Chris’s Short Take: Ala Shanghai Chinese
It must have been the mid-60s when my parents took me to New York City for the first time to see the Barnum and Bailey Circus. We did all the touristy things you’d imagine, the Empire State Building, the UN, Fraunce’s Tavern (the site of George Washington’s goodbye to his troops), the Statue of Liberty, but they made sure we ate on Mott Street in the heart of Chinatown. That, good people, was the day I had my first Soup Dumpling. This kid from Lake George had never had anything like them. A great deal of time has passed, I’ve had my share of dumplings in my travels, but the amazing taste, the texture, and richness of the first one has stayed with me. That’s what snapped my head around at Ala Shanghai. It was like Mott Street moved to Latham, with a time machine that took me right back to that trip when I was a kid.
About two football fields off the Latham Circle headed east toward Watervliet, Ala Shanghai sits in an unassuming building just off the road. A relatively small, well laid out dining room welcomes as you enter, equally comfortable for larger groups, (the largest I’ve been there with is about ten), or a solo lunch. The menu is extensive, and runs the gamut from Golden Soft Shelled Crab, prepared with mashed salted egg yolk, to spicy Szechuan Beef with Dried Tofu, a personal favorite. But whatever you decide on for your entrée, don’t pass up the dumplings!
Beyond the food, the real clincher for me was the service. The service leans to the familiar side, the wait staff is more than happy to guide you through your preferences, and their advice has been consistently right on the money. The fun part was their enthusiasm. They are obviously proud of this place.
In a world where Chinese “Fast Food” menus are often painfully predictable, Ala Shanghai has set itself apart. Do yourself a favor, take a trip to Latham… a memorable lunch or dinner awaits.
Lunch: Bring a friend, split an order of Pork Soup Dumplings, and share the Spicy Wontons. Add a couple of Iced Teas and the bill will be less than $20.00 before tip.
Dinner: The entrées are too numerous to name here and run from $7 all the way up to $30. Whatever you do, don’t miss the monthly specials!
Take out is available. They are currently waiting for a liquor license, but you can always bring your own beverages.
Ala Shanghai Chinese Cuisine
468 Troy Schenectady Rd, Latham, NY 12110
Open 11AM until 10 PM