Chatswood has three separate shopping centres with three distinct food courts. Chatswood has cafes bustling with couples, casual burger joints, restaurants silent and dignified behind panes of glass. It also has three separate restaurants specialising in Shanghai Cuisine.
Shanghai Stories does have a lot of competition, then. In terms of Shanghai restaurants Din Tai Fung has great table service, but the selection is limited and it's a tad pricier. New Shanghai is smaller and the lines can be pretty long. Shanghai Stories is spacious, has a menu that could be thicker than some picture books and the food is, of course, good. It is still my favourite dining experience in Chatswood.
Pricing varies, but people typically dine together so everyone can sample portions of each dish. It costs around 60-60 dollars all up, for four people.
I am quite fond of the grilled onion pancakes as an entree. The crunchiness of the grilled skin is balanced by the salty filling mixed with spring onions, and the pieces are light but still satisfying.
The Xiaolongbao are a firm favourite. The soft, silky exterior of the steamed bun breaks though into a warm, rich soup and pork filling. You have to be careful not to break their skin when prying them loose from the grease paper. Xiaolongbao have become recognisable as an iconic Shanghainese dish, and I order these every time I come to Shanghai Stories.
The Golden Buns with shredded pork Szechuan Style combine a tangy, chilli sauce (you might be noticing a trend with the chilli), the chewy texture of the pork strips and the light and spongy mass of the buns.
Pan seared pork and chive dumplings present another variation of dumpling, and the point of difference is the crunchy outside. If you're in the mood for another breed of the pork dumpling, these are quite solid.
Pan fried pork buns with sesame show the restaurant's determination to use pork, which is admirable I guess. These come with a paper flag warning you of the hot soup inside, and you should follow its advice and wait a tad before digging in. The soft, puffy top of the bun is crispy near the bottom, and the inside is a rich meat broth dousing a sliver of pork mix. Great stuff.
For dessert, consider the mango pancakes and pumpkin glutinous cakes. The mango pancakes combine thick cream, mango pieces and a mango-flavoured pancake for a delicious but weighty dessert and the pumpkin cakes are crunchy, sweet and have a distinctive sesame scent.