Just about every country has its version of the humble dumpling. They come in every shape and size; they’re steamed, fried, baked or boiled, and made of and filled with anything from the simplest to the most exotic ingredients.
Vietnam’s ‘banh bot loc’ is a heavenly mix of shrimp, pork, green onion and fish sauce, wrapped in tapioca flour and cooked in banana leaves. The Mongolian ‘buuz’ is a steamed wheat parcel often filled with mutton, onion and garlic. Then there are samosas, pierogi, ravioli, manti, gyoza, kreplach, mandu, khinkali, empanadas and, of course, Cornish pasties!
Melbourne’s love of these sumptuous stuffed pockets is legendary and these five places serve some of Asia’s best:
We all know that everything handmade tastes better, so do these dumplings at Mr Kwok. Although the place is now operated by his daughter, you can see through the window that Mr Kwok is often in the kitchen making these delicious dumplings from scratch.
Rice Paper Scissors
The main rule at Rice Paper Scissors is to eat with your hand. This South East Asian hawker is the master at finger foods, including the mouth-watering dumplings. The crowd’s favourite is the prawn dumplings, which guaranteed to make your tastebud dancing.
Tim Ho Wan
The original Tim Ho Wan is a hole-in-the-wall eatery in Hong Kong, created by dumpling master Mak Kwai Pui in 2009. Melbourne’s version shares the same menu as its Hong Kong predecessor, but not its Michelin star. That’s not to say that the dumplings here aren’t worth queueing up for (and you probably will). Opt for the global phenomenon that is the pork buns – they’re baked, not steamed, and dusted in sugar.
Oriental Tea House
If you’re looking for a different dumpling experience, Oriental Tea House is the place to go. David Zhou’s teahouse is the place to pair delicious bit-sized yum cha dumplings with specialty teas, from gunpowder to oolong. It’s pretty much an Oriental version of high tea.
HuTong Dumpling Bar
The HuTong Dumpling Bar in Market Lane is a must-visit for any self-respecting dumpling enthusiast. Come here for the signature xiao long bao – improbable, but oh-so-good, soup-filled dumplings.
You can never have enough dumplings. When in need, look for them at these places.
Din Tai Fung: This restaurant is an internationally recognised dumpling place. Expect a queue, but their signature xiao long bao is worth it!
Spice Temple: Try the yum cha banquet menu – you’re welcome.
ShanDong MaMa: This has been the crowd favourite for years. Try the mackerel dumpling which is MaMa’s signature dish.
Shanghai Street: brave the queues – it’s definitely worth it.