Monday, April 20, 2009
Review: Taste of Shanghai Restaurant, Eastwood
It was cold and rainy today...
...and uni has just had to start itself up again after a very-very-very-very short Easter break. Oh the misery of having to attend class when you could be either 1.) snuggled up in your bed wrapped in a warm blanky or 2.) making cauliflower soup from scratch to have with crusty bread and gaining blubber to help you hibernate through winter.
Either way, as much as I would continue complaining about my life, JL & Co. definitely had it a lot worse today.
Mid-freakin'-sem freakin' exams.
Seriously. First day back? Seriously?
The upside of things however, is that the boys love a good "let's celebrate the end of XYZ exam" event/dinner thing at the end of the day , and since I'm happily bumbling along with my studies, I freely tag along. Besides, it's cold and rainy outside so who wouldn't be up for some warm, yummy food? Right? Right? Right?
So I went to dinner with the boys, and ended up in some place in Eastwood. It's Shanghainese food for tonight.
This place is supposedly "not-as-new-as-we-think-it-is". At least that was the reply I got when I asked LT whether this place was new or not. After a little bit of research, it seems that this place used to be called Tang Dynasty and only had a namechange after a change in ownership. I have to say that it's a buzzy little place with almost every table filled with families and chilled friends gathering for a bit of good food. Oh, and it's only Monday night.
The picture above is the Shanghainese Savoury Soy Milk (咸豆浆) which JL ordered (and everyone else helped themselves to). I must say I wasn't a fan, but according to JL this one was pretty flavourless and disappointing, even after attempting to save it with a bit of soy sauce.
I guess I'll just have to keep myself open to future encounters.
These little fellas are the famous Dough Sticks (油条). I usually dip them in my congee, or occasionally soy sauce (much to the dismay of my other friend AL), but apparently you can also dip them in the Savoury Soy Milk. I tried, I chewed, and I swallowed. Twice. It was just ok. Nothing special, and not the slightest bit close to beating the congee + dough stick combo.
To its merits the sticks came out warm, not too oily and definitely not re-deepfried like some places. However, good dough stick makers are aware of what oil they use for deep frying. Some oils (like vegetable, unfortunately), simply don't have a very good flavour to lend to the dough. I understand that there are probably certain health-reason behind using the blander oils, but these babies need to be fried in tasty oil for them to be good!
Shanghai Cu Chao (上海粗炒) - sorry for the lack of better translation.
I don't remember who ordered this, but I was quite pleasantly surprised by the nommiliciousness of it. According to JL these were handmade noodles, and had quite a satisfying bite to them. Portion-wise it, like everything else in this restaurant, was definitely on the small side. Shanghai Nights in Ashfield definitely beats this place hands-down, blindedfolded when it comes to value for money.
Hokkien Fried Rice (福建炒饭)
Umm...to be honest I have no idea what this dish tasted like. By the time I got around to tasting some of the other dishes and taking photos of everything, the boys had already demolished this.
I suppose that does say something about this dish right?
Boys. *sigh* You guys owe me.
Xiao Long Bao (小笼包）
I really don't have much to complain about this dish. The soupy filling was there, and it wasn't too salty nor sweet and everything was done to perfection. And despite my incredibly uncoordinated use of chopsticks, the dough wrapping didn't break on me either. All in all, this dish was heeeeeeeeeaven.
Bean Sprouts Cooked in Chicken Broth (鸡汤豆苗）
We seriously needed greens on the table. By greens I really meant fibre, because I get concerned when I eat too much meat and not enough fibre, and then we ALL know what happens the next day. So I ordered this, because I mean...it sounds nice right?
Well I guess I was partially right. The bean sprouts were really fresh and young, so they didn't have any of the stringiness that older bean sprouts get. They were sweet too. On the downside however, the chicken broth was really just a soup made out of MSG. It tasted like the broth you get when you cook chicken flavoured MAGGI 2-minute noodles.
Oh, and after we finished the bean sprouts, you could actually see the powder residues in the soup. Exhibit A:
For those wondering, yes we all drank about a pot of tea each afterwards, and then some.
Shanghai Fried Buns (上海生煎包）
When food makes you smile like that, you know they're good. And these were awesome. The fillings were probably the same as the Xiao Long Bao and they were perfect. I vaguely remember JL's younger brother AL muttering something about another place having nicer versions, but I myself had no complaints whatsoever. I just demolised these babies.
Oh, and be careful of the hot soup inside. The eagerbeaver next to me burnt himself.
Shallot Pancakes (葱油饼）
...how can I describe my feeling upon the sight of this?
I have a dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." So why should it be that only some may have these shallot pancakes readily available and other do not?
I have a dream that one day on the rolling hills all around Sydney, the sons of former citizens and the sons of future citizens will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood filled with shallot pancakes and other nommilicious goodies...
...I still have a dream...
...and I nommed it good.
Taste of Shanghai - Eastwood
200 Rowe Street
Eastwood, NSW 2122
P.S. The parent shop is in Ashfield.