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Published October 12th 2016
Out of all the Shanghais that have cropped up on Liverpool Road in Ashfield, one clearly stands out. Friends had tipped me about this particular eatery but winter made me too lazy to venture out for dinner. And alas, I never had a chance at trying its tempting bounties until recently. I have had dumplings at many of the dim sum offering joints of Sydney but New Shanghai Restaurant stood out.
Wok Fried Chicken with Rice Noodles (image by Diana)
The waiting crowd in front of the restaurant's glass door is a common sight for Ashfield regulars. And this line-up starts early as if the restaurant, by some strange play of destiny, might run out of its steamed succulent edibles. I was in for my wild guesses to be proven otherwise. The restaurant was not running out of space or provisions, rather the fan following was courtesy of its delicious food.
The winter chills finally got my longing for hot soup and dumpling rid me of the inertia. Since it was late in the evening, the queue had thinned to a trickle. We were requested to wait for 15 minutes after jotting our names down on the guest register. Unfortunately, we went for a stroll around the block and lost our turn to others patiently waiting (lesson - queue or no queue stay put so as not to get another 20 minutes added to the waiting time).
Our turn finally turned up. The inside was filled to the brim with a happy assemblage of diners chit chatting their way into the steaming hearts of the warm dough balls. Once seated, menus were swiftly handed followed by plates. The most noticeable thing about New Shanghai was the amount of attention given to cleanliness. Starting from the gloved and masked dumpling makers (while waiting, it was entertaining to watch their preparation tactics) to the warm plates sitting before us, hygiene seemed to be on top of the restaurateur's mind. A big check to immaculate neatness. May be that too had earned it the loyalty of its customers.
Our order included both steamed prawn dumplings and fried chicken & celery dumplings. They were being accompanied by chicken & sweet corn as well as crab meat & sweet corn soups plus a wok fried chicken with rice noodles. The food was served without much delay. But a small check to service. Because our dipping bowls sat idly on our table without serving their purpose, even after a reminder, the waitress forgot to serve us sauces. Luckily our soups sufficed the missing link. And speaking of them, they were true to their names. The flavour of both the soups was distinctive too, even though they looked like homozygotic twins.
But the heroes were the plump, juicy and soft dumplings. The moment they spilled their contents in our mouths, it was all savoury deliciousness. Phew! I loved them so much that I wished they were tennis ball sized and jam-packed inside. The rice noodles wasn't a disappointment either. Nor was the price of our order. All in all, our wallets and palates both were happy. So a big happy green check to quality, quantity and cost of New Shanghai's food.