Word on the street is that Ashfield knows a thing or two about making dumplings.
I’ve been to Beijing and Shanghai and I must say, their dumplings lived up to expectations. However, apart from the freshness, I’d dare say we in Sydney are fortunate to have dumplings which taste just as good. Perhaps the wonderful dumpling ladies at New Shanghai were flown over to ensure we don’t miss out on such a simple yet delicious Chinese delicacy?
Oh … and if anyone know’s where to get those hats please drop me an email.
We booked for 6.30pm and after a short wait we were directed to a dimly lit corner of the restaurant. There was no way we could take photos for this post in what could be described as warm red lighting. Being the true food bloggers we are (*cough*) , we had our eyes open for a new table like pilgrims looking for the Pope.
The menu we were given was quite extensive. Naturally, we looked around to see what the locals were ordering and went from there. There was a common theme tonight it seems. Copious amounts of tables were munching away on a mixture of dumplings (steamed and fried), a plate of soy chicken (so it seemed at the time) and a fluffy and golden substance which we later realised was tofu.
This bottle of vinegar compliments the vast variety of dumplings on offer.
If you were to try only one thing at New Shanghai, it would be these dumplings. Xiu Long Bao can be considered iconic to China, in particular Shanghai. Much like associating pizza with New York, baguettes with Paris and Vietnamese pork rolls with Cabramatta.
There’s always a token Vegetarian in the group, so naturally we had to order a plate of Vegetarian dumplings. The dumpling skin was solid and I was amazed at the consistency of the content and aesthetics of the dumpling itself.
We originally ordered the pork version, but they mixed up our order and we ended up recieving the combination version. I think the key to the success of this dish was the fact that the noodles were hand made. You really have to try this yourself to understand how soft and ‘plump’ the noodles are. The texture was amazing and there were very generous amounts of chicken, beef, seafood and vegetables.
I noticed alot of tables ordering this , so I wanted to know what the fuss was about. If your a regular eater of crispy skin chicken, you can imagine how the chicken tastes like on the outside. It is then covered in a slightly spicy and sweet soy sauce.
Nearly every table had this so naturally we had to follow suit like a bunch of groupies at a Maroon 5 Westfield’s appearance. Inside the crispy, salty and eggy (yes my descriptions rival that of world reknown authors) coating was delicately soft tofu.
I’m a sucker for anything fried however this was an interesting dish. Basically, it’s a bun which is briefly fried so that the bun is no longer soft. The base of the bun is nice and crispy while the contents of the bun is basically what you find in the Xiu Long Bao (above). What was interesting though was the soup which was inside the bun, I found that quite impressive as it prevented the buns from tasting too dry.
I found the skin of this dumpling a bit too thick for my liking. The pork and chive filling was nothing out of the ordinary either.
If your a fan of dumplings then I definitely give this place a visit. The variety is amazing and the freshness of the dumplings is definitely a bonus. Don’t expect superior customer service though. While they are attentive and quick, it might not suit the primadonna’s out there.
New Shanghai Chinese Restuarant
273 Liverpool Road
Ashfield, NSW 2131
Ph: (02) 9797 7284