Lu Yang Dumpling House

617 Station Street
Box Hill VIC 3128
+61 3 9899 7573

Today, Adam and I found out that the always-seems-to-be-empty Kim Thuy Vi Vietnamese restaurant on Station Street, Box Hill was no longer there and, to our delight, a spanking new dumpling restaurant now stood in its place. Called Lu Yang Dumpling House, it was about half-full when we drove past this afternoon on the way to Spotlight and so we made a spontaneous decision to have lunch there.

As soon as we walked in, a fob waitress let out a stream of Mandarin which I did not understand (yes, it was all shishishishishi to me … and please, just because I am Asian-looking, doesn’t mean that I speak the same language as you). Adam’s Mandarin is not much better than mine but he was able to make out that she was confirming that we needed a table for two. So we sat down, got menus and teas, chose three different dishes and then began a half an hour wait for the first dish to arrive – way too long a wait for a dumpling restaurant that wasn’t overly busy.

In the half hour we sat waiting, we witnessed:

-A guy sitting next to us eating with his mum. She was eating the last dregs of her wonton noodle soup while he was seething as his meal had not yet arrived. After several “Where is my food?”‘s, the guy decided that he could not wait any longer and said that he would pay for his mother’s meal but not his.

-A Chinese couple and their two kids walked in 10 minutes after we did, sat down, chose their dishes, then asked a passing waitress (in English) if they could order. The waitress looked at them blankly, like she had no idea what he just said. After repeating himself slowly three times, she was still confused so he sighed and switched to Chinese. Rudimentary English, folks, will get you somewhere.

-Five times throughout the course of our wait, I saw diners asking waitresses where their food was and there were times when diners came to the counter to pay the bill but said that they never got such-and-such a dish. An example of this was when a hippie couple paid for their spring rolls, noodles and said that they had ordered a plate of fried vegies but had never got them. For some reason, the chick at the counter seemed shocked and reluctant to take the fried vegies off the bill but when she finally did, she slammed down the bill in front of the hippies so hard that I could see the hippies jump.

-I noticed a shortage of canisters containing chilli oil, something that surprised me because I would assume that anyone running a dumpling restaurant would know to buy a canister for EVERY table in the place rather than only five of them. Halfway throughout eating our dumplings, a waitress came up to us and asked if she could take OUR canister because “another table needs it.” Adam and I gave her a hard stare for a minute before Adam went, “Uh yeah… I guess you *can*… except that there is another canister on that empty table” while pointing to the deserted table behind us *facepalm*.

Just when we were wondering whether three dishes were too hard for them to manage, our food arrived.

Our fried pork dumplings (15 pieces for $8). I had to admit that they looked REALLY good. Each dumpling was neatly wrapped (probably the best job I’ve seen so far) and housed a decent sized pork and chive filling. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the only positive thing I can say about them. Firstly, the dumplings weren’t crunchy at all. Secondly, they were oily as. Thirdly, there was something terribly ‘off’ with the filling – the texture didn’t feel right. Adam then said that he had bought those frozen pork dumplings from Asian grocery shops in the past and the texture of the dumplings we were eating were EXACTLY like the frozen ones. He suspected that Lu Yang had ran out of fresh ones and they were so desperate so they ran to the grocery shop to buy frozen ones. I didn’t think they would stoop THAT low though. For starters, the skins looked too good for them to be the frozen kind. Secondly, the skins were pretty fresh. Thirdly, I just thought… nahh. In the end, we both concluded that the dumplings were home made… but the meat used was frozen and they just did not thaw it out properly. I thought it was odd for them to use frozen pork meat though, especially since butchers are in abundance in Box Hill and fresh pork mince isn’t terribly expensive.
Xiao Long Baos (8 pieces for $8) were advertised as “Shanghai steamed buns filled with pork meat” which, I reckon, was not the most accurate English translation they could have used. I had to read the Chinese characters next to the name of the dish to figure out that they were, in fact, xiao long baos but had I not been able to do so, I would have assumed that this dish was referring to those steamed white buns filled with char siu.
Obviously, they were not as good as the ones Hu Tong churn out but they were better than I expected – they were plump and actually had SOUP in it. I did find the fillings a tad too fatty though. They were okay, but not something that I would rush to order again.

Shanghai noodles ($7). I give them props for the generous serving for the price we paid, but a thumbs down for the overly sweet taste and the fact that they used the bloody skinny noodles rather than the thick knobby ones that JG Dumplings (Glen Waverley) and Shanghai Gourmet (Springvale) use. Booo hiss.It was a cheap ($23) meal which filled our tummies up until the Aussies were all out at the SCG *buries head in hands* but I cannot see myself returning there again. The wait for the food was way too long and the service not so good. Plus, the dumplings were horrible and made Camy’s taste like KING in comparison. Oh, and when Adam and I were at the counter paying our bill, we had a great view of the kitchen sink which was directly behind the counter. In the sink, we could clearly see… yep, a large packet of frozen pork meat defrosting. FAIL.

I eat too much.

14 Comments

  1. DivisionSix6
    January 3, 2010

    Dumplings.Never again for me.Dumpling joint stereotypes I’ve come up with:Service with darkness, rather than a smile.Usually stuff up orders. Sometimes get the next table’s order and the next table gets our table’s order.Dumplings are not fresh. Strong chance they come off a pre-packaged factory line rather than made on the spot.Cleanliness is a concern. Bowls and chopsticks and spoons suspect and do not appear cleaned thoroughly or in need of replacing.Dumpling places, while taste nice and full of flavour – the shanghai noodles, the dumplings, the xiaolongbaos etc, and their service is somewhere between OK, to itmustbeherperiod to really good, I sat real close to the kitchen and looked and wondered if the food is clean and prepared hygienically as the cooks and chefs and whatever, I keep hearing them spit and snort and grunt like their clearing their throats and their kitchens mostly look shabby and worn!!!!So no more. Never again. Doesn’t matter which store it is.Maybe if I go to Shanghai. But that’s just a maybe.=(

    Reply
    1. Dila
      February 5, 2012

      Love…just LOVE reading about people nitpicking about every single little thing there is wrong about food and food service…sure, many Asian places are NOT known for their service..on some days, it is all part of the ‘charm’..
      .Seriously though, rocking up at a bargain price food joint and complaining that they are not treating you like a god, and reading Your mind and speaking in Your language?
      Come on people, surely you have better things to do? Surely you are less petty than this??
      Gone are the days when sounding like you have something up your bum, criticising and pooh-poohing every little thing makes you sound like you are really discerning and classy.

      Reply
      1. libishski
        February 8, 2012

        I don’t go to bargain-price eateries and expect to be treated like ‘a god’ but is it unreasonable for me (and other diners) to expect a basic level of service? It doesn’t cost anything to smile and a simple understanding of English certainly wouldn’t go astray too, especially when your customers (who are your paying guests) can’t speak the same language as yourself.

        Reply
  2. DivisionSix6
    January 3, 2010

    PS… if this makes Camy’s taste like KING…David & Camy’s pan fried dumplings tasted like the pan fried them, and then decided to rub the dumplings against raw apples aaaaaaaaargh.Geez, it must really be bad.

    Reply
  3. peach_water
    January 3, 2010

    This will go under the list of “dont go” places :)thanks for the thorough review! *thumbs up*

    Reply
  4. chaoness
    January 3, 2010

    I went to HuTong last week, and trust me, it’s seriously gone downhill. Did you know they opened up another one in commercial road?

    Reply
  5. SNSAZN
    January 4, 2010

    @DivisionSix6 – Having come back from Indonesia not long ago, I’d say that your average dumpling restaurant is clean in comparison!! Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to rely on JG to get my fix.@peach_water – It could also be because they’re a new restaurant and still learning the ropes or me just being mean, or both. Only time will tell, I guess.@chaoness – Yeah, I read about the Commercial Road restaurant in the paper the other day! That’s probably where all the good chefs have gone, thus making the Market Lane one crappy.

    Reply
  6. fipar20
    January 4, 2010

    Hmm, i guess if you have the time, you’re better off making the dumplings yourself. At least you know whats in it and where’s it been. =DAnd too bad for the Aussies, all out for under 150 runs. =(

    Reply
  7. SNSAZN
    January 5, 2010

    @fipar20 – Haha, my mum tries to make those dumplings but they never come out that good… I might get a friend of mine to teach me how to make them some day – she makes some good ones.Yeah, it looks like we may lose this test… oh well.

    Reply
  8. Anonymous
    December 1, 2010

    Winston Jiang, the proprietor of JG Dumpling Restaurant at 82 Kingsway, Glen Waverley, was convicted and fined an aggregate of $100,000 for 18 charges under the Food Act 1984, as well as a fine of $1,500 for failure to comply with an order. Mr Jiang was also ordered to pay Council costs of $5,735. The premises will also be listed on the Department Of Health’s public ‘Register of Convictions’ list for the next 12 months.

    Because of this conviction, they have just this week (November 2010) undergone a full front-of-restaurant renovation changing their name to First Choice Dumplings.

    Information from,
    http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/news/media2010/media99-10.htm

    Reply
  9. Hannah
    January 4, 2011

    Oh, well, everyone knows that chilli oil is about the same price as truffles and saffron, so it makes sense that they’re stingy with it.

    ?!?!?

    What a sad experience. Heavens, I hate lacklustre restaurant food!

    Reply
    1. Amanda
      May 15, 2011

      I was very surprised when I read this review because I tried Lu Yang Dumpling House for the first time today, and, was quite satisfied.
      Besides the lack of waitresses and their stressed out looks due to a full house, our food was served promptly with my sister’s Spicy lamb with cumin on rice which came out within 5-10 minutes and my Vegetarian dumplings in noodle soup shortly after.
      The fragrance from the cumin-lamb combination was pungent which reminded me of those delicious roast lamb skewers that can be found during CNY festivals. The spice and herbs with the juicy lamb pieces were perfect for a cold night.

      Impressively, the vegetarian dumplings in noodle soup were a generous serve of 8 pieces. I was in love with these dumplings. All ingredients were fresh, with bits of mushroom, tofu, and maybe spinach & cabbage which blended together with a slightly salty and slightly sweet combination without being too strong. The dumpling skin was perfect, light, not too thick like others I’ve tasted and the soup was tasted more than just salt and msg. I was very happy that it did not contain much msg (my face heats up if I have too much) while being healthy yet tasty.

      I haven’t yet tried the fried dumplings or any dishes that you tried for that matter, but from the two dishes I had, they were so good that I can’t wait to go back there! Those dishes beat David & Camy anytime as I find D&C unclean, use a lot of MSG and fry their dumplings as opposed to pan fry, and my boyfriend had some undercooked pork which made him sick and never want to go to D&C again.
      I’m not sure if it was a bad day when you went, or they changed the chef etc, but I definitely recommend the vegie dumplings and lamb with cumin. So I shall go to this Dumpling House again and try the other dishes which I shall let you know whether I think they’re up to standard!

      Reply
      1. Amanda
        May 18, 2011

        Ok as I said I would, I went back yesterday to and ordered Zhajiang mian (they called it Noodles with Pork sauce) and the Pan-fried Chicken and Schrimp Dumplings.
        I have to agree that the dumplings were not the best. The filling was delicious, though the skin was thick and oily which let it down.
        The zhajiang noodles were delicious, with an extremely generous serve for only $7! The ingredients were also freshhh=)

        So in conclusion, I would definitely go back to Luyang Dumpling house on a regular basis but avoid their thick skinned fried dumplings. I’m sure there’s no fried dumplings on the front window anyway so I guess they kinda know its not their best dish?

        Reply
      2. libishski
        May 18, 2011

        Hey Amanda,

        Thanks for your insightful comments. I must say that I was very surprised to hear that you had a positive experience, considering how mine wasn’t terribly fantastic. To be fair, I visited when they were still new so perhaps they were still trying to get their heads around things. I’ve been past it many times since our visit and surprisingly, it seems to be reasonably packed both in the afternoons and at night so yes, it could very well be that I went at a bad time and I will go back for a return visit – hopefully my second visit is as positive as yours have been!

        I must say it’s odd that a restaurant that calls themselves a “dumpling house” would make bad dumplings, but serve non-dumpling foods that are good (don’t you agree?) but if the spicy lamb and the zhajiang noodles are as good as you say, then I will give them a go next time 🙂

        Reply

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