New Shanghai Gears Up for Chinese New Year
By Jessica Williams
Follow her food adventures at @jsallgoodthings, on Instagram and Twitter
With Chinese New Year fast approaching, many Melbournians may be starting to wonder where they can ring in the “Year of the Goat” on Thursday February 19, 2015 with excellent and authentic food and drink.
So, to save you all the hassle and the potentially overcooked wontons, The World Loves Melbourne has put one ear to the ground and gone about the city to find the best, most authentic, dumplings in the CBD.
Our sources led us to New Shanghai – on the third level of Melbourne’s Emporium - owned and operated by the Chen family. This is the 8th restaurant to open under the New Shanghai banner – and our recommendation for authentic, inexpensive, generous servings of beautiful Chinese cuisine, this Chinese New Year.
The menu is large, and over a glass of T’Gallant Pinot Gris, we decide that we simply cannot decide, and instead ask our waiter to bring us a range of dishes for the evening.
The first dish to arrive is the New Shanghai Xiao Long Bao (8pcs for $7.80) – the steamed mini pork buns are made up of soft, supple skins that encase a piping hot pork filling and a delicately flavoured broth. Served with pickled ginger and dunked in the vinegar I elegantly refer to as “dumpling sauce” – these tender bites are simply divine.
The food at New Shanghai is reminiscent of the quality street food that can be found on the waterfront streets of The Bund – if you are having trouble deciding, the kind waiters will happily guide you through the menu. We thank them no end for their recommendation of the wontons – keep reading!
The New Shanghai Pan Fried Pork Bun (8pcs for $10.50) came next – with fluffy tops, crispy bottoms and a porky centre they are everything a pork bun is supposed to be and more. Each New Shanghai recipe has descended through generations of Chen families and into the hands of the New Shanghai Dumpling Masters. You can witness their magic through a large viewing window at the front of the restaurant.
Then came the dish of the night - Shepherd’s Purse Pork Wontons (10pcs for $11.50), tossed with Peanut Butter, Red Chilli Oil and Spice were placed in front of us, wading in a sweet, fish sauce broth. The pork filling is combined with subtle greens, adding a touch of freshness to this decadent dumpling.
Next came the mains; Deep Fried Crispy Skin Chicken ($16.80) and Deep Fried Barramundi ($28.00).
While you may expect these two dishes to look similar, you couldn’t be further from the truth. The Barramundi was a carnival of flavour and colour, swimming in a bright sweet and sour sauce with diced vegetables and a scatter of pine nuts. The thick and bready batter protecting the juicy, tender barramundi fillets within.
The chicken was much more refined, and while the protein was fine, it was the sauce that was remarkable. A special garlic and chilli brown sauce resembling soy mixed with spring onions accompanied the chook, and it was easily the stellar condiment of the night.
We ended our evening with a fresh blended ice ($5.80) - one strawberry, one lychee - and left feeling very pleased with the night’s authentic Chinese cuisine discovery. We are ready to celebrate the Year of the Goat – or as we will call it, the year of Peanut Butter and Chilli Oil wontons.
New Shanghai is open seven days a week. For more information, please visit www.newshanghai.com.au. Highly recommended.