Just came back from my 2 hour date with Japanese/Taiwanese heart throb actor ‘ Takeshi Kaneshiro’ (金城 武)…..
Okay, so it wasn’t really a ‘date’ ….my hubby and family also came along….
And it wasn’t exactly a ‘date’ date – as Takeshi didn’t pay for my dinner, but rather we went to watch his latest movie to arrive to the shores of Sydney, ‘Red Cliff’ also starring HK actor/ aging heart throb, Tony Leung. (Did anyone else thought he looked rather ‘rubbery’ in the movie or was it just me….Tony Leung that is…??)
Prior to our ‘Red Cliff’ family movie night – we decided to go for some dumplings and Shanghai fare at our our local Shanghai restaurant, ‘ The New Shanghai’ in Chatswood tucked inside the ‘Lemon Grove’ arcade opposite to Westfield.
The Parents and Curtis ( brother) was gracious enough to arrive earlier at 6.30pm on a Saturday evening to get a ticket and wait for a table, so that by the time Hubby and I showed up at 7.00pm, the food was ready and table was set….even if it was a table set up near the entrance and right outside the ‘dumpling making station’ viewing window.
( I suggested that we better look like we are enjoying those dumplings as we were in full view of the ‘dumpling chefs’ or the courteous thing was to at least show that their dumpling making skills were not put to waste as should try slurp and gobble down our steamer of dumplings with a smiling face ( Cantonese pronounced: ‘War Tip’) in front of them.)
The Parents ordered the ‘usual suspects’… the Steamed pork dumplings arrive first ( I was sad that they did not order the ‘Crab meat and pork mince dumplings, as they were my favourite from last visit) Following was the the Stir fried rice cakes with pork and veggies ( love this dish for it’s chewiness) and Fried Shanghai noodles with pork. These arrive just as Hubby and I arrive – awesome! ( I received a text from Curtis just seconds before we arrive, ‘Hurry up – food just arrived. Any later and the food will be gone…’) Just as well we showed up before Curtis cleans up the table!
The Steam pork dumplings was consistent in their taste from previous visits (including their other branch store in Ashfield) . They looked good enough to eat as they sat waiting for us to pick them up with our chopsticks and spoon ( must use spoon to avoid ‘soup leakage’ ) We warn Dad to bite in these slowly and slurp the soup carefully from the top. I bite my ‘top’ of the dumpling off and enjoy the hot broth from the dumpling before trickling a few drops of the brown vinegar inside and take a second bite. This is the way I love to enjoy my Shanghai steam dumplings!
Mum mentioned the way they get the ‘soup’ inside these steamed dumplings was to make the soup mixture first, freeze it til it becomes ‘jelly like’ and mix it in with the pork mince mix. I observe the containers of mince and spot the ‘bits of soup’ mixed into the meat on the kitchen bench as the dumpling chefs work their ‘dumpling magic’ skills in their hands, pinching in the flour ball in the twist of their fingers as another dumpling is created and crimped into place and pop into the stack of bamboo steamers.
My favourite dish ( well the ‘other favourite dish’ of mine) is the Shanghai stir fried rice cakes with vegies. I love this dish for the small oval shaped discs of rice cakes that is so delicious in flavour with the soya sauce and condiments as well as the chewiness texture that is somewhat ‘comforting’ on the palette and a fun sensation when chewing! It also works really well with the small bits of pork and green vegetables and compliments the rice cakes without over powering it.
The thick Shanghai stir fried noodles with the same pork bits as from the ‘rice cakes’ is also consistent – although not too exciting but that it is a tasty dish and it is shiny from the greasy sauce ( just as I always relate Shanghai food to be) I like to drizzle a bit of vinegar in my noodles to break up the greasiness but these are savored nicely while waiting for the other dishes to arrive… I am waiting on our ‘Fried bottom’s dumplings’ MMmmmm…
In between, Dad suggests we order more food. He was really hungry and NOTHING should stop or get in the way of my Dad when hungry – so he persists to make sure we order a dish he was craving for… ‘WONTONS” ‘ We MUST get Wontons!’ was his bellowing request….and Wontons he got while Mum ordered the ‘Marinated Fish’ which was a cold dish, not favoured by the rest of us. ( I took a bite and gave the rest to my Hubby, who then passed it back to me… in which Mum just said ‘ I’ll have it!’ Gotta love Mums!)
Soon enough, Dad’s Won Tons arrive in a big steaming bowl of hot broth with generous silky balls of won tons swimming in with the most microscopic prawns I have ever seen ( eyes, tails and all) and a pinch of seaweed – and this tasted surprisely good and we all dive in with our spoons, fishing for wonton after wonton. Good choice Dad!
Next was the long awaited ‘golden bottom fried dumplings’ – didn’t get the actual name of these, but we have always refered them to ‘ Gon gin bow’ in Cantonese ( which means ‘ Dry fried dumplings’) and these were filled with the same pork mince with the soup as it was in the steamed version. I love these and so did Mum and Curtis as they tucked into them as soon as they arrived on the table. ‘They are VERY hot!’ Mum warns and we all look at Dad as we knew he would most likely not hear the warning and bite into these. Thankfully he heard and he refrains until they cool down. These dumplings should come with a warning note – as we have seen many a times, people getting scald by the hot soup that shoots out from these suckers and many nice shirts ruined – even the ones of your neighbours are not safe! heheh
We all enjoy our golden bottom dumplings – and safely, no shirts were ruined or tongues burnt as we ate them carefully but with big smiles on our faces!
By then, the desert came – and at first I wasn’t too sure about these as I was intended to just eat half and give the other half to Curtis – who looked at me waiting. At my first bite, I was already pleasantly surprised by the deliciously soft texture of the pumpkin dumpling, I take a second bite and this time the red bean paste inside oozes out and I am hooked. My third bite was followed by a fourth bite and by then, I had already consumed the entire dumpling and I give Curtis a smile to say that he better grab what was left on the plate, as the sharing deal was off…. Sorry bro!
In all, we have to say we loved the food – our stomachs were full and satisfied and even if the service is still notoriously bad, we are thankful that the food always comes through and we find ourselves always coming back for the dumplings ( and now for the wontons, rice cakes and the bright yellow pumpkin sweet dumplings…) If you over look the service ( or lack off) and the atmosphere of packed to the brim customers happily tucking into their dumplings – then you will love this place. I recommend it for a night out for a casual and fast feed with the family and friends that is both tasty and friendly to your wallet – just be sure the people you bring are patient enough to wait for a table and can sustain the ‘service culture’ you get here
The New Shanghai Restaurant
Phone (02) 9415 3536
No bookings – just get there early and line up.
Parking tip: Park at Westfield for 3 hr free parking and it is a short stroll over.
ATM’s outside of Lemon Grove ( Westpac and ANZ and Commonwealth just further up)