Monday, August 15, 2011

Shanghai Wonderful 旺


It has been a while since my last visit to Shanghai Wonderful, but I decided to go for dim sum because of this dessert coupon from groupforsave.com. The coupon is valid until the end of October and offers one complimentary dessert per table. Unfortunately the deal site is written completely in Chinese, so if you can't read it, you'll need to grab a Chinese-literate friend to help you out. No Shanghainese meal is complete without xiao long bao, so it was the first thing we ordered. It was listed in the menu as Shanghai style juicy pork buns (上海小籠包) ($5.25), and the buns were indeed very juicy. There was a lot of soup inside and the flavour was intense compared to Shanghai River's milder version. This is one item that Shanghai Wonderful does quite well.


The smoked fish noodle soup (熏魚麵) ($6.50) was just average. The soup was dark in colour but the flavour wasn't there. The smoked fish was also rather bland because the sauce had not soaked in.


I've wanted to try the sesame cake with pork floss (肉鬆香麻餅) ($5.25) for a while since seeing another table order it last time. The presentation certainly was appealing with a maraschino cherry that looked slightly out of place atop a mound of pork floss. The "cake" was essentially a savoury bread embedded with bits of green onions and pork floss. While it was enjoyable, there was also nothing spectacular about it.


The deep fried rice cake (蔥油粢飯糕) ($3.95) was definitely the most disappointing dish. It was nothing but sticky rice deep fried in batter. There was no definitive flavour and the rice was really mushy. The dish was served with sugar, probably as an attempt to make the cakes palatable.


For our complimentary dessert, we opted for the mini balls in rice wine soup (酒釀小圓子). I didn't expect the portion to be so big, so it was a pleasant surprise. This sweet soup had bits of soft chewy mochi inside along with grains of fermented sticky rice that gave off a smooth alcohol flavour. The best part was the delicate fragrance that came from the osmanthus petals floating in the soup.


We really enjoyed the xiao long bao and the dessert. The other items ranged from average to disappointing. I would probably come back eventually, but this restaurant doesn't beat the more well-rounded Shanghai River in my opinion.

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