For some reason I had it in my head that Taste of Shanghai was a "fancy place". I'm pleased to report that it's NOT. It's your standard "casual" Ashfield dumpling joint and I really like it! Service is fast, efficient and polite(ish). We arrive at noon, just before the rush hits. But 12.30pm the place is packed! The tables are a notch up from the usual laminex tables...and the clientele are a mix of locals, families, oldies, couples. The majority of the patrons are Asian which Aussies like us always take as a great sign of how good, and authentic, a place is. If a Chinese restaurant is full of Aussies I suggest you RUN away (unless you're in a country town like the ones I grew up in of course)!
Lunch kicks off with a pot of hot FREE tea! Imagine the uproar if places like this ever start charging for their tea!
Although we're here for the dumplings we also have to order a side of Lebanese Cucumber ($7.80) that is doused with a heafy splosh of garlic and vinaigrette. I love cucumber prepared in this way, so simple, so tasty and so refreshing when you're about to inhale a tonne of meaty dumplings! It's also a pretty simple dish to make at home and it's become a staple in our house.
I also just have to order another of my favourite dishes - stir fried green beans with pork mince ($15.80). This is a another dish that I've learned to master at home (thanks to a recipe emailed to me by Shez)...it's quite simple to make and super tasty. Whilst this restaurant version is a bit more oily than my homemade attempt, I think the flavour of this version is slightly better than mine - is it salt, MSG? I have no idea but it's delish.
Dumpling time! Taste of Shanghai isn't purely a dumpling joint so you'll find LOTS of other stuff on the menu. It's hard for us to stay focused but we pull through in the end and order a serve of pan-fried pork dumplings ($9.80 for 8 pcs). These dumplings are excellent - just look how crispy that pan-fried bottom is. They were very tasty too - sometimes I'm not in love with the strong flavour of pork dumplings, but this was lovely and mild, and well seasoned.
And last but not least a serve of pork and chive dumplings ($8.80 for 12 pieces). These steamed dumplings never look as tempting as their crispy-bottomed brothers, but they are lovely in their own way..and we feel quite virtuous and healthy eating these.
Taste of Shanghai is at 264 Liverpool Road, Ashfield.