Ashfield is an inner western suburb of Sydney that, when you walk around, you feel like you’re in another country. Wonderfully so.
It’s about 9kms SW of the Sydney CBD, and is largely centred on Liverpool Road. It’s a fascinating part of the city.
There’s a large multicultural population in Ashfield – 15% are Chinese and 8% are Indian – way above Australia’s average of 1.8% and 1.9% respectively.
Ashfield is on my way home from Sydney to Mudgee, so I stopped in to take a look. Some great signage, and some really interesting shops –
I was hungry though, and wanted a meal before the 4hr drive back home, so I stopped in at a Shanghai dumpling joint, called Shanghai Nights.
I’m not sure why a place selling breakfast food would be called Shanghai Nights, but I was starving and so I didn’t take it up with management.
Management was Wendy, standing in a glass cage at the entrance, making the dumplings by hand. I got the immediate sense that this was going to be a good meal. She put such care into the making of each pork dumpling.
I sat down, impressed by the cleanliness of the table and the way everything was laid out in such an ordered manner. There were two small jugs by the tissues – one jug was soy sauce, the other was Chinese vinegar.
Sitting at a table opposite were a gaggle of young Chinese boys with outrageous hair and cool attire. They were showing each other the Nike runners they’d just bought.
It took a while for the meal to come – the pork dumplings, chicken dumpling soup, and spring rolls. I’m sorry that I don’t have any photos of the spring rolls for you. I am a weak man. They looked so damn good I ate every one of them before I realized I hadn’t taken a photo.
I really should have ordered another serving just for the photo, but I’m a tight arse.
Here are the photos I did take. And the only reason I took these shots is because the food was too hot to eat – and I was bored – so I photographed them instead…
The dumplings were super hot. I later went into the kitchen and discovered why – they boil them in stock.
Tony is Wendy’s husband. Or perhaps he’s her brother. Or he might be her uncle. Or he could be her nephew, or even her father. I couldn’t figure out which. And I think Wendy was confused too. Maybe he’s all of the above.
I did notice a striking resemblance…
But then again I get confused between Chinese and Koreans. Or between Japanese and Scandinavians.
I then went to the bathroom. I judge a restaurant on their bathroom. The bathroom in the Shanghai Nights was immaculate. Except I noticed that the toilet roll was not on a hanger-hook, but in a take-away container on the top of the loo.
On close inspection I noticed that the paper was kind of wrinkled, and hanging loosely off the cardboard core – as though someone had dropped it into the toilet bowl.
I am here to inform you delicately, because this is a food blog after all, that my toiletry business didn’t involve using the wrinkled toilet paper. And so the cause of it’s disheveled appearance will remain a mystery.
I went back out to the table – the cool young dudes were preparing to leave. They posed for a photo for me. They were 17 years old – students studying English. I could imagine them in 10 or 15 years running banks and giving financial advice to retirees like me.
I’ll never retire. Too many restaurants on the road to blog about…
(I can’t believe I’m calling myself a blogger… what’s become of me?? I left school wanting to be like John Steinbeck. Or that guy out of MAD magazine…)
As I walked out I noticed that Wendy had been joined by another young lady, and it turned out to be her sister, Lisa.
I asked Lisa about the marital status of Wendy and Tony, in the kitchen. She was confused too. She wasn’t sure. I wondered if they thought I was from the Immigration Department. I do have a business card now – Bill’s Road Food. It’s very impressive. But it still doesn’t get me free meals.
The bill came to $21.40. Good value, I thought. I have to go back soon and photograph the spring rolls for you. They did look good… too good.
I walked out, and began looking for the store that sold the cool Nikes…