New Shanghai in Ashfield is one of the big four Shanghainese restaurants located on Liverpool Road, the main street in the predominantly Asian suburb of Ashfield. My parents wanted to use one of their coupons in their Entertainment Book so we took a number and waited for our table at New Shanghai.
Our first dish was one of my favourites: Panfried Pork Buns. These came out hot and crispy. Despite the warning from our waiter, my Dad managed to burn his mouth by biting into the bun too quickly! I managed to avoid a similar fate by biting a small bit out of the top of the dough to let the steam escape and the filling and soup cool. This also allowed me to pour in some sauce so once it’s completely cool, I can drink the soup and eat the dumpling with a burn-free tongue!
Next, another Shanghainese favourite, the iconic Xiao Long Bao. These came out steaming in a set of eight and we couldn’t wait to dig in.
My favourite way to eat Xiao Long Bao is to put a bit of soy sauce and vinegar in my soup spoon and sit the dumpling in the sauce like shown above. This makes it easy for me to bite off the top and suck out the sweet, tasty soup inside. Once all the soup is gone, I can eat the rest of the dumpling in one bite, sauce and all. Very delicious and very moreish.
Our vegetable dish was the Sauteed Snow Pea Shoots. The snow pea shoots were fresh and crunchy and they were salted perfectly. They were a little too oily for my liking but nevertheless, I found them very tasty.
My choice for the night was the Salt and Pepper Tofu. I had heard it was worth trying and they were very interesting. The tofu was fried so it puffed up a bit but stayed soft in the centre. It was not nearly as salty as I was expecting which let the flavour of the tofu shine. We enjoyed this dish very much and it’s definitely worth trying.
The main star of the night was the Slow Braised Pork Belly with Sweetened Soy Sauce. It was served in an impressive terracotta clay pot and smelled delicious. The pork was very soft and had a delicious layer of fat and the sauce was more sweet than salty but not overly so. I was a bit disappointed at the serving size. The actual serving was very small, with maybe 10 pieces of pork with the rest of the pot being a separate reservoir of hot water. For the price and serving size, I wouldn’t order this again despite the amazing flavours.
Our last dish of the night was the Shanghai Stir Fried Noodles with Pork and Vegetables. It had a delicious soy-based sauce and the noodles were perfectly cooked and slightly wok-fried to get the “flavour of the wok”. There was the perfect mix of vegetables and shredded pork to go with the noodles. It was a great way to finish off our meal.
We had a very solid experience at New Shanghai and it is genuinely difficult to tell the difference between New Shanghai, Taste of Shanghai and Din Tai Fung which is a testament to their consistency. The only disappointment of the night was the serving size of the slow braised pork belly but we were satisfied after our meal.