TASTE OF SHANGHAI, BURWOOD from freeamfva's blog


What I am about to write in this blog is something very close to my heart. It’s a type of regional Chinese cuisine I was familiar with long before I came to appreciate fresh sashimi or aged Jamon Iberico, it is the cuisine of my birth city.To get more news about China cuisine, you can visit shine news official website.

Since moved to Australia, one of the things I have missed the most, apart from my family and friends, were the dumplings I grew up with, both steamed and pan fried. Visiting a dumpling restaurant was often top of the itinerary whenever I travelled back. But to feast on dumplings no longer took an 11-hour flight every 12 months thanks to the opening of first Taste of Shanghai branch in Sydney’s inner west suburb of Ashfield in 2005.

Ashfield is long known as “Little Shanghai” in Sydney. The main road Liverpool Street is teeming with Chinese signposted restaurants and grocery stores specialising in Shanghai’s famous dishes and produce. It was only fitting for the Taste of Shanghai group to open their first outpost in Ashfield. In just over 10 years, the chain has expanded to 7 branches and has become a leader at the forefront of Shanghai cuisine in Australia. As a loyal customer from day one, I am proud of having been to every branch and experienced first-hand how consistent the food quality and service are across all branches.

The most popular dumplings from Taste of Shanghai are Xiao Long Bao (aka soup dumplings) with a paper-thin wrap and pork filling. The making of XLB is quite a form of art and only the most experienced staff are entrusted with this task in Taste of Shanghai. Legend has it that the most skilful XLB chefs in shanghai can make the wrap so thin that it is almost translucent to see the juice inside. The first time I had soup dumplings from Taste of Shanghai, I thought I was back in my hometown.

The cousin of XLB is Sheng Jian Bao.I explained the variations of SJB in Shanghai that only locals can identify; it all comes down to the proving process of the dough. My personal preference is the under-proved method which gives a thin dough to the dumplings. Needless to say, Taste of Shanghai has the juiciest SJB with a dark brown crunchy bottom and very thin dough.

It may seem obvious to me, but the right way to eat either dumpling is to bite a small hole on the side (not on top or at the bottom), blow some cold air in, let it cool down slightly, suck as much juice out as you can, and take a big bite of the rest. How often do you see people take a bite of the dumpling and juice squirts everywhere? That is because they didn’t follow the correct process.

There are other types of dumplings such as Shui Jiao or Wontons, either steamed, boiled, or cooked in chilli oil. Locals from Shanghai literally eat them for breakfast, lunch and / or dinner. The humble dumplings are cheap, tasty and can be found in every corner of the city.

In a typical banquet in Shanghai, the dishes are usually served in the order of cold appetizers, hot dishes, soup, desserts, and fruits. The most common cold appetizers include braised bamboo shoots, sweet sour pork, jellyfish, sliced five spice beef, smoked carp, etc. I was delighted to see many of them on the menu of Taste of Shanghai, they have even grown on my English husband.

Apart from dumplings, another dish the locals in Shanghai absolutely love is crayfish. In fact there are hundreds of restaurants in Shanghai dedicated to serving crayfish only with a handful of sides. The most popular flavour is spicy crayfish, cooked either with or without the head. It is not uncommon for the seafood to be served cold on shaved ice and usually the largest and best crayfish are selected for this cooking method. In my most recent trip to Taste of Shanghai, the crayfish was on the special menu (due to seasonality) and they were some of the meatiest I have ever tasted.

I can go on and on and write a book about Shanghai cuisine and every dish I tried at Taste of Shanghai over the years – noodles, hairy crabs, rice cakes, pastries, you name it. I am just so glad that Taste of Shanghai brings my childhood food to my new adopted home Sydney so whenever I have cravings, I know exactly where to go.

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