As everybody in the history of time knows, dumplings were invented by the God of Happiness, who wanted us all to eat lots of dumplings and be really happy. The plan worked and now we’re all spoilt with decadent parcels of goodness containing juicy fillings, bursting with flavour.
Dumplings are a gift to us all and it’s important we enjoy them as often as possible. To help you maximise your dumpling enjoyment time, we’ve munched and slurped our way around our dumpling-happy metropolis to bring you this list of Brisbane’s best dumplings.
Little Red Dumpling Bar
Delicious dumplings + a bar = yes please. With an offering of both meat and vego dumplings, fried and steamed, Little Red Dumpling Bar is a winner for the whole party. Having grown to include eight locations across Brisbane all of which are frequented by hordes of dumpling lovers, we’re guessing we aren’t the only ones who love this place.
The delightful little parcels of happiness at Fat Dumpling are hand-made daily and bursting with flavour. They offer poached, steamed and fried dumpling options, including pork and Chinese cabbage, prawn and garlic chives and vegetarian dumplings. Their menu makes it hard to choose just a few to try, so be sure to roll in with a big group and a big hunger.
Located in Brisbane’s hip new foodie hub, at the northern end of Howard Smith Wharves, is the stunning new two-level Cantonese restaurant, Stanley. Hosting a menu with a mixture of traditional and modern Cantonese style dishes that showcase some incredible meat, seafood and produce, you can be sure that you’re in the right place for some delicious dumplings. Whether you’re after steamed, baked or fried dumplings, you can be sure that your taste buds will be catered for with Stanley’s signature dim sum platter.
This modern Chinese restaurant is the place to go if you’re up for fine dining dumplings. Donna Chang’s specialised dim sum chefs produce a variety of handcrafted dumplings and yum cha daily, using a combination of creative flavours, quality ingredients and local seafood. Our pick from the menu is the pork and garlic chive dumplings with black bean and crispy chilli or the pan steamed lamb and cumin buns with Donna Chang’s signature hot sauce. Bonus, there’s also plenty to drink thanks to Donna Chang’s 100-bottle wine list of boutique local and international drops.
Styled like a Hong Kong tea house, you can sit and watch New Shanghai’s dumpling masters at work as they roll, stuff, and pleat a wide range of dumplings, right before your greedy little eyes. From xiao long bao, to pork with chives, a superbly crisp-bottomed pan-fried pork dumpling, and, our fave, the Shepherd's purse and pork wonton with peanut butter and red chilli oil—it’s heaven—New Shanghai has mastered the art of the perfect dumpling. And the menu doesn’t stop there, there’s a bounty of a moreish Chinese dishes to tempt you should you have any room left.
Dumplings may not be the hero dish at Fortitude Valley’s very cool Chinese restaurant, Happy Boy, but boy, they are good. Their prawn and pork wontons with chilli oil are the ideal way to start your meal, and perfection washed down with one of their many stellar wines.
Hailing from the southern states, Brisbane Phoenix is part of Australia’s dumpling empire. With a hella long menu full of top tier yum cha dishes, the new venue is definitely one for group hangs, and even boasts a private dining room that can seat up to 20 people around the biggest lazy Susan you’ve ever seen. On the yum cha menu, you’ll find dumplings for days with your choice of steamed, baked or fried goodies. One must try the likes of crab xiao long bao, prawn and garlic chive dumplings and steamed BBQ pork buns, while vego can scoff down wild mushroom or baby spinach dumplings.
Tucked away on Warner Street, Little Valley is the place to take a whole crew for dumplings. While their menu is full of delicious share-style mains, their dim sum menu is a force to be reckoned with. From spicy chilli xiao long bao—spicy as in tingly, not spicy as in blow-your-head-off hot—to lobster and chive har gow, shitake and water chestnut dumplings and char sui pork and kimchi buns, we’re dubbing that Little Valley is one of the best spots for dumplings in town.
Part swish riverside bar, part banquet house, Madame Wu is a lady of many talents. The dumpling menu here is not your garden variety pork-n-chives deal, they're stuffed with outright fancy fillings, like Moreton Bay bug, scallop and verjus butter, and wagyu beef. Madame Wu's handy location to Brisbane's CBD bars make it a perfect spot to start your night with a table full of friends, dumplings and plenty of their Asian-inspired cocktails.
Brisbane CBD, South Bank AND Indooroopilly
One of the first places that comes to mind when you start dreaming of dumplings has to be Harajuku Gyoza. Well, great news, friends! They have three locations serving up little morsels of dumpling deliciousness across Brisbane. Their grilled pork gyoza are second to none, but they also offer up steamed options for the health conscious, including a very yummy vegetarian option. Bonus points if you finish it off with Nutella gyoza. Sake shots are also encouraged.
South Bank And Portside
You’ll find Bamboo Basket at South Bank and Portside, making all your dreams come true with their comprehensive dim sum menu. Wrap your chopsticks around their roast duck dumplings, pan-fried pork dumplings, steamed vegetable buns and pork and prawn Siu Mai. You’ll find the food fresh, delicious, bursting with traditional Chinese flavours.
No need to break the bank for a good feed here. $10 at Bishamon in Spring Hill will get you gyoza, soup, rice, salad and two sushi rolls–that’s a damn good deal as far as we’re concerned. Not only is it easy on the wallet, Bishamon’s dumplings are an explosion of flavour too.
Prefer a good bao bun over a dumpling? Here's where to find Brisbane's best.
Image credit: Grace Elizabeth Images, Donna Chang