My aunty had raved on about New Shanghai for a while, saying that they make the best dumplings in Melbourne. Huge call, and I’ve been really wanting to try them out to see what the fuss was all about. Problem is that we hardly ever go to Emporium in the CBD, so on this rare occasion we were there, we wasted no time in checking them out.
We got to New Shanghai with an hour till closing time, therefore only waited around 10 minutes for a table. I have heard from other people that it’s not uncommon to wait over 30-45 minutes for a table, so keep this in mind if you’re hungry! A person put our names on their list and allocated a number to us. I kinda feel sorry for the take away place next to New Shanghai, because everyone seemed to be using their chairs to sit down and wait without buying anything (we’re guilty also). The restaurant itself looks very Chinese, sending a strong message that they do not do fusion foods. Message received loud and clear, time to bring on the dumplings!
It’s criminal to not start off with the classic Xiao Long Bao (steamed pork dumplings). This is the signature dumpling where all the dumpling places are rated on, a make or break dish. The Xiao Long Bao here was fabulous. The skin was thin and soft, but fully capable of holding the beautiful soup inside. With the correct chopstick technique, you shouldn’t spill a drop. I would recommend grabbing the dumpling more towards the top, where there’s more rigidity as the middle part can be quite delicate. The soup had great natural sweetness and hits you with a burst of flavour! The pork mix inside was soft and bouncy, maintaining good texture. Could not fault the Xiao Long Bao, it’s as good as any I’ve had in the past!
My personal favourite was the prawn wontons with peanut-sesame sauce and chilli oil. The prawn filling was fresh, and the peanut-sesame sauce was outstanding. It was as though they mixed smooth peanut butter through the sauce, and the peanut taste hits the back of the palette after every bite! I loved it, and will certainly be getting this dish every time. We ordered some other dishes such as the drunken chicken, pan fried crab meat & pork dumplings, and the crab meat Xiao Long Bao. They were all high quality dishes and I guarantee that you won’t leave disappointed.
All the waiting staff were quick and highly alert. They were always looking around to see if any customers needed anything, it never takes long to get their attention. The service is efficient but not personable, as they will not go out of their way to ask you how your day’s been. We also experienced the vintage Asian style of stacking the chairs around us before closing time. We’re not too fussed about this, but if this is something that bothers you, then you may have to come earlier and not so close to closing time.
All in all, we enjoyed our experience at New Shanghai and would highly recommend them to anyone after some top quality dumplings! Are they the best in Melbourne? Well I’d have to say they are right up there! We’ll need to make a visit to our other dumpling favourite again in order to come to a true conclusion. It’s been a while since we’ve been to the other place, therefore we need to refresh our taste buds. We will write a review after the visit. As it stands right now, New Shanghai is certainly right up there in our top 2 in Melbourne!
Approx $50 AUD per person
Address: Emporium Melbourne, Level 3, 287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: +61 3 9994 9386