Every now and then, I get really massive dumpling cravings. By that, I mean Shanghainese dumplings like Xiao Long Bao, boiled and pan fried dumplings to name a few. Since I currently reside in South West Sydney, the closest suburb where I could find many of these dumplings was Ashfield. One pouring rainy day in early December, we ended up in Ashfield where there were loads of cheap eat Chinese dumpling joints to choose from. Since we were parked at Ashfield Mall and we weren't keen to go across the street in the stormy wet weather, the closest we found was Taste of Shanghai located right next door to the shopping centre.
Wonton in Red Chilli Oil Sauce ($9.80)
We were so hungry so we went for the 4 most popular dumplings according to Taste of Shanghai's epic sized menu. The wontons in red chilli oil sauce actually weren't as spicy as they looked. There was still that subtle kick but nothing that will harm your tastebuds if you can't stand that stuff. Loads of flavour from the sauce which became handy for the next set of dumplings.
Poached Pork and Chive Dumplings ($9.80)
Despite having the same price as the other dumpling plates, there was actually 12 pieces for this serving. Too generous for two people but plenty of left overs for tomorrow. Great value for money! While the poached (or boiled I guess) dumplings weren't as flavoursome as the others (used lots of soy and chilli oil sauces for this) but the pork and chive filling was soft and juicy. Also a slightly healthier option than the crispy variety...
Pan fried pork buns ($9.80)
Despite what I said just then, these pan-fried pork buns were my favourite of the lot! Cannot resist a pan fried pork bun especially with the crispy bottom base. Always a winner whenever I see that crispy base hehe. Although we were starting to get full by this point because of the thick dough pastry (and the Xiao Long Bao still hasn't showed up), we were keen to demolish this because it was so tasty. Be careful when handling these dumpling because the hot broth can squirt out if you bite it too quickly.
Xiao Long Bao ($9.80)
Yes we over ordered but I was still excited for the xiao long bao even though I was stuffed by this point. They weren't as silky thin as Din Tai Fung's version but they were still very easy to pierce so that the hot broth flows onto the spoon. Or inside the bamboo basket as I tried to pick them up. The decent amount of pork filling was just as tender, juicy and easy to devour. CC also thought that the xiao long bao and the pan fried pork buns were her faves and has since made multiple visits at this joint.
With so many dumpling joints in Ashfield (and Sydney CBD where another branch is located at the same shopping centre as Din Tai Fung), it's hard to pick a favourite especially with New Shanghai and Shanghai Nights across the street. The service wasn't awesome (as expected) but they understood our requests which was a plus for us since we both don't speak Chinese at all! The dishes came out pretty quickly and the prices were quite cheap. Personally I wouldn't mind returning back (especially if the queues at New Shanghai are super long) for the pan fried dumplings as well as trying out some of the many other dishes from the menu. Best to go with a larger group to try and share as many dishes as your stomach can handle.
Taste of Shanghai
264 Liverpool Road, Ashfield NSW 2131 (also at World Square, Hurstville and Eastwood)
(02) 9798 2877