Usually the authenticity of a certain food in a foreign place depends on the chef’s country of origin. It cannot be denied that if the chef came from the country of origin of the cuisine presented, the dish would have better scores in terms of taste and authenticity. Take for example the taste of Penang Laksa in UK will be somehow similar (if not completely) to the taste in Penang if it is prepared by a true Penangite with good experience in cooking laksa. For this round, the food that I am talking about is Shanghainese food in Penang. The typical Shanghainese food include handmade noodles and dumplings.
This restaurant is known as “Old Shanghai (老上海)” and is located at Chime Heritage at the other corner of Nagore Place. Chime Heritage is a revamped of the previous prewar shop houses which is now home to many food and beverage shops.
Old Shanghai restaurant is not very big and you can expect full-house during lunch hours on weekends. Yet, it serves excellent Shanghainese cuisine and are reasonably priced.
There are “Super Value” set lunch available starting at RM9.90 on weekdays.
If you wish to dine in here on weekends, please make sure you call for reservation as you can see from the picture below that the place is quite small and packed.
Shanghai Steam Stuffed Bun (6 pieces) 小龙包 – RM15.00. This is one of the “must order” item when you are in a Shanghainese restaurant. The quality of food in the restaurant can be determined just by ordering this delicacy. The minced meat is usually mixed with pork broth and wrapped into thin slices of flour-based dumpling skin. The quality of this dumpling heavily relies on chef’s precision and speed of preparation. The proportion of minced meat and broth must be correct; the thickness of the dumpling skin must also be just right so that it will neither be too thick nor easily torn after cooked. The folding of the top of the dumpling needs to be at “24 folds” for perfection.
The correct way to savour this hot dumpling is to first bite a tiny hole on top of it to suck out the broth and then finish up the rest by placing some shredded ginger and black vinegar.
Shanghai Fried Stuffed Bun (6 pieces) – RM12.00, similar process as steamed bun, but instead of 24 folding to close the tip of the bun, the fried version only requires folding at the bottom. The dumplings are being pan fried and sprinkled with black sesame seeds and spring onions before being served.
The filling of both the steamed bun and fried buns is quite similar except for the broth. The latter does not have broth inside the dumpling. Another difference is the skin texture due to the way they are prepared: steamed vs pan fried. The dumpling skin of the steamed version is thin and smooth whereas the fried version is slightly crispy and aromatic. Nevertheless, I still prefer the steamed version as I like the feeling of biting into the dumpling with overflowing broth. 😀
Old Shanghai Row Noodle (Bowl) – RM12, the pork broth for this noodle has been cooked for long hours and the noodles are handmade. Serving together with this dish are some veggie and a slice of pork chop.
The thick-flavoured pork broth complements the noodle well. The pork chop was deep fried before placing into the soup. This bowl of noodle really gave a combination of clean and thick feeling. Clean as in not having too much herbs in the soup whereas thick is the preparation of the broth.
Overall, the taste of the food here was very delicious especially the Shanghai steamed buns. The weekday set lunch is the real attraction for this place. The only drawback is it is very hard to get parking and if you are here during weekends, remember to call for reservation to avoid disappointment.
Editor’s Review (5 Stars Rank):
|Price (more stars, more reasonable)|
|Private Room (Private Area)|
Operation hours: 9:30am – 3:00pm; 6:00pm – 10:00pm (Open Daily)
Address: No. 15 Chime Heritage, Jalan Bawasah, 10050 Penang
GPS: 5.4216013, 100.3235802