Little Catch Poke Café, Shanghai's OG provider of rice and seafood sustainance, is unleashing a series of hot poke bowls for the cold ass winter we're about to have. They're also stepping up their game to include breakfast toasts, because you know, toast is great.
A riff on the popular Japanese comfort food ochazuke, made by pouring green tea or dashi broth over steamed rice and assorted toppings, Little Catch's warm poke follows a similar format. Available in three flavors, kimchi jjigae, Japanese curry and green tea with toasted rice, the hot broth gently poaches the fish as you mix it in.
Our favorite was proably the jjigae bowl, which delivers rich and tangy flavors reminiscent of Korean budae jjigae ('army stew') via a hearty dose of kimchi.
Our erstwhile favorite spicy tuna poke makes a new friend in Japanese curry. The result is less spicy than the name suggests, giving the rice a hearty savoriness.
Little Catch proprietors Wen and Jiayi Huang are also expanding their breakfast repertoire, based around one of our favorite/most important food groups: toast.
Kaya toast with eggs (RMB55), a beloved breakfast of the Huang sisters' native Singapore, swaps the traditional soft-boiled eggs for slow-cooked onsen eggs, which are more luxurious in our opinion. The kaya jam is originally a Malaysian delicacy made from coconut and eggs, and is mildly sweet. The idea is that you dip the toast in the runny eggs, capiche?
Next up is a toast loosely inspired by famed LA cafe, Sqirl. Featuring creamy ricotta, red fruit jam and a drizzle of lemon and Maldon sea salt (RMB45), this was surprisingly reminiscent of a British cream tea scone. The toast is a thick, cushiony white bread that your mother would probably disapprove of you eating. Ain't gonna tell.
Heartier fare makes a splash in the house-smoked mackarel, wholegrain mustard, caper tomato and cucumber sandwich (RMB75). Here they get the bread, a big, rustic sourdough with a fantastic crust, from Japanese bakery Avec Toi. FYI, mackerel is crazy good for you and totally underrated in Shanghai. Your mother would definitely approve of this as a breakfast choice. Proceed without caution.
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