It was a need that had been brewing in my mind. I had been thinking about it for a while. A problem that had to be solved; that wouldn’t just go away. A fundamental problem? Perhaps. But one that I could manage? Not alone. It was, scary, it was ever present…and it had to be managed swiftly.
I needed dumplings.
Fundamental indeed. This problem in mind, a brave dining friend and I ventured far into the night (Burwood) and into Sydney Dumpling King. Looking at the extensive array of dumplings, I briefly felt we had bitten off more than we could chew (and then realised that there were essentially about 5 ingredients on high rotation to make up the 28 varieties of dumpling on offer). We chose a half-half dish of boiled dumplings – fish and coriander / prawn with eggs, chives and wood-ear mushrooms, as well as a half-half dish of fried dumplings, pot-sticker style – beef with celery and pork with zucchini (feeling experimental). Each had 15 dumplings and were reasonably priced – $14 for the seafood; $11-ish ($9-ish plus a $2 frying fee) for the beef/pork versions.
The two ladies hand-making all of those dumplings were the fastest-working people I have ever seen in my life. Who rolls out and fills dough that quickly? Anyway, they were mainly delicious. The pork and zucchini was, somewhat expectedly, kind of bland. Both seafood versions were great and the beef and celery was surprisingly tasty. I did prefer the texture of the fried, but that’s just me. And it was reassuring to see those ladies and know that it was not mystery meat in the dumpling.
Like some slow rolling dumpling train on the verge of picking up even more dumplings I felt the undying urge to perpetuate this dumpling-foolery. I proceeded to the closest Asian grocery and stocked up. Yum Cha weekend bonanza!
The cheong fun was pretty sad. Three dried out prawns in each of the thick, dried out pastry. Skip this one and hold out for yum cha.
The har gau was more like spinach gau, sadly! The pastry was similarly fairly thick – a common theme in the world of frozen dumplings. Again, one to hold out for yum cha.
The surprise winners of the day were the shanghai-style dumplings. I bought pork and vegetable, pork and coriander and then some form of mystery meat “juicy buns” aka everyone’s favourite xiao long bau. Again, the common theme of fairly thick pastry continued but the dumplings contained a nice soupiness (and also can be steamed from frozen in 12 minutes or less). Winning. Oh and for c.$4 per packet, who is complaining?
I also bought a few mystery sauces…
I also bought a pack of frozen green onion pancakes. Now, I’m not sure if this is testament to the quality of the product…or a reflection of the (sub par) green onion pancakes of meals past. But these were one of the best I’ve ever had. Check this flakiness (ignore the kind of burnt bits):
Anyway, this weekend has been a total yum cha bonanza. I’m pretty sure my nutrient levels are 100% depleted, but it sure has been a delicious couple of days…