I was in the city for most of Saturday morning and afternoon to get a few things done. Adam met me for lunch during his break from work and off we went for some greasy goodness in the form of fried pork dumplings at Chinatown Dumplings, a place we’ve seen 10 billion times but surprisingly have never set foot in before.
Situated on Swanston St, Chinatown Dumplings’ name is a little odd in that it’s, technically speaking, not actually IN Chinatown proper. But what’s a little geographical naming error got to do with anything, we asked ourselves, as we walked into a (relatively) clean, tiny space with an open kitchen. Although it was late in the afternoon – 2pm, there were still a few diners eating, including a freaky couple consisting of a geriatric white guy and a fobby mainlander who couldn’t be older than 19. Hmmmm. Menus and tea cups were promptly placed in front of us as well as bowls straight from the industrial dishwasher … which contained about 100ml of hot water and soap still inside… ugh.
Not to worry (after all, we were used to seeing bowls still filled with water and soap from the dumpling place behind where we were sitting). We set about ordering three dishes and no sooner than I had opened up my newspaper did the first dish come out.
Shanghai fried noodles ($7). Nothing special about it and certainly I’ve had better ones too. I’ve been quite disappointed with the quality of Shanghai fried noodles recently as the stuff many restaurants try to pass of as Shanghai fried noodles are usually cold, limp, oily and very bland. While this one tasted much better (it was hot!) and had a bit of capsicum for a bit of kick, there was still something lacking. As of present, the best Shanghai fried noodles I’ve had are the ones in Shanghai Gourmet in Springvale. For some reason, they use udon noodles rather than the much thinner Hokkien-style ones they use at order places which makes the dish, oddly, taste that little bit better… (note: the noodles may look huge in the photo but they ARE the Hokkien-sized ones, not the udon-sized ones I was referring to)
Pan-fried pork dumplings (15 pieces for $7). They came hot, they came not-so-oily and each bite delivered a small squirt of broth much to my delight. While not as crunchy as many other dumpling houses, they were still pleasant. Adam also agreed with me and said that they were one of the best ones he’s tried in a long, long time.
Steamed chicken and prawn dumplings (12 for $7). Again, another nice dish. I’ve only ever had this one at Bob’s Kitchen in Glen Waverley before so there’s not much I could compare it with. Suffice to say that while BK’s version was full of MSG, CD’s ones were full of REAL taste.
$21 for three dishes which came out pretty quickly and made us both full. Not bad huh? While nothing special, I will definitely come back here again. Our visit to Chinatown Dumplings showed that dumplings do not have to be too oily, too bland or too smelly. Yet, places such as Camy’s and Hu Tong get it oh-so-wrong… why why why?!