Park South – A Modern Take on Minnan Snacks & Sips

By Sophie Steiner, May 5, 2024

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The Place 

After opening at the end of last year as a casual cocktail and bar snack hangout, the creative team that owns the trendy Park South in Changning recently brought in menu creator and chef Andrew Moo (Yaya’s, and menu design for Candor, The Cannery, and Duli), along with Zikker (previously of Slurp & Sip), to revamp both the food and drink offerings. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The place is owned by a handful of young architects and designers with Minnan 闽南 backgrounds – a group from Taiwan, Fujian, and parts of Guangdong with a large diaspora, most notably across Southeast Asia.

Image courtesy of Park South

Marking their first foray into the world of F&B, the space is split between the restaurant on the entrance floor and a bar – called Bark – on the second.

The bar is outfitted entirely in different shades of wood, the ‘bark’ in the name representing the wood (rather than the woof) variety.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

From eccentrically infused liqueur cocktail ingredients matched with imaginative dishes, to retro hip décor enhanced by mismatched dishware, to a backdrop of quirky throwback Taiwanese tunes, the restaurant concept is cohesively executed. 

The result is a playful sipping and snacking experience that reflects the Minnan focus. 

The Food 

Inspired by a recent food research trip to Taiwan, Moo has put together a modern Taiwanese-leaning menu featuring boldly-flavored interpretations of Minnan comfort food, augmented by equally exuberant cocktails.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

“The menu is strictly inauthentic,” states Moo, popping a three cup pigeon leg into his mouth – a play on the more conventional three cup chicken. “Rather, it’s a whimsical take on classics, influenced by my international background.” 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Case in point – the Shacha Chicken Wings (RMB78) are a Minnan riff on the American bar staple buffalo wings.

Roasted (rather than fried) chicken wings are tossed in a shacha butter – a common Fujian condiment made from dried fish, garlic, shallots and chilies, and nicknamed “Chinese BBQ sauce.”

A cooling furu (fermented soybean curd) dipping sauce mimics ranch, but with a notably forward funky tang. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

While it’s no easy feat to choose a favorite from your 'children,' Moo’s go-to bite on his newly launched menu is the Cured Salmon & Coconut (RMB48) – a layering of house-cured salmon dribbled in a lime-laced coconut milk, ginger scallion mustard, crushed wasabi peas, and fresh dill fronds.

All of which makes for a pleasantly refreshing Minnan-style 'ceviche' of sorts.

Park Sour (RMB88– Rye, lemon, honey syrup. Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

An ode to alley-side BBQ stall eats in Tainan – Taiwan's ancient capital – the Edamame (RMB38) are stir-fried then marinated overnight in a fermented black bean sauce with chili and garlic, culminating in an addictingly crushable umami bomb. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Not your average sweet Taiwanese sausage platter, the Sausage Plate (RMB38) instead features a Sichuan-cured mala sausage crowned with punchy fermented cabbage, deep-fried garlic cloves, honey, and a squirt of lime. 

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These strong flavors stand up to the equally assertive Wild Flower (RMB88). Floral notes of Yunnan rose jam are amplified by rose petal-infused bourbon, rounded by a sour backbone of blackcurrant liqueur that brings diners back for another coin of that fiery cured meat. 

DSC02264.jpgChili Lime Clams (RMB88). Image by Sophie Steiner/That’s

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

One of the most iconic of Taiwanese dishes – three cup chicken – sees an out of the ordinary (yet arguably more flavorful) fowl employed in place of chicken as the San Bei Pigeon (RMB168).

First brined and deep-fried, then slowly braised in (real!) Taiwanese rice wine and dark soy, the two pigeons per order are finally stir-fried in sesame oil with aromatics and finished with chili, garlic, and Thai basil in a clay pot. 

Still applying the requisite “three cups” of rice wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil, the pigeon’s gaminess translates to added succulence, especially when tempered by some of the more saccharine sippers...

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

... like the tropical-leaning Pina Colada (RMB58), made with coconut milk, coconut erythritol, and both fresh and dehydrated pineapple. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Straight out of Fujian (and embodying the motto "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"), the Minnan Snack Platter (RMB58) is an everyday bar essential comprised of crispy five-spice shrimp and pork rolls (xia zao 虾枣), handmade shrimp balls, and plum dipping sauce.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

An homage to Tainan clay pot black pepper shrimp, the Mountain Pepper Shrimp (RMB78) are coated in a four-pepper spice rub of citrusy Taiwanese indigenous mountain pepper, plus black, white, and red peppercorns, served up hot (in more ways than one), crispy, and mouthwateringly juicy. 

DSC02302.jpgMentaiko Udon (RMB98) – Ikura, seafood cream broth, furikake. Image by Sophie Steiner/That’s

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Pan-fried in lard, the changfen – or Rice Flour Rolls (RMB48)  are sticky with the long established duo of sweet soy and peanut sauce...

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

... yet the unconventional addition of savory pork floss, nutty-perfumed toasted rice powder, and chili lend layers of savory oomph.

A soft-poached egg serves as the proverbial cherry on top, in all of its unctuously oozing splendor.

Pomegranate with Basil (RMB58). Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Nearly identical in base flavor to the commonplace lurou fan (or braised pork rice) found on every street corner of Taiwan, Moo’s Braised Pork & Rice (RMB48) is presented as a heaving volcanic mound – a stack of rice smothered in a thick slow-braised pork belly gravy.

Strong spice notes of Sichuan peppercorn, bay leaf, ginger, tangerine peel, cinnamon, black peppercorn and anise are prevalent throughout, balanced by a sour pop from homemade daikon pickles.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Purple yam-infused cream acts as the base for the Ube Panna Cotta (RMB48), dusted in a bright coconut lime granita, a demurely sweet ending that paves the way for more cocktails. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Lunch boasts a tighter menu of Bento Boxes (RMB58-78) with many of the same proteins as dinner, just in daytime portions – like braised pork rice, squid and cuttlefish sausage, mountain pepper shrimp, black pepper beef short ribs, and more.  

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Aside from cocktails, there’s an extensive bottle list, with varietals ranging from France to Italy to Georgia to China – and everything in between – at wallet-friendly prices. 

The Vibe 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The Chinese ingredient-forward drinks and eats menus can be ordered both upstairs and down, so guests can float between the two depending on time of day and musical offerings (expect anything from live weekend jazz to impromptu late-night KTV). 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

With seating for 30 downstairs and another 20 in the bar, and conveniently located across the road from Huashan Park, this street-side eatery is the perfect spot for an afternoon tipple, quick weekday lunch or date night. 

Price: RMB120-280
Who’s Going: The Minnan descent contingency, Andrew Moo acolytes, Huashan Lu workers and dwellers
Good For: Casual catchups, satisfying Minnan food cravings, rowdy music-filled evenings 

Park South, Room 102, #121, 1520 Huashan Lu, by Xingfu Lu, 华山路1520弄121号102室, 近幸福路.

Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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