This is one of the swankiest tables in town, with an original branch on Quanzhou Lu and an even more polished new branch on Fujian Lu. Picky About Food is highly selective in its ingredient sourcing, with reliable local and international seafood swimming in well-tended tanks and an elevated level of service that seems almost stuffy by Kulangsu standards.
Beneath precisely positioned Edison bulbs, you’ll dine at sleek wooden tables and wooden chopsticks and spoons. A pleasant way to start is gan bei zhu sun tang （干杯玉笋汤), a gentle clear soup of minuscule dried scallops, veiled lady mushroom (a translucent white and irresistibly spongy bamboo fungus whose suggestive species name is Phallus indusiatus), and tofu.
One of the house specialities is dubbed “Boston lobster” (bo si tun long xia，波士顿龙虾), which comes steamed with glass noodles, garlic, oil, and spring onions. This prep is more in the Kulangsu street-food style than anything you might find in Massachusetts, but it’s fresh, flavorful, and juicy, unlike some of the tough, overcooked lobster you might be deceived into buying from the hawkers on Longtou Lu. When it comes to lobster on Kulangsu, you get what you pay for.
If you once enjoyed the Chinese-American dish known as “egg foo young” back when it was a standard at U.S. Chinese restaurants in the 1980s, as I did, then tiao shi dou fu （ 天使豆腐), fried egg custard cubes in a light brown sauce, will take you back. On the other hand, the taste, texture, and name of this dish might also fool you into thinking you’re eating tofu. It’s adorned with tomatoes and thinly julienned red peppers. Other local specialties include fen shen yu mi bang（分针玉米棒）：long, full-bellied “corn clams” steamed with garlic glass noodles.
Skip the marked-up staples like Chinese lettuce, which comes out too oily; likewise, Xiamen fried noodles with shrimp, egg, and spring onions are no better here than they would be at any corner food shop. Instead, make a date night of it, splurge a bit, and challenge this able kitchen.
For more Kulangsu (Gulangyu) travel ideas, see the new Kulangsu Island Visitor’s Guide.