Apparently this restaurant also served really good Shanghai dumplings so I had to try it out!
The shanghai dumplings had a thin pastry and looked similar to Bamboo Basket's. Price wise, you could get two serves (8 dumplings) here, for the price of one serve at Bamboo Basket.
The filling was made from pork mince and had a decent amount of broth inside. The dumplings were tasty and fresh, but I would have liked them hotter because when I took a bite into my dumpling, the broth had started to set (but still lots left!)
Look how juicy they are!
Next were the pan fried pork buns. This also had a pork filling, however there were also chives inside, which gave a stronger flavour. The buns were pan-fried til golden brown and were not oily at all. I would recommend ordering this when you visit! Note of caution- make sure you have a napkin close by, as the buns are filled with broth and the juices are likely to squirt out (but oh so delicious)!
Shanghai pan fried pork buns
I had to order some dumplings to compare with the ones we make at home but unfortunately I think our home made dumplings won. The dumplings were again pan fried very well, but the pork and chive filling didn't have much taste to it. The pastry was a little bit hard too. You would need to dip these in black vinegar to make them more flavoursome.
Chives and pork dumplings
This was another 'chef's suggestion' - Shanghai style fried chicken. I have mixed feelings about this dish. While the presentation was nice, it was disappointing to see it had more bones than meat. The flavour was pretty average and the chillies in the dish was a garnish more than anything, as it was not spicy at all. It wasn't a bad dish - but I will leave it up to you guys to try it for yourselves.
Shanghai style fried chicken
I'm not a fan of animal intestines, but the others like that stuff and ordered the pork stomach in hot wok. I managed to try some of the other things in the wok like the tofu, and the mushrooms. Again, I felt like this was a pretty average dish. Others at the table commented it had a bit of 'pork smell', which usually happens when the intestines have not been thoroughly cleaned out prior to cooking.
Pork stomach in hot wok
We wanted to try a variety of dishes, so we ordered a seafood dish - deep fried whole yellow fish with special sweet sour sauce. I'm not sure if the translation was correct on the menu, but the fish is actually a whole barramundi. Apart from the shanghai dumplings and pork buns, this was the stand out of the night. The sweet and sour sauce was nice and tangy with a hint of tomato taste. The fish has also been cut and deep fried in a way that, while the skin is crispy, the fish meat has still retained its softness and just cooked. I recommend ordering this one when visiting Shangpaign.
Deep fried whole yellow fish with special sweet sour sauce
Stir fried rice cakes is another signature Shanghainese dish, so we ordered it. The rice cakes were a little bit bland for me as the flavours from the soy sauce has not really infused into the rice cakes at all. Unfortunately, this dish didn't 'wow' me as I hoped it would. I am going to stick to making this one at home, rather than ordering it next time.
Stir fried rice cakes
We ordered hot and sour soup with our meal. I love hot and sour soup, but unfortunately this one did not tickle my fancy at all. I think everyone at the table came to a general consensus that the soup was too peppery and too sour. There was also not enough contents in the soup to make it a satisfying soup (lots of black fungus, tofu, slithers of pork - the way good hot and sour soups should be!)
Hot and sour soup
Our dining experience at Shangpaign Kitchen turned out to be somewhat of a roller coaster ride (if I may put it that way). While there were some dishes which blew us away, there were also some dishes that definitely needs plenty of improvement. I would still recommend friends to this restaurant, but I think you should just stick to the dumplings and buns from the menu (which is what they do best).
Perhaps the chef just happened to be having a bad day when we visited? I would love to hear your experiences at Shangpaign Kitchen!