Our family has been a big fan of the Taste of Shanghai chain of restaurants since the mid 2000s, frequenting the Eastwood store back when we had family living in Epping. My mother has in fact been a VIP member of Taste of Shanghai for around the last decade, and I have in turn enjoyed dining at Taste of Shanghai with my partner and her family (who have been also going independently for a long time).
I was surprised, therefore, to be disappointed by the delivery service (via UberEats) from Lilong by Taste of Shanghai. I found the xiaolongbao, the shenjiang bao, and the pan-fried dumplings to be universally disappointing. At least part of it has to be due to the travel time (approx 10 minutes from Hurstville to Kogarah), but I do think that if a food is unable to be satisfactorily delivered then it shouldn’t be delivered at all.
Thumbs down. Possibly thumbs up if eaten in person, but until then we will not know.
UPDATE – November 2020
Despite my negative review above, and despite my strong preference to the contrary, my partner decided that she wanted to go to Lilong to eat in person. What we found was better – but not much better.
Unfortunately the first complaint needs to go to the cleanliness of the operation. Pictured above is the state of the booth seat that the diners sit on. It doesn’t look like it’s been cleaned in recent memory. The crockery we received was also dirty – the cups had a black sediment in them, as well as stains that could easily be rubbed off by hand. This is absolutely not good enough.
We started with the braised duck in special soy sauce ($12.80). This is some of the worst duck we’ve had in a while. The flesh was very tough, seemingly overcooked. The flavour was straight soy sauce flavour, with no interesting components. The salad that they served on the side looked like they came straight out of a Woolworths bag – mostly baby spinach, some shredded carrot, and other basic greenery.
The spicy beef brisket noodle soup ($12.80) was not special. I thought that the soup was very watery and in fact had a bit of a tap water taste. We ended up only finishing the toppings, leaving a lot of the boring noodles to spare. Not a specialty of theirs at all.
The Shanghai Turnip Croissant ($10.89) was actually the reason we came to Lilong by Taste of Shanghai at all. My partner had a big craving for these, but was disappointed. I personally didn’t mind – I thought the pastry was light and fluffy, and the ham filling inside was tasty, but not enough to justify the 30 minute drive.
The pan-fried pork buns (sheng jian bao) (生煎包 – $12) is one of Taste of Shanghai’s top specialties. The shengjianbao today were mostly bald and naked – I wonder if there is some kind of global black sesame seed shortage going on. At the very least the bao were still excellent. The filling is still the same, with plenty of fresh hot soup bursting out with each bite. The bottoms were perfectly fried to a crisp. Overall, eating the sheng jian bao at the restaurant was much, much better than getting them delivered.
If the sheng jian bao was one of the stars of the meal, the other would be the Wontons in Red Chilli Oil Sauce ($12.80). This is something that we almost always get when we eat at Taste of Shanghai, and one of the dishes I remember loving from my childhood. The filling is housemade pork and chive. The wonton skins are quite springy but not too undercooked. The red chilli oil sauce is, as always, delicious. I personally like to eat the wontons with a spoon in order to get a good amount of red sauce with every mouthful. This is an oft-imitated dish (for example by Dumpling Queen in Eastgardens), but only Taste of Shanghai seems to be able to execute it perfectly.
Overall I would say that dining at Lilong by Taste of Shanghai was better in person, however there are still a lot of misses on the menu. Stick with what they do best, however, and you will not go wrong – unless you are disgusted by the environment and general uncleanliness.
Lilong by Taste of Shanghai (Hurstville)
Rooftop, Westfield Hurstville
1 PA Park Rd & Cross St, Hurstville NSW 2220
(02) 9570 9051