Memories of Shanghai in Ashfield
Ashfield’s evolution into Sydney’s Little Shanghai continues, with the recent launch of Shanghai Memory. The modest eatery is a spinoff of cheap-and-cheerful Ashfield staple and dumpling house, Shanghai Night, with the main emphasis being on dishes that, the owner tells us, “reflect what is popular in Shanghai now”.
Using a chef recently imported from China’s largest city, the place goes beyond the staples (hello xiao long bao) we’ve become accustomed to at Shanghainese hotspots like Din Tai Fung. Instead, there’s a specials page that’s the heart of Shanghai Memory’s unique proposition, plus fresh dumplings, fresh and fried noodle dishes, wonton soups, fried pork buns and more.
Chef’s specialties include a steamer basket full of completely tender pork ribs covered in Manchurian millet and atop a lotus leaf, and Shanghainese-style crabmeat dishes, maybe with king prawns, baby pak choy or pork and fresh lotus root. A surprising favourite of ours is a dish of quickly blanched asparagus, vertically planted in a bowl of ice and accompanied by dual dipping sauces of wasabi & soy, and chilli mayonnaise – so simple, but so fresh and vibrant. And try the sheng jian bao, which takes the humble XLB soup dumplings, gives them thicker skins that are then half-fried, and tops them with black sesame seeds.
It’s certainly not all Shanghainese trad. Instead, the menu reflects the increasingly sophisticated tastes of the Chinese metropolis, whose residents have acquired a taste for modern interpretations from other regions, from Sichuan to Guangdong (Canton). But don’t expect the interior to be as sophisticated: it’s a simple space with off-white tiles, a dumpling maker in the front window, glossy posters of Shanghai cityscapes, and worn and stickered menus that look like they could have been printed 20 years ago. Thankfully, the prices – which seldom near, let alone break, $20 – aren’t too upwardly either.
Where: 267B Liverpool Rd, Ashfield
Hours: 7 days 10am-10pm
Phone: (02) 9716 6985