Another family dinner and yes we are on a roll, trying out another new restaurant! The occasion was to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. My whole life I have been celebrating this with a family dinner but hey do I know what exactly this festival is about? No. I ashamedly Googled this. In summary, it means to celebrate the moon as it is at it's biggest and fullest. This is on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month which is usually in October. There is a love story behind it but you can look this up yourself it's a bit too long winded for me to tell here.
Ok, so we are back on the dumpling eating track. Hand-made dumplings skillfully created in-house by these Chinese ladies. Hundreds of them! We got three types this time. . .
Xiao Long Bao $8.80 - My favourite ones. These came out in an industrial steel steamer and were seriously good. Lots of soup which when I ate mine accidentally sprayed over the table as I didn't close my mouth fully enough. Well, that was because it was so bloody hot! The pork filling had just the right amount of saltiness as did the broth. This time I didn't have any chilli with these ones only a dash of the dark vinegar. 8/10.
Pan Fried Pork Buns with Sesame $8.80 - These are a bit more unusual and are much more doughier. It is as the description says, like a mini pork bun you get at yum-cha but pinched into a little dome rather than the open puffy cloud the Char Siu Bao's are. Again these have the same filling and soup combo. I added chilli to this one as there was more dough to it. It's amazing how the soup just sits inside and doesn't get soaked up. 7.5/10
Pan Seared Pork Dumpling $9.80 - The Chinese name for these are War Tip. I know, funny phonetic translation but it's for real. These are also a goody that you always get at yum-cha. But these ones here are much bigger and have heaps more pork/chive mixture inside. No soup in these, just the crispy thin dough and meat. Love these coated in lots of chilli and vinegar. 8/10
Braised Pork Belly with Fresh Steamed Buns - This dish is one of my all time favourite Chinese pork dishes. I don't eat it often so this was a treat and boy was it tasty. It's full of thin slices of pork belly in a rich kind of salty, vinegary sauce. I didn't copy down the price or exact dish name but it's got bits of preserved cabbage underneath as well. You have to mop up all the salty sauce with the sweet super soft bun, it's so good! This one of my Dad's favourites also but my Mum hates it as it's so fatty. 9/10.
Kung Po Chilli Chicken $15.80 - Bits of tender chicken stir-fried with red hot chillies, shallots and peanuts. Not sure how they get that hot stickiness of powerful sauce but this is a simple but great flavoured dish. 6.5/10.
Eggplant and pork mince in sweet chilli vinaigrette sauce $14.80 - This dish was my least favourite as it was too vinegary. My Mum makes this way better. Eggplant was nice and soft but yeah we were all a bit disappointed with this version. 4/10.
Live Barramundi in Sweet and Sour sauce $32.80 - This is one of the house specials and it did not disappoint. They brought this little barra out to show us flapping away in a plastic bag to get our approval before being deep fried and coated in this lovely thick sauce and plonked on our table. It really is a taste sensation. The flesh is still juicy not dry and the sweetness and sourness of the sauce does not overpower at all. Sweet and sour sauce is a flavour that enhances your appetite, this is what my Mum says and it's true. I could just eat plain rice with some of this sauce as a complete meal if I had to, it's that good. 8.5/10.
Stir-fried Snow Pea Sprouts with Mushrooms $15.80 - As usual we have to order a vegetable dish. You need a cleaner dish in amongst all these strong flavours. I love these sprouts cooked this way. 6/10.
Braised Beef Fillet in Chilli Broth - This was my pick as I wanted to try something different. Again not sure of the actual dish ingredients or name but it was packed with chilli seeds yet wasn't that hot. If 10 was the mother of all hotness then this would only be a 3 I reckon. In amongst this soupiness was the tender beef bits and to our surprise it also had vermicelli noodles underneath to help soak up some of that yummy sauce. It was wierd though as they only gave you a slotted spoon and not a ladle as well as I would've drank more of it this for sure! . . Well mixed in with my rice and I could've made a chilli sauce congee! Haha. 8/10.
This place was packed and lots of people waiting, so I suggest booking in advance, but make sure you check over the details with the person on the phone as they thought our booking was for the night before! So we had to wait!
I would recommend Taste Of Shanghai if you want different Chinese food. The prices are very reasonable. If you aren't close to Eastwood there are other branches in the City World Square, Chatswood and Ashfield.