The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

Shanghai Master Dumpling

173 King Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9077 0919

I’m forever on the lookout for new dumpling restaurants so when I came across a new one on King Street, you can pretty much picture the tears of joy running down my face. I walked past Shanghai Master a month or so ago when I was on my way to meet Dave for a mid-week dinner. I was close to running late so I didn’t get a chance to check it out, however the full house reassured me that this was a place worth checking out.

Actually, I think even if it was quiet, I’d still be going there anyway because c’mon, man, dumplings!

My chance came a few weeks ago. After a long day at the office, I decided to treat myself to some dumplings. I was alone and I was hungry. At the risk of looking like a pig, I ordered two servings of dumplings.

I grabbed my cutlery and poured myself a glass of hot tea at the self-service station before sitting back down with Alain de Botton’s latest book. Because the place was busy, even at 8:30pm on a weeknight, my dumplings did not arrive at my table as quick as Usain Bolt. Understandable, though.

Although this restaurant’s name sounds like a major golf tournament, there are no double-bogeys as far as I’m concerned. My xiaolongbao, pork soup dumplings (eight pieces for $8.80), arrived hot and fresh in a large bamboo steamer and they were mad-hot delicious.

If I could be fussy, I’d say that the pork filling was as big as a golf ball, which meant that there was less room for soup. More soup and less pork would have made them a bit better. Taste-wise, though, they were great but others may say that the skins are perhaps a bit thick.

I liked their shengjianbao, ‘homemade Shanghai fried mini buns’ (six for $8.50), a lot better. Each bun was perfectly dough-y and crunchy with beautiful fillings to boot. I was especially delighted to see that they mixed in a bit of shrimp in the pork filling to give it that extra bit of flavour. Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish these so I ended up taking them home with me so I could eat them for lunch the very next day.

The last time I was here, I ordered a plate of fried pork dumplings (15 pieces for $8.50). I must admit that the skins were probably more dough-y than the dumplings you get elsewhere in the city. That said, the dumplings were still decent thanks to the filling, which had heaps of ginger and chives in it (always a win for me).

Shanghai Master doesn’t make the best dumplings in the world and the fact that they don’t have chilli oil as a condiment is a bit of a drawback in my books. That said, they’re more than decent which is more than I can say for a lot of dumpling restaurants in the city. Plus, it’s about time they had a dumpling restaurant on this side of the CBD!

The restaurant does get packed during lunchtime so I wouldn’t bother coming here on my 30-minute lunch break. However, I will be back to try more of their dumplings. I am particularly keen on their chicken and prawn xiaolongbao as well as their crab and prawn xiaolongbao, which cost a little bit more than the standard pork ones but at least you’re not paying close to $20 for a steamer like you would at Din Tai Fung. I’d also be getting more of their shengjianbao. Mmm.

Shanghai Master Dumpling on Urbanspoon

14 Comments on Shanghai Master Dumpling

  1. Ming @ sweetandsourfork
    August 27, 2012 at 22:47 (2 years ago)

    YOU’RE MAKING ME EXCITED. Shame about the lack of chilli oil though; how does it compare to shanghai street?

    Reply
    • libishski
      August 28, 2012 at 23:17 (2 years ago)

      I reckon they’re both equally good. I do like the XLBs a bit better at Shanghai Street (because there is more soup in them), but the SJBs are better at Shanghai Master :)

      Reply
  2. Savory Simple
    August 27, 2012 at 23:21 (2 years ago)

    Those dumplings look so yummy!

    Reply
  3. Winston
    August 27, 2012 at 23:48 (2 years ago)

    Lib!! I totally agree with you about needing more dumpling places on that end of the CBD! And I like how honest you are about the food. A lot of places that I enjoy going to doesn’t necessarily make the “best” foods, but heck, it really doesn’t matter to me most of the time. It’s the other factors, as you pointed out. Could be service, could be consistency… And in this case, could be just something good enough to satisfy those damn dumpling cravings! Will try will try =)

    Reply
  4. Hannah
    August 28, 2012 at 04:22 (2 years ago)

    It sometimes amuses me how different our focuses are when it comes to spotting new food places. For example, with dumplings, I’m much more interested in amusing myself trying to figure out how to pronounce “shengjianbao” than actually eating the dumplings. :P

    Reply
  5. yummychunklet
    August 28, 2012 at 05:11 (2 years ago)

    Those dumplings look delicious. In a pinch, I go to Wow Bao in the mall next to my condo building.

    Reply
  6. Choc Chip Uru
    August 28, 2012 at 06:36 (2 years ago)

    I come here and you make me want dumplings – almost every time :P

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    Reply
  7. Neeno
    August 28, 2012 at 10:06 (2 years ago)

    My favourite dumpling place is still hands down Shanghai Street “Dupling” House on La Trobe. they have chilli oil now!!Lt Bourke too!! I rmbr one of your no-nos was that they didnt have chilli oil.
    Their skins are not too thick or doughy and their soups are amazing!

    Reply
    • libishski
      August 28, 2012 at 23:13 (2 years ago)

      They gots teh chilli oil now?! WAAAHHHHH!

      I do like the Lt Bourke Street one but haven’t been to the La Trobe Street now. I know the latter is less busy so I will definitely be going there – maybe next week!

      Reply
  8. theragingcook
    August 28, 2012 at 17:39 (2 years ago)

    I’m more of a red vinegar person lol, but yeaaaaah dumplings – particularly XLBs and panfrieds – one of thE things I could eat forever, yet never get bored of lol

    Reply
    • libishski
      August 28, 2012 at 23:02 (2 years ago)

      Ditto. Mmmmmmm.

      Reply
  9. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    August 29, 2012 at 11:27 (2 years ago)

    Ohh is this place new? I don’t think I’ve heard of it hehe :) looks good though! And it’s quite affordable sighh i think we just need DTF in Melbourne! it’s not far they always get the good stuff in Sydney hehe :D gotta go try this place soon ~

    Reply
    • libishski
      September 2, 2012 at 21:31 (2 years ago)

      Yeah, I’m sure it’s new. You need to go there!

      Reply

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