During the past 2-3 months the subject of finding some authentic Chinese food has come up in conversations between the Frenchie and me several times as the strip mall/take out places you find all over Joburg just don’t cut it. I knew we needed to get over to explore Cyrildene, the neighborhood which is now considered to be the new Chinatown in Jozi (with the orignal one in Newtown though it is mostly abandoned these days). We have driven past many times and just never got around to actually stopping to check things out. Earlier this week, I read the new Johannesburg Travel Guide on Trip Advisor and the feature Best Food in Johannesburg from blogger 2summers. In the article she recommends Shun De Chinese Restaurant in Cyrildene (23 Derrick Street) and I immediately knew where I wanted to have lunch on Saturday.
Shun De Chinese Restaurant
Shun De Dining Room
Shun De is known for its Dim Sum but they also offer an extensive menu. For those of you not familiar with the Dim Sum concept it is basically little baskets of steamed dumplings and/or small plates of other dishes that are usually shared by all at the table. I love this as you get the chance to sample many different items and as the Dim Sum is already prepared, you can see upfront what you are ordering.
Dim Sum Table
Chicken Feet, now that’s authentic (but no we did not try this)
I have had Dim Sum before but the protocol always varies a bit so we were somewhat confused at first about the process at Shun De. So for the newbies like us, here is the deal. The server will come around and get your drink orders and give you a paper (the check actually) and you take this over to the Dim Sum table with you. The ladies serving the Dim Sum were super kind and helpful, explaining in not-so-bad English what each lovely looking dumpling contained (at one point we also had another diner helping us which was really nice of him). You make your selections and the ladies will tray everything up, make some marks on your paper and then someone will deliver it all to the table.
The veg choices are pretty limited (not counting the sweets) so I ended up with a cold veg salad of cucumbers and some green spaghettish stuff that I couldn’t identify though it was quite good and had just the right amount of spice for me. There were also some plain dumplings which were ok but well, plain. The Carnivore took some pork dumplings, ribs and another pork dish. While he enjoyed the dumplings, he found the other 2 dishes quite fatty and couldn’t eat much of them.
Cold Veggie Salad
Another cool thing about Dim Sum is that you can always go back and select more, and that is precisely what we did. Round 2 was mainly focused on the sweets table though I also got some more veggies and the Carnivore got some tofu-wrapped pork as well.
Dumplings with custard inside
So yeah, we ate a ton of food and had a really fun and tasty lunch. When all was said and done we had 9 different plates (2 of which we couldn’t eat), 2 beers and 2 glasses of wine and the total came out to 415 ZAR before tip (less than 40 USD). Not really cheap but you could easily get by on quite a bit less if you don’t overdo it like we did. I really recommend you giving Shun De a try, we will certainly be back soon.
View of Derrick Street from the balcony
After lunch we took a stroll through Cyrildene to work off a bit (just a bit) of our lunch and to pick up some fresh vegetables. There were so many interesting veggies here that we couldn’t identify so I will have to read up a bit before our next trip. I’ll leave you with a few parting market shots.
Very interesting discussion, that’s all I’m gonna say about that…