooked the Topcut Wagyu first. On taking the first bite – wow.
It was soft, flavoursome and the meat had a buttery texture. We probably over-cooked it by about 30 seconds, yet it was still juicy and a great steak.
As could have been predicted, the rib eye for 59 RMB wasn’t as good. It was better than the cheapest option from Fields, but probably still best sliced into a sandwich or salad rather than as a full steak itself.
Unfortunately the 98 RMB wasn’t available, which is a bit odd that they couldn’t just mark it as ‘sold out’, they may need some IT/system operations updating.
The ordering process:
Fields’ website is pretty good.
They have a wide selection, you can sort it easily, you can pay by any method (incl. WeChat) and even have same-day delivery if you order early enough.
The list, like Epermarket, requires some studying.
Both websites might benefit from actually picking a lower number of steaks, and/or saying which steak is best for what.
From Fields, I ordered the:
- Teys Australia Beef Rib Eye, 200g for ¥48
- Excel Canadian AAA Beef Boneless Rib Eye Steak, 300g for ¥99
- and the Australian NCMC Wagyu Beef Rib Eye (M4-5), 200g for ¥218
The results were interesting.
The Teys Rib Eye was indeed the worst. It was generally OK for the price.
You could probably fry it quickly — the lack of fat makes it difficult to cook for longer than medium-rare or it will be too tough — and then slice it very thinly for a steak sandwich or in a salad.
The NCMD Wagyu was basically ‘OK’. There was nothing really wrong with it, it tasted nice and was easy to cook as it’s so fatty. But for ¥218 it wasn’t great.
The best one was actually the Canadian rib eye, 300g for ¥99. It crisped nicely and was very moist, sliced really easily and tasted pretty good with merely salt, pepper and a spread of butter.
You could enhance the flavour itself further with more or better salt, a bit more butter, cook it with garlic and red wine and so on.
I wouldn’t order the other two again, but I would definitely go for the Canadian AAA again at ¥99.
Their website is currently developing their online ordering. We usually go to the iapm or Times Square shops.
While some of their stuff is expensive, much of it is at similar prices as the online supermarkets, and they have a few highlights such as the ¥58 roast chicken (and ¥20 chicken skewers), ‘C-1’ yoghurt, and the best bread in the city, in our opinion.
Anyway — the steak range usually comes in two types at City Super, so we went for one around ¥100 and the small Wagyu pieces around ¥200.
For the first steak, even though it said it was grass-fed (it actually said “garss-fed”, but…), it was unremarkable. It was alright, but not memorable.
The Wagyu pieces were small and very tender — good for giving to kids — but lacked the taste of Fields or Epermarkets best steaks.
Comparing the best from each place, we would go back for the 98 RMB Canadian steak from Fields.
The Wagyu from Epermarket had a better texture and slightly better taste, but, you could buy almost three Canadian steaks for one Australian Wagyu.
The steak quality was no worse — with the best being even better — than many steak restaurants / hotel restaurants in the city, that charge 800 RMB++ for steak.
This might be that we eat steak in the right way while the people here prefer softer, less bloody cooking, therefore the cooks don’t know how to properly sear a steak to be crispy outside, juicy inside?
We’re not sure. But the results were pleasing to say the least — good steaks for good value.
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