Sit back, sip on a Tsing Tao and suck on a soup dumpling at Taste of Shanghai in World Square.
Taste of Shanghai have an empire that spreads across the city from Ashfield, Hurstville and Eastwood to finer dining at Chatswood. While the fine dining might be nice, we are cheapskates and look for the best meals at the lower end of the budget. The World Square location means a great feed for two in the CBD with change from a lobster, can't get any better than that.
Spicy dan dan noodle soup - $9.80. An oily broth tasting of Szechuan pepper with a fair chili whack, spaghetti-thick noodles with mince pork and (we guess) some fermented soy beans. The broth has an almost milky consistency, we're not sure how they do it but we love it. This is a flavour we have grown to love over the years. Sensational. We've come back again for this one.
Shanghai pork noodle soup - about $10 on the specials menu. This is another soup with an oily broth, but unlike the dan dan noodles, it is less spicy, and not milky. It is topped with pork, hard tofu, mushrooms, peanuts and soy beans. Very good.
Pan fried pork bun with sesame - $9.80 for 8. A ball of piggy in a blanket of bun, crispy pan fried on the bottom. You know they're good.
Preserved vegetable with shredded pork noodle soup - $9.80. The pork and lightly salty veggies are served on the side, and there's plenty of 'em. The noodle soup is clear and plain with spaghetti-thick noodles.
Spicy beef belly noodle soup - $11.80. A nice chili and Schezuan pepper heat, a dash of oil keeps it 'burnies!' hot for quite a while. The spicy flavours nicely complement the white noodles and soak into the fatty meat. Taste of Shanghai does killer noodle soups.
Poached pork dumpling in chili oil - $9.80. Lovely pork dumpling with fresh chives drizzled with chili oil, it's flavoursome chili, not super hot bitey chili. Very happy. Highly recommended.
Shredded pork with wild vegetables stir fried rice cakes - $10.80. The humble, stodgey, simple rice cake is given a subtle lift with some green veg and slithers of pork. Yay.
Nanjing style salty duck - $10.80. Served cool. Not nearly as salty as we expected. It just tasted like good, simple duck. We found it a perfect counter\refresher when having one of the spicy soups.
From the lunch specials menu - steamed rice with diced pork - $9.80 (or $5.80 for small). The diced pork is wonderful, dark and sweet, it tastes like it has been simmered in something like soy, sugar and maybe five spice. Amongst the porky bits are nibbles of century egg, which gives it some extra oomph. It's like a fancy pants version of the Taiwanese pork'n'rice, garnished with steamed broccoli, tea smoked quail eggs and semi-sweet pickled radish. Mr Shawn liked this so much he went back the next day for it.
A simple stir fried rice noodles from the lunch special menu - $12.80. It's nice and wet. The belly pork is twice cooked and finely cut, it has a smoky bacon like taste.
Shanghai turnip croissants - $8.80. These are like little Chinese veggie pasties: light delicate pastry (we'd almost go so far as to call it dainty), with a simple filling of finely grated white turnip and veg in plain sauce. Beware the filling is hot - burnies!
Spicy crab meat Xiao Long Bao - $8.80. The famous soup filled dumplings, we tasted more pork than crab but we didn't care. We love the slight chili after-kick.
Longnecks of Tsingtao are only $9, only a couple of bucks more than bottle shop price, bargain!
We must look a bit stupid, we got a dill instead of a bill.
If you feel like it you can have a Tsing Tao beer with your meal and they serve free Chinese tea.
Taste of Shanghai is on the bottom level of World Square, next to the excellent Noodles Your Way.