Chinese restaurants like to set their Lunar New Year off to a good start and New Shanghai in Ashfield did this by providing their customers with a one-time voucher to redeem a free steamer of xiao long bao with orders over $50.00. With the voucher in hand, N convinced D and me to visit with her and T. I always need convincing to eat at a Chinese restaurant outside of a work event.
N likes their Taro Milk Tea ($5.00), which is the palest lilac with a silky smooth texture and a sweet and strong taro flavour.
Not being fans of taro, D and I try their Lychee Ice Blended Drink ($6.00), which is surprisingly different from your run of the mill lychee blended drinks with a more fragrant lychee flavour.
These Stir Fried Clams with XO Sauce ($18.80) are one of two dishes N used to lure me to Ashfield. Those morsels of tender shell fish are so delicious I could inhale dish after dish! There wasn’t much heat to the XO sauce, though, which I appreciate in small quantities to give the dish an extra kick.
These Xiao Long Bao — Steamed Pork Dumplings ($9.20) are one of their signature dishes. The soup and the pork had good flavour, but I prefer the thinner skins of the ones from Din Tai Fung.
Our second dumplings are the Pork and Coriander Dumplings, Steamed ($10.00). These are packed with coriander flavour, leaving the pork only as the tender glue holding the green specked innards together. This is not a dish for people averse to coriander! I’d have enjoyed it more if, again, the skins were thinner.
And for a change of pace, these are Pot Stickers — Pan Fried Pork Dumplings ($10.40).
These potstickers have skins that are so thick and doughy that the skin to pork ratio is skewed to almost 2:1 with no crispiness. Again, I find the thinner and crispier skin potstickers at Din Tai Fung more enjoyable.
In this impressive clay pot is the Slow Braised Pork Belly with Sweetened Soy Sauce ($19.50). The sweetened soy sauce glaze was delicious and the pork belly was tender, although the fatty parts were too soft, turning to an unpleasant mush in your mouth.
And vegetables! No, these were not our token greens as this was the second dish that N used to lure me to Ashfield: Braised Eggplant with Garlic Sauce ($16.80). Here, the eggplant is thinly battered in rice flour being doused in garlic sauce. These were delicious.
And finally, dessert. These are the Shanghai Red Bean Pancakes ($8.20)
I was expecting flat pancakes so these round rectangular pastries. Shape aside, this dessert wasn’t a hit, with the pastry being too oily and so delicate and flaky (in a bad way) as to fall apart. Past the flaky pastry, the doughy innards were half cooked and with the red bean, left a sweet and nutty, but oily, mushy mouthfeel that was completely unpleasant.
The two dishes — the clams and eggplant — N used to convince me to go to Ashfield were great, but they’re not unique to New Shanghai and with the overly thick skins on their dumplings and mushy mouthfeel of their pork belly and pancakes, I’m in no rush to return.
New Shanghai is at 273 Liverpool Rd, Ashfield NSW 2131.