Shanghai Street

Posted on August 9, 2011

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After sampling the real deal in Shanghai earlier this year, I’d near lost interest in Shanghai dumplings in the city. It was only after a friend’s friend’s recommendation (long story) that I came to try Shanghai Street (342 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC). Unlike most popular dumplings places though, this one is not found in Chinatown. Instead it’s set near all the travel/backpacking shops on the strip close to Elizabeth Street. And it looks nothing like your typical Chinatown el cheapo dumpling joint; it’s less drab and a lot cleaner looking for one. The small shop has a frontage made entirely of glass and a few tables scattered outside for al fresco dining. The interior is simple; bar seating for 4 in the front with the cashier and kitchen set towards the back. The middle consists of small tables seating 2 or 4 diners. It was full on the night we visited resulting in a minor wait for a table.

The menu is competitively priced and offers the range you’d expect of a dumplings bar. We started with the sesame crusted bacon pancakes (~$5 I think) which was a pleasant departure from the usual spring onion pancakes you’d no doubt be more familiar with. Despite the tiny amount of bacon in these deep fried delicacies, they did taste surprisingly bacon-y. Channel your inner Homer Simpson and forget about calories for a moment, these were yum. Just a word of warning, they were rather oily and could have done with a paper towel pat down.

For the xiao long bao (soup filled dumplings or mini juicy buns as Shanghai Street prefers to call them), there were about 4 varieties on offer. We went with the pork and crab meat ($10) which I considered to provide the best value for money. They were flavoursome with a good amount of broth inside. The pastry was thin and I could actually see some of the crab meat amongst the pork mince which gets a big tick.

The stir fried noodles with pork and veggies (~$9) also went down a treat. Instead of the usual white rice flour based Shanghai noodles, they used a yellow egg noodle. As another point of difference, there was a good helping of wood ear fungi in the mix – a move away from the more mundane pork and cabbage only variations on the market.

Service was fast and courteous. Food was tasty and cheap, what more can a girl ask for? It’s definitely one I’ve pegged for return visits. I hear their pan fried dumplings are quite good too!

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