My kids are half Chinese but I have to confess that they don’t get a lot of exposure to Chinese culture in their day to day lives. One way I try to rectify that is to feed them Chinese food at every opportunity when we eat out as I’m not a particularly knowledgeable Chinese food cook.
One of our favourite Chinese restaurants is New Shanghai at Emporium Melbourne. They also have branches in other locations in Melbourne and other states but the Emporium restaurant is the closest to us.
Because the restaurant is tucked away in the back corner of the Level 3 Cafe Court it makes a nice place to take a break from the bustle of the CBD and the shopping centre. Its decor takes inspiration from old Shanghaiese dumpling and noodles joints, with lots of dark wood panelling, wide wooden stools and kitschy Chinese prints.
There’s room for prams, high chairs and plastic cutlery for kids.
The long menu can be daunting but you should definitely not miss their xiao long bao, soup dumplings. Just be careful of the hot soup inside! I always pierce the skin of the dumpling with a chopstick before giving them to kids.
The XLB are the favourite menu item for my kids, followed closely for the deep fried shallot pancakes. I really like their Shepherd’s Purse dumplings with peanuts and chilli oil, the Peking Duck with butterfly bao and the pan-fried pork buns.
You can entertain impatient kids by letting them watch the dumpling chefs at work in the large window by the entrance.
Anything you don’t finish they will happily let you take away.
New Shanghai may be a chain but that also means that you can expect the food, service and decor to be consistent at every outlet. I note that many of the diners at New Shanghai Emporium, especially during weekday lunch, are Asian, and many of them have a child accompanying them. It’s also useful that they are open from 11am right through to night so you can eat with your kids as early as you need.
- pram access;
- high chairs;
- plastic crockery and cutlery;
- standard menu suitable for kids; and
- change facilities within Emporium.
New Shanghai, Emporium Melbourne, Level d, 287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne 03 9994 9386
Mon-Wed, Sat-Sun 11-7pm