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Published May 29th 2016
A DIY Shanghai Dumpling Experience Worth 'Sharing'
I have always wanted to learn the art of dumpling folding and my wish came true when Taste of Shanghai hosted a special DIY Dumpling Workshop. This was a unique opportunity to learn from the best dumpling master and also to sample some of the best Shanghai dishes in Sydney.
Taste of Shanghai was established in 2005 and it serves authentic flavours from the heart of Shanghai and Northern China. With branches in Ashfield, Eastwood, Chatswood, Hurstville and Sydney CBD, Taste of Shanghai has already won many hearts with its authentic Shanghai cuisine in Sydney.
The interior of Taste of Shanghai in World Square Sydney boasts an old tradition charm with its traditional Chinese decors and dark teak furnishings. An open viewing kitchen enclosed by clear glass windows invites diners to watch the dumpling masters expertly handmade each single dumplings.
We were warmly greeted by Aaron, the owner and the general manager of Taste of Shanghai. Aaron explained that it is a Chinese tradition when people come together to enjoy food; it is better to have too much food than not enough. With that concept in mind, Aaron introduced their in-house Dumpling Master Bai to takeover the workshop while he arranged a special 17-course tasting menu for us to try.
The workshop was held in a private room, normally reserved for VIPs. This section divided off from the main bustling restaurant area, so we can concentrate fully on creating the perfect Shanghainese dumplings.
It's Taste of Shanghai DIY Dumplings Time:
Dumpling Master Bai was kind enough to prepare the fillings and rolled out the dumpling wrappers for us.
DIY Dumpling #1: Pork and Chive
Making pork and chive dumplings
I learned how to seal the dumplings properly for the first time. Key point is to fold over the dumpling wrapper over to enclose the filling. Hold in both hands and press to seal tightly.
DIY Dumpling #2: Xiao Long Bao
Making xiao long bao
Making the irresistible xiao long bao was indubitably the highlight of the evening for me.
Master Bai challenged me to be bold and experimental when trying to fold the multi-creases of xiao-long-bao. The key point is to pinch from the side and keep on folding the creases as if your hand is doing a twirl.
First came the salt and pepper king prawns which were absolutely delicious and set the standard for the night. They were fried to golden perfection and topped with fried eschallots and chilli. They were moreish, addictive and the perfect comfort food on a cold night.
These freshly boiled pork and chive dumplings were piping hot and surprisingly flavoursome inside. The serving size was generous and it is designed to share. It is highly suggested to dip in the soy vinegar sauce to make it a palatal pleasure bomb.
I normally do not order fried rice at any Chinese restaurant simply because I have had it so often. But Aaron mentioned its a "Special Fried Rice" so I gave it a go, but someone forgot to mention it was spicy too! For those who can tolerate spice and chili, this is would be an ideal choice.
The first main to arrive on our table was the sizzling garlic king prawns which was an instant hit with me. Serving the dish on a hot iron plate was just visually pleasing. The plump king prawn was juicy, tender and disappeared into my mouth almost immediately.
Confession, this was the only dish I skipped. Like many vegetarian dishes, it was presented very simply on the plate because the vegetables says it all. I think my mum will have a stern word with me about eating my veggies...
Everyone was raving about these pan fried pork buns. They were wonderfully flavoursome. The buns were lightly steamed and crispy fried at the bottom. The pastry was thicker than the xiao long bao and held more pork filling and broth within.
A warning sticker was flagged to warn us to wait a few minutes for the pork buns to cool down to avoid burning our mouths.
The spicy diced chicken was the next dish to be sampled. Who could resist bite-sized fried chicken? The lightly battered succulent spicy fried chicken was spicy, crispy and very enticing. It was a pleasant dish even though I was filling up fast at this stage.
The steamed shrimp and chive dumplings followed shortly. The green dumplings looked healthy and lovely but they were completely overshadowed by their popular brother - the xiao long bao. These steamed dumplings tasted a bit bland and could do with more flavour, so they failed to hit the mark for us.
The next dish to arrive on our table was the crispy duck and steamed Chinese buns. The duck was crispy from outside and moist inside. We sandwiched the crispy duck in between steamed buns and in conjunction with the sweetish hoisin sauce. Even though it was well presented, I would still prefer using the Peking pancake instead of Chinese bun when it comes to my duck.
The famous xiao long bao finally made their appearances in piping hot steamers. These xiao long bao were amazing. When I took a tiny bite the juicy broth squirted out happily. Needless to say, I savoured every bite of the dumplings. Now I know how to make them, perhaps I could try to make a batch on a cold rainy winter weekend.
Eggplant & Pork Mince in Sweet Chili Vinegar $16.80
The fish fillet in spicy chilli oil was my friend's favorite of the night. This bowl looked like sea of red with tender fillet of fish submerged underneath the spicy red chilli peppers. It was filled with vermicelli noodles which absorbed the spices; my friend said it was very tasty but had a bit of kick.
Last dish of the banquet was the Peking style shredded pork served with wafer thin Peking duck pancake. The shredded pork was braised in Peking sauce and stir-fry with leeks. It was absolutely delicious and was unlike anything I have ever tasted. There was something about it that sets it aside from other similar dishes elsewhere.
Overall, it was great fun making our own dumplings and the entire banquet dinner was a fantastic experience. Shanghainese food is absolutely delightful.
Freshly-made Shanghai dumplings at any time
Taste of Shanghai's bustling atmosphere, delicious food and affordable price make it the perfect place to catch up with friends or enjoy a family feast.
I have eaten at Taste of Shanghai and the food is always yum! How good that you learned to make dumplings and sampled all the food as well. Really enjoyed this article Got My Vote, great food shots too.