Dining out at a Shanghainese restaurant is not common for me as I eat that type of cuisine at home on most days. HOWEVER, when a Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai Steamed Soup Dumpling) craving hits me, it becomes an absolute necessity to venture out and seek said bamboo-basket-filled of deliciousness.
The menu is really extensive and there are beautiful glossy images of various dishes on each page - which is always helpful. The choices range from traditional dim sims to live seafood and classic Shanghainese dishes such as Braised Pork with Eggs and Live Barramundi in Sweet and Sour Sauce.
The walls of the buzzing restaurant is plastered with large posters, showcasing all the special dishes on offer. I would say the House Special Dim Sims are a must-order at Taste of Shanghai, in particularly the Xiao Long Baos!
We start off with one of my favourite Shanghainese dishes - Shredded Pork with Cabbage Stir Fried Rice Cakes ($9.80). I loved it because the flavour was so intensely absorbed by each rice cake that every bite was deliriously tasty and addictive. The rice cakes were also amazingly soft, which is just the way I like it. On the whole, a very flavoursome dish!
Typically I would order the Shanghai Xiao Long Bao but Taste of Shanghai had 4 new options and I simply could not resist the choice of Spicy Crab Xiao Long Bao ($7.80). And thank god they did not disappoint!
Make sure to pick them up gently with your chopstick, as the skin is very delicate and susceptible to breaking - and that would be quite disastrous because you want to suck out all the juicy hot soup inside the dumpling! They were so fresh and tasty :D
Pan Fried Pork Buns with Sesame ($8.80) is also considered a classic Dim Sim dish in chinese culture but I realised that I'm not the biggest fan of these buns as the skin is too thick for me. Prefer my Xiao Long Baos I guess :P Nevertheless, M thought these were quite delicious and willingly demolished most of them. He loved the pork filling and the flavoursome broth.
On a second visit to Taste of Shanghai (the Ashfield store), we decided to order a batch of different things! Upon comparison with the Spicy Crab version, turns out I prefer the traditional Shanghai Xiao Long Bao ($8.80). Good old juicy meat fillings with a pocket full of hot flavoured broth - each bite brings a splatter of goodness so make sure to hold it above a bowl and steer away from electronical goods. :P
The Live Barramundi in Sweet & Sour Sauce ($32.80) was also quite a delightful treat despite watching the poor fishy get yanked out of its tank...ANYWAYS for those who are a fan of the sweet and sour, this will be a fabulous option as it's well cooked with crunchy edges on the outside and beautifully tender fish meat on the inside. You even get some lovely shrimps!
The Ma Po Tofu Hot Pot ($14.80) was also quite outstanding, though I did tell the kind staff to make it only mildly chilly for me JUST IN CASE. Turns out it was a good idea. The balance of spiciness ended up being perfect and the thick sauce was absorbed well by the tofu - great to go with rice! The vibrant colours only made it more appetitising...yum!
Apparently there are three Taste of Shanghai restaurants (Ashfield, Eastwood, World Square) in Sydney and we went to both the World Square and Ashfield stores. It's quite busy everyday and so expect to queue up in a line if you go later than 6pm! I think we waited for 20 minutes that night for World Square...
Overall, Taste of Shanghai is quite good in that it's fast, affordable and there are alot of options on the menu. The Xiao Long Baos are delicious and hopefully the new options are here to stay for a while. Nevertheless, don't expect great service as it is quite a fast-paced Chinese restaurant - so just hop in, eat some steamed goodies and hop right out!
Taste of Shanghai
Shop 9.07 (World Square)
644 George Street
Taste of Shanghai
264 Liverpool Road
Labels: Asian, Chinese, Shanghai