09 Aug New Shanghai, Melbourne CBD
As one of the original tenants that opened its doors along with the launch of Emporium, New Shanghai’s reputation for its dumplings has steadily grown. Dumplings being formed by the front window draws in the crowds, and also serves as a distraction whilst waiting for a table to free up.
We arrived early, making a mistake with its opening hours, but there were already a few others standing eagerly by the entrance. The interior is bright and casual. Its paintwork and decor creates an atmosphere that’s meant to transport you far away, and distract you from the reality that you’re in the middle of a shopping centre.
We ordered a slew of dishes, wanting to see what else would stand out apart from their signature dumplings. Of course, being A2’s first visit to New Shanghai, we were obligated to order some of their dumplings anyway. We loved the New Shanghai pan-fried buns on a previous visit, but decided that the plain pork might be even better than the crab and pork combination, which had a sweetness that we preferred not to be present. This visit gave us the perfect opportunity to taste it, and we did indeed love the plain pork ones even more. Although there was the odd oily and not-quite-browned-on-the-bottom dumpling, the majority of them had an addictively crunchy base and a piping hot (literally, so don’t burn yourself), soupy filling.
Both plain pork and truffle and pork xiao long bao were also on the order. The truffle was very subtle and difficult to pick, so perhaps not quite worth the extra expense. Though not the best xiao long bao we’ve ever had, they were both still very good. The skins were thin, and the fillings and broth contained within them were flavoursome.
We did also order a serve of pan-fried pork dumplings, but unfortunately they were unimpressive.
The Hong You Chao Shou were better. The silky Shepherd’s Purse and pork wontons were dressed with punchy chilli oil and a smooth and salty peanut sauce.
Mum also loves her noodles, and Zha Jiang Mian is one of her favourites. The noodles were nice, fat, smooth and at times rather long – add a bit of chilli paste and this was delicious. The cucumber was much welcomed as a refreshing break between each flavour-packed bite.
We don’t usually end our Chinese meals with sweets (apart from fruit), but today we made an exception because mum was intrigued by sound of the pumpkin rice cakes. These had a texture similar to mochi, and were filled with a red bean paste that wasn’t too sweet.
Both our visits left us satisfied with a good feed. The dumplings are more expensive than most run-of-the-mill places in Chinatown, but thankfully with a step up in price, comes a step up in quality. More than just dumplings, their other dishes also impressed. New Shanghai will stay on our shortlist for good Chinese food in the CBD, and I’m keen to visit again to try more of their non-dumping dishes!
Disclaimer: I received a 25% discount off the bill at New Shanghai through the Entertainment Book. You can also take advantage of these offers by buying a membership. 20% of every membership sold through this link will contribute to fighting child poverty with Compassion Australia!
Shop 323, Level 3, Emporium Centre
287 Lonsdale St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9994 9386