On a stinking hot Saturday I accompany The Boy to Ashfield pool where he is refereeing waterpolo. As I bob around in the human soup waiting for him to finish, my thoughts aren't really at the crowded pool, but on the dumplings we're going to eat after the water polo game finishes.
After doing a bit of research on the Internet I decided on Shanghai Night for our dumpling-fest. I'd heard good things about it and reading a few positive reviews is all I need for it to be added to my hit list.
The restaurant is little shabby looking with the requisite laminate tables, faded menu and hand written specials on the wall. But like so many great Chinese eateries the more simple the decor, the better the food often is! Plus China Shanghai is gloriously air-conditioned. We'd eat of the floor in this weather and not care as long as the a/c was switched on.
To start with we order a cold Garlic Cucumber ($8.80) dish. Neither The Boy and I have had this dish before but we quickly fall in love with the refreshing flavours. The cucumber is so fresh it snaps when we bite into it. There is a lot of garlic and it's very very strong but seeing as we're both eating it there is no risk of offending anyone in the car on the way home with our bad breathe.
Next up dumplings...which is really what we're here for.
Our first choice is the Steamed Shanghai Style Mini Pork Bun ($6.50). These are the dumplings that (I think) are popularly referred to as Xiao Long Bao by those in the know...or as The Boy and I call them "those soupy dumplings".
The man working at China Shanghai Night proudly tells us that the this restaurant was the first in Sydney to make Xiao Long Bao...and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise!
Breaking through the dumpling wrapper reveals a dumpling filled with soup and dumpling meat. These taste perfect served with a mix of soy sauce and vinegar. Be careful when you eat them though as the soup is often piping hot and has a tendency to spurt everywhere!
We order a small serve of Pork with Chives Garlic in Dumpling ($5.50). These steamed dumplings are incredible value as we get a plate of 12 dumplings. I wonder how many dumplings are in a large serve?
To end the dumpling-love fest our final choice is a serve of Steamed Lamb and Onion Dumplings ($6.80). This is another generous serve of dumplings...which is good as they are pretty tasty. The dumpling skin is not too thick, and not too thin and the onion really lifts the flavour of the lamb filing.
Shanghai Night is at 275 Liverpool Rd, Ashfield.