New Shanghai Chatswood (新上海), 2 Oct 2009

After many reinventions of this corner shop space at Lemon Grove Shopping Centre, an outlet of Ashfield’s famed New Shanghai has taken up residence. Mistress and I find ourselves here for lunch one day before a spot of shopping. We add our names to the growing list of people waiting for tables and peel off a numbered ticket.

Whilst loitering around outside we get a good view of the dumpling preparation window at the doorway which is piled high with columns of bamboo steamer baskets. Although it’s no Din Tai Fung, it still makes for compelling viewing to watch the ladies’ nimble fingers rolling out rounds of dough, filling them with pork mince mixture and deftly enclosing them into dumplings. The funniest thing is the wearing of face-masks to convey hygiene – more often than not these are worn under the chin by the ladies as opposed to over their mouths and noses! This is completely understandable however, due to the heat and moisture circulating within the small, enclosed space.

The glass window of the dumpling preparation kitchen bears a laminated sign printed with “OPENING SPECIAL MENU PRICE”. When we are seated about 10 minutes later we do not receive a specials menu, nor are we told of a discount when we settle our bill so the sign leaves us confounded. Table service is minimal, which is expected of an economical eatery, but here sometimes borders on being blunt. We order two dishes (in Mandarin) and instead of the usual, “Anything else?” we are met with, “Is that all?” Luckily the food is good when it arrives.

We order an obligatory serve of Shanghainese soup dumplings, ‘xiao long bao’ (小籠包). The dumpling skins are thin and even all the way around, and the dumplings themselves are equally sized. Once popped, the dumplings contain ample meat juices inside to allow for satisfied slurping. When Mistress flags someone down to ask for saucers to hold the black vinegar, we are told to just pour the vinegar into our bowls. We have to hassle another two waitstaff before we receive the requested sauce dishes.

Our other dish is ‘Shanghainese new year’s cake stir-fried with XO sauce’ (XO醬炒上海年糕). The chewy and sticky glutinous rice ‘noodles’ are cooked to be nicely separated and are all coated with some of the spicy sauce. Threads of pork are tossed throughout, along with Chinese broccoli, ‘kai laan’ (芥蘭).

We have been here on other occasions and I can also recommend the flakily layered ‘Shallot Pancake’ (蔥油餅). Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos but, despite the service, I will be back again for the food so eventually there will be!

New Shanghai Chatswood (新上海)
Shop 20, Lemon Grove Shopping Centre, 427-441 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW
Tel: (02) 9415 3536

Opening Hours:  Mon-Wed  10am-8pm
                        Thurs-Sun  10am-8:30pm

New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

happy eating!

LATEST UPDATE: New Shanghai has opened yet another outlet in Chatswood, at Chatswood Chase’s newly revamped ‘Dining Court’. The store has its own internal seating and looks out over the food court. The colour scheme and renovations are completely unlike its other outlets – check it out when you get a chance!


  1. Oh yum, if there's one thing worth heading out for it's a steamer basket of xiao long bao! I've always had a soft spot for New Year Cake - all that chewy starchiness in XO sauce... and lol, blunt service is part of the charm sometimes. It makes you feel like family methinks!

  2. Just pour it into your bowls, haha! I have to agree with Helen - it sounds like something your mum would tell you! I really have to try some of that new year’s cake.. have seen it on a few blogs now and it just looks so delicious.

  3. Sounds like good food, but I know what you mean about service in some economical restaurants!!

  4. Yeah the service isn't too crash hot at New Shanghai in Lemon Grove but I've heard that it's better in the Chatswood Chase one. But apparently service comes at a price because they've hiked up the prices at the Chatswood Chase outlet and started charging for tea etc. I'd probably still go back though because their food is actually pretty good :)

  5. Pity about the service, but the XLB's look good and it's always great watching people fold dumplings!

  6. I heard somewhere that those face masks are only useful for around the first six minutes. After that it's about as useful as not having it on in the first place.

    Have you been to the Ashfield branch? Are you able to draw any comparisons between the two stores if you have?

  7. Wow they're popping up all over the place nowadays! :O

  8. Was never a fan of Lemon Grove shopping centre, but this looks pretty good. Thanks for the great review!

  9. Hi Helen! I first had New Year's Cake maybe ten years ago and have loved it ever since for its comfort factor. Perhaps because we spoke the language, we received this 'family' service??

    Hey Conor, do try New Year's Cake when you get a chance, esp during colder weather. Mmmm...

    Hi Gastronomy Gal! In the time it took her to tell us to 'just pour it into your bowls' she probably could've got us some sauce dishes and left again!

    Hey Jacq, haven't tried the NEW New Shanghai at Chatswood yet but am not encouraged by the prospect of hiked up prices =(

    Hey Betty! The xiao long bao are indeed good and, as Helen would say, 'dumpling TV' is highly entertaining!

    Hi Simon, not sure about the life cycle of those face masks but it wouldn't bother me if they weren't used. I last went to the Ashfield outlet over a year ago so I'm afraid I can't remember much about it to compare...d'oh!

    Hi Lorraine! It appears New Shanghai is launching a serious attack on Chatswood!

    Hey joey, it's definitely one of the more popular places in that little shopping centre.


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