510-512 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9663 1899
I’m usually pretty good with managing money, so much so that I reckon I can do a better job than Wayne Swan (not that that says much but anyway…). However, I made a big fail last financial year when I somehow forgot to factor in compulsory HECS-HELP repayments into my already-tight budget. Oops. Rather than do what any normal person would do and dip into their savings AND sacrifice their New Zealand road trip fund to pay for the shortfall, I decided to get a second job. Yep, like working full-time and doing postgraduate studies wasn’t demanding enough.
My second job – a casual inbound one – was meant to be a temporary three-month assignment that was supposed to wrap up as soon as this particular company’s campaign ended. However, four months later I’m still here. While I’ve now worked enough Saturday morning shifts to pay the tax man, I must admit that it’s nice to have extra money on hand and so I’m planning to stay here until I really get sick of it. Now, one thing that the team leaders at (second) work like to do on Saturdays is do food runs where a couple of people volunteer to grab food from outside, normally a fast food joint like McDonalds. However, we do get more interesting choices such as dumplings every now and then.
The closest dumpling house would have to be Lok Lok Dumpling Bar just opposite Queen Vic Market so we get our dumplings from there. Despite being abnormally obsessed with dumplings and despite being a frequent visitor to Queen Vic, I’d never actually tried Lok Lok until only very recently. Seriously, nothing beats getting dumplings delivered to your desk while you’re hardly working.
The first dumplings I tried here were their xiaolongbao (five for $5.80). They were all squished together in a plastic container when they arrived on my desk – and they were small, like literally the size of a Mt Franklin bottle cap. They also tasted like those frozen XLBs you can buy from your local Asian grocery store – it wouldn’t surprise me if they were. Oh, and there was virtually no soup in the dumplings. Disappointing.
Their ‘traditional North of Style pork dumplings’ were, thankfully, a bit better. That afternoon, I ordered six pieces ($5.80) but somehow, I managed to get something like 12. I initially thought that I had grabbed someone else’s order by mistake but no one owned up to ordering the same dumplings as me so, eh. They weren’t the best dumplings I’ve ever had for the skins were too gluggy and thick. Meanwhile, the fillings were tasty but perhaps suffered from having too much corn flour stirred into it.
Lok Lok won’t win any awards, especially in Melbourne and especially since I just found out that the Northern Chinese restaurant across the road from my work make better dumplings despite the fact that they actually don’t specialise in them (blog post pending). I definitely wouldn’t recommend the place nor would I voluntarily eat there myself. Still, I don’t think I would say ‘no’ if the next food run involves dumplings from Lok Lok (and if I haven’t packed lunch from home) because personally-delivered food is always best. I’d stay away from the XLBs now and give their non-dumplings dishes a go as I’ve been told that their duck fried rice ‘tastes pretty good.’