Have you ever had soup dumplings? If the answer is no, then this review will change your life. If you have, and didn't know about ALA Shanghai, then this review will also change your life. I had soup dumplings in China Town in NYC a number of years ago, and had been looking for a local place to get them since. I finally stumbled upon ALA Shanghai and my search has ended. ALA Shanghai is in Latham just past the circle.
We walked in on a Friday evening (I'd recommend reservations, it got busy fast). First off, we had to order dumplings - and lots of them. They had two types of soup dumplings, one with just pork ($5) and one with pork and crab ($7) Both came with 6 dumplings. We also ordered some traditional pork dumplings ($5). I had magical memories of soup dumplings, and these did not disappoint. I thought the wonton skin was a little on the thick side, but it didn't take away from the amazing flavor. (side note on soup dumplings... they come very hot, I usually just barely bite the top off, to expose the inside and let it cool down). If you go to ALA Shanghai, you must order some soup dumplings. the traditional pan fried pork dumplings were also very good, cooked very nicely and a good juicy flavor.
We ordered two entrees to split, Tong-Po Pork ($12) and Orange Flavored Beef ($14). Tong-Po Pork is Stewed pork belly in Shanghaiese style. It was difficult to cut and very fatty. It had a nice flavor, but wasn't really our thing. We could tell it was cooked well, and while hard to cut, it was still quite tender (I can't really figure that one out). Not something we would get again, but I'm sure if you like this dish you would like their presentation of it. The Orange Flavor Beef was thin and tender, dipped in batter and lightly fried. The sauce is like an orange flavored sweet and sour sauce. It is hard to keep beef as thin as this was, juicy and tender, but they pulled it off. We would get this again, once we go through the menu a bit more.
The menu is massive. There are many things we will have to go back and try. Wait staff is very friendly, and while there is a language barrier, they make sure the person who seats you and takes your order speaks English well. Although I would guess a majority of their patrons speak Chinese.
Conclusion, great, authentic Chinese food for a reasonable price. And of course, try the soup dumplings!
|Crab and Pork Soup Dumplings||Pork Soup Dumplings|
|Tong-Po Pork||Orange Flavor Beef|
|Pan Fried Pork Dumplings|