Shanghai Noodle House – dumpling place on Tattersalls Ln (滄浪亭)
689 Tattersalls lane
A little hungry after a catering service at the Melbourne Museum, originally we were going to pop by good ‘ol Camy Shanghai Dumpling on Tattersalls lane for a quick fix. But we were (not surprisingly) greeted with an epic queue at 8.30pm. It was a Friday night after all. It was quickly decided that filling our hungry stomachs soon was much higher on our priority list, especially with a group of 8. So, we settled for the place between Camy’s and Gaylord.
This dumpling house had your typical dumpling house décor with plastic furniture and fluoro coloured menu items postered all over the walls. Looking at the menu (see close-up above), one particular item caught our eyes –”liquid sauce chicken”. Not exactly the perfect translation of drunken chicken, but a hilarious attempt I thought. [Thankyou Mr ID for posing with the menu]
Arriving in a clay pot, the Sichuan wonton soup had plenty of tasty wontons. However, they weren’t particularly “Sichuan”, being not much different from your Cantonese version both in flavour and egg-based skin. There was also some black fungus (木耳), crab sticks and lapidea shoots (马蹄) within the soup.
The New Year glutinous cake (炒年糕, nian gao) had a good level of “Q” (bite) to it, and wasn’t drenched in oil as can happen quite easily. There was a good balance of sweet with the savoury. Tasty!
Prawn dumplings (蝦餃) – Though it had a nice glimmer and decent “bite” to it, it had an uncanny resemblance to frozen prawn dumplings (made in Sydney) that I can buy from my local Chinese grocery in packs of 50. Not to say it’s not nice, but I could simply steam these at home myself at a fraction of the cost. (Ok, now I just sound stingy, since they weren’t exactly expensive anyways =P)
After a somewhat depressing “frozen theory” of mine, next came a bamboo basket of Xiao Long Bao (小籠包, aka XLB). Each dumpling had an abundance of juicy broth with a tasty morsel of pork inside and a slight hint of ginger. Using HuTong as a benchmark for comparison, it had a comparably less viscous / fatty broth and slightly more friable skin. The ease at which the skin broke, brought on a who-could-pick-up-XLB-without-breaking-the-skin contest. Some were successfully peeled away from the metal base without puncturing its skin, but a few had their guts (*ah hem* – broth) spilled out.
The skin is understandably difficult to perfect, but the broth viscosity and intensity is more individual as to whether one prefers a more consommé or more thick broth – I like both. Plus, for the price that we were paying though, it was a bargain delight, such that we subsequently ordered 2 more baskets. We were hungry alright …
Deep fried bean paste pancake (豆沙窝饼, dou sha wo bing) – had a super crispy pastry with a sweet bean paste middle. Though I must warn you that, after a little resting the middle pieces can become slightly “soggy” with oil. So either you eat it quickly, or endure the soggy’ness *shivers*. But all in all, you can’t go wrong with this dessert – so indulgent.
Rating: Yummy. Cheap eat, perfect for a quick dumpling fix.
Question: What’s the ENGLISH NAME of this place? Someone please HELP ME with the name of this place, I seriously can’t remember, and couldn’t locate it on google or urbanspoon. – – Answered: “Shanhai Noodle House”.
|Dumplings at home:
These days you can find just about any dumpling you want at the local Asian grocery, but I was it was still much to my surprise (a few years ago) when I stumbled upon frozen XLB’s which had a decently flavoured broth and juicy pork. I’ve actually had XLB’s that were worse than these, and others that were “scarily” identical to these at some dumpling places around Melbourne. These particular ones I buy are made and shipped in from Sydney.
Where to get? I have found them in Preston and Boxhill, but I reckon most Asian groceries should have them.
Which one? They come in small plastic takeaway boxes with 12 in each. Made in Sydney and generally has a white label. (I’ve tried to be descriptive since I can’t remember the brand, so I’ll add the “name” when I next buy it)
How to cook? If you have a bamboo basket and some baking paper, you have all that you need. Line the basket with a layer of baking paper and spread out the frozen XLB’s. Then steam on boiling water for 10-12 minutes. They should start to sag slightly around the sides when they are done.
How to eat? Bite a small hole at the apex of the dumpling. Blow to cool. Then slurp the broth inside through the hole. Now enjoy the rest of the dumpling. [Disclaimer: I take no legal responsibility for burns!]