Sherman's Food Adventures: Dong Tai Xiang Shanghai Dim Sum

Dong Tai Xiang Shanghai Dim Sum

I'm sure this isn't a revelation to most people, but the increasing number of Mainland Chinese restaurant chains popping up all over the GVRD is becoming a regular occurrence.  Many of them involve a hot pot or something like that while others focus on Northern Chinese cuisine.  One spot that hasn't received much attention is Dong Tai Xiang Shanghai Dim Sum.  With locations in Shanghai and Macau, it specializes in pan-fried steamed dumplings rather than the usual Xiao Long Bao.  I paid a couple of visits to the place recently and this post is an amalgamation of both.

In addition to not featuring XLBs on their menu, the selection in general is pretty limited.  Their main focus is on their dumplings, wontons and noodles with a few side dishes.  I decided to go with the Shanghai-style Sauce Stirred Noodle with a side of Brasied Spareribs (looked more like a pork chop).  Topped with 2 pieces of Shanghainese bak choy, the noodles were appealingly chewy with just enough sauce for flavour.  It could've been more stronger tasting in my opinion, but it was still good being salty and sweet.  I really didn't like the pork chop as it was too soft from the braise and completely drenched in oil.  On the revisit, we had the Noodle Soup with Shanghai-style Sweet & Sour Pork Rib.  We found the soup to be fairly bland yet clean at the same time.  The noodles were a touch overdone which made this bowl fairly average at best.  Similar to the previous side dish, the spareribs were super greasy and the "sauce" was basically oil.  Not good.

Onto the wontons, on my initial visit, I decided to try the Fresh Shrimp & Meat Wonton Soup.  Similar to Cantonese-style wontons, this featured a delicate wrapper with pork and shrimp filling.  I thought these were actually quite good except that the wrapper was overdone and soggy.  The filling was meaty with a bounce and the shrimp had a snap.  Broth was mild, but I liked the julienned egg.  It provided a bit of umaminess and texture.  Now this was good, but the Shanghai-style Pork & Vegetable Wonton Soup was not.  Obviously this was a different style, but the thicker wrapper was far too dense and chewy.  These larger wontons ate heavy despite the tender meat centre.  Once again, the soup was lightly sweet and mild-tasting, but then again, that was the intention too.

Some of the other side dishes we tried included Sauce Egg, Deep Fried Shanghai Steamed Gluten and Braised Wheat Gluten & Dried Mushroom.  Unlike the meat side dishes, these were far less greasier (makes sense as there was no rendered fat from the meats).  Of the 3, I liked the deep fried steamed gluten as it had a good rebound texture in addition to be delicate.  I also enjoyed how it was balanced between salty and sweet.  As for the braised wheat gluten, it was too soft where the classic chewiness was not present.  Furthermore, the pieces could've been larger as they were too tiny.  This dish was also far too wet as there was a lot of residual sauce on the bottom.  It was also too sweet in my opinion.  Lastly, the sauce egg was pretty typical being overdone due to the being in the braising liquid after being fully cooked.  Flavours were not overly strong but enough savouriness for effect.

While looking at the menu, we thought the picture of the Spring Rolls looked appetizing, so we went by that and ordered it.  They were indeed golden and crunchy, but also very greasy.  Furthermore, the vegetable filling was very mealy and wet.  There was probably too much cabbage that had not been properly prepared (ie. not salted and then residual moisture squeezed out of it). Since the Pan-Fried Dumplings were made-to-order, they arrived last.  This was worth the wait as these dumplings were the best dish by far.  Sporting a thin layer of soft bun, the bottoms were fried up aggressively crispy.  Inside, the meat was tender, bouncy and naturally sweet.  We tried both the regular pork dumplings as well as the shrimp and pork.  I didn't think the shrimp was worth the extra costs as the regular ones were good already.  Overall, I thought the food at DTXSDS as average at best.  However, their pan-fried buns made up for everything else.

The Good:
- Those pan-fried buns
- Service was pretty good
- Low-key dining room

The Bad:
- Other dishes were average
- Expensive

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