Usually when I say dumplings I automatically refer to yum cha and think of going to Cabramatta. Not this time! The Boy and I are on the hunt for some good Xiao Long Bao (XLB), although we wouldn’t know what’s good or not to be honest, but we make our way to Ashfield for the very first time.
Not having any idea which of the many, many dumpling places to choose from that are all situated so close together on Liverpool Street, we quickly turn to urbanspoon to help make our choice. I’m not quite sure as to why we ended up at New Shanghai but we did. We turn up for lunch service on a Sunday and see the restaurant at full capacity. We thought that surely it had to have been doing something right if the restaurant has a queue during Sunday lunch hours.
Pan Fried Pork Buns (10 pieces) $8.80
Whilst waiting for a table, it seemed that nearly 1 in every 3 tables were ordering the pan fried pork buns. My first encounter with these were at Mr. Wong and boy was it a treat. No exception this time either. It was just as good as I had remembered and hoped for it to be. This ended up being Biggie’s favourite dish. He had a few struggles along the way, namely with the meat juices squirting back at him when he bit into the dough casing, but other than that he was gobsmacked as to how delicious they were.
The bottom was golden and crispy which gave the bun added texture. The ball of pork in the middle was incredibly tender and flavourful. It looks heavy, but we thought they weren’t as bad as they looked. Between the 2 of us, we had no real issues of eating 10 of those babies along with everything else that we had ordered.
Xiao Long Bao (8 pieces) $6.80
So I suppose this is what we came to Ashfield for. Dumplings. Soup dumplings. Xiao Long Bao (which Biggie likes to call shalong bow for some reason).
I was told a trick by my a friend - put the dumpling onto a soup spoon with a little vinegar/soy underneath, pierce the dumpling so that the juices/soup will spill out and then eat it. I must say it worked a treat and there were no burnt tongues (not for me at least, the boy on the other hand is a completely different story).
Deep Fried Pork Chop Noodle Soup $10.80
The noodle soup was relatively bland, but nothing that vinegar and soy couldn’t fix. There wasn’t anything special about it. It was just nice to have some soup with our meal. The deep fried pork chop on the otherhand was a hit. The chop itself was very tender and juicy with a lovely crispy batter. It was light and so easy to eat.
Beijing Style Spare Ribs $13.80
Sticky, sweet ribs are plentiful in flavour. I believe this dish is also known as peking spare ribs. I find it quite similar to sweet and sour pork, but minus the vegetables and with a more concentrated sauce. These ribs disappeared in a flash and we enjoyed licking our fingers for every last bit of that awesome sauce.
Pork and Corriander Dumplings (Large) $7.80
The waiter pops a plate of dumplings on our table – we were unsure if this was ours or not considering how full we were at this stage. Turns out that the Boy did order this and I had no idea. These dumplings have a more glutinous wrapper and is more like a rice cake consistency. The filling has plenty of corriander which adds freshness. Considering how full we were at this stage, we thought to leave the dumplings and take them away as we just could not stomach them - a thought we never consider when eating out.
We ordered so much for two people that this was the first time we have ever asked for a take away container. It really put the Boy into shock. Not realising the generous portions of each dish, we thought we ordered a normal amount for 2. I guess not…..
A week later we return with another couple. We order the same things as above, except for the deep fried pork chop noodle soup. We order the same amount of dishes but this time between 4. Haha. The shallot pancake was a bit disappointing. There wasn’t much flavour or texture to it. This was my first time having this but even then I thought there was just something missing.
Stir Fried Chinese Rice Cake in X.O Sauce and Shredded Pork
Glutinous pieces of rice cake is stir fried with some greens, pork and in X.O sauce. I was amazed at how well the rice cake absorbed the flavour of the sauce. It was a little on the heavy side so is a great dish to share but it was very tasty.
We were pretty shocked to see the prices of the dishes. We were expecting steep prices with smaller portions but instead got the opposite. It’s no wonder why we ordered so much and thought we could eat it all – we seriously ordered for a party of 4 and not two. Now we know for next time. Speaking of which, sounds like our trip to Ashfield will not be our last. We are already planning a trip to try one of the many other dumpling restaurants. If you have any recommendations please do let me know, would love to know your thoughts =)
273 Liverpool Road
Ashfield NSW 2131
Tel: +61 2 9797 7284