Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Shanghai Night revisited...many times

I've been living in Ashfield for 20 years this year. In the past 20 years, I would probably go out for Shanghainese food about 1-2 times a year, if even that. Usually its because friends would want to go, or we want to go out for a quick, cheap family dinner. In the last year, I've been going for Shanghai food a lot more as my friends want to go more often. This means I don't have to wait a whole year to go to Shanghai Night!

Before I go on, let me say this was eaten over a few meals, not all in one go!

San jin bao - Pan fried pork buns

One of my absolute favourites and guaranteed to satisfy the biggest appetite. The buns have a crispy, crunchy bottom that is golden brown. The top is soft and fluffy. Inside this magical creature is a pork filling swimming in a luscious rich soup.

To eat this, and any of their other dumplings, pick up with your chopsticks and rest in the soup spoon. Take a small bite to release the scorching hot steam and carefully suck out all the soup. Dip, or do what I do, pour vinegar into the cavity before trying to shovel the whole thing in your mouth. No need to be neat and dainty here!

Pan fried pork dumplings

These are a must order every time I go. Just like the pan fried pork buns, the bottoms are lovely and crunchy whilst the top is soft and chewy. The filling is the same as the buns, which means there is a steaming hot pocket of soup in these lovely darlings.

Hokkien Fried Rice

Yeah yeah, order hokkien fried rice in a Shanghainese place, but this is one of my favourite dishes. The toppings are a bit tight for what they charge, but every now and then, they will load it up with heaps of chicken, scallops, prawns and squid.

Green bean starch sheet with pork and cucumber

One of the many specials written on the wall. There is a vegetarian version in the menu which I have yet to try. This is a really nice refreshing summer dish. The noodles, or should I say starch sheets, are cold, slippery and chewy. This is topped with cold crunchy cucumber and carrots, stir fried pork, seasame with a light tangy soya sauce dressing.

Stir fried new year cakes Shanghai Style

Considering I always get the Stir fried Shanghai handmade noodles, I opted to try the new year cakes instead. This was a bit bland compared to the noodle version. The new year cakes are chewy and starchy, making it hard to absorb the sauce. I asked for a dish of chilli garlic sauce and mixed that in, which made it a wonderful dish.

Wonton soup

I always see people order their wonton soup, and wonton is one of my favourite things! (A lot of things are my favourite things) I've practically gone through and tried every type of wonton on their menu. All VERY VERY good. And cheap!

Shanghai vegetable fried rice

This was a bit of a disappointing dish. I was expecting a traditional dry fried rice with a strong "wok hei" (breath of the wok), but instead, this was wet and sloppy. Half of the dish consisted of chopped up shanghai bok choy, making the fried rice really wet. They were also really tight on the pork and chinese sausages. What you see in the photo, is literally what we got. If we were lucky, there might have been another 2-3 cubes of meat buried in that.

Ja Jiang Mien

There is a lovely waitress there that always remember me and my brother even though we visit so infrequently. When I used to go with my brother and his girlfriend (now wife), we always order the Ja Jiang Mien. EXCEPT, we ALWAYS get it confused with the Dan Dan Mien. Dan Dan Mien is essentially the same thing, stir fried chilli mince on noodles. But instead of thin noodles, you get thick hand made noodles. So every time we went, we had to ask her which one had the thin noodles. Its taken a few years, but I'm slowly learning.

Ja Jiang Mien all mixed up

From memory, the Ja Jiang Mien used to come with shredded cucumber to add crunch, but that was missing the last time I went there.

The servings here are huge and the prices very decent. 2 serves of dumplings and 2 noodle/rice dishes can easily feed 2-3 REALLY hungry people with leftovers. Most times I've gone, 4 dishes will cost me around $25-$35. A bargain if you ask me.

Shanghai Night
(Directly opposite Ashfield Mall)
275 Liverpool Rd
Ashfield 2131

Ph: 9798 8437

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