*Purposefully looks up from laptop* Oh. Hello. I didn’t see you there. Mostly because I was balls deep in food porn photos of dumplings, but also because I wasn’t paying attention. But now I am, and we’re going to talk about the state of dumplings in Sydney. Did you know we are at the height of resurgence? And I for one could not be more thrilled.
Ain’t no party like a dumpling party, cause a dumpling party, cause a dumpling party requires chopsticks. Or something.
Let’s get comfy, let’s get serious, let’s get our diaries out and start planning some dates. Dates where the only dump you’ll find ends in ling, and you know that’s a winning combination with nothing but smiles at the end.
Din Tai Fung
Three little words that can take a day from fine to bloody excellent: xiao long bao *raised hands emoji*. Din Tai Fung has mixed deliciousness with convenience to bring you no less than nine locations across Sydney. There are so many world-famous dumplings to sink your teeth into, but who can go past the classic pork? If you’re into the kimchi craze, be sure to try out the kimchi pork version. If you’re feeling crazy, there’s always a game of Dumpling Roulette to be played. Don’t ask questions, just go in and try it, trust me.
They describe themselves as mixing ‘art with artistry’, which is an excellent sign because we all know the making of a good dumpling should not be considered any less than that. Plus, it’s all plated up so beautifully that you’ll have to get your food porn snap very quickly before they stop steaming. If it’s your first time, opt for the sampling platter, then choose your favourite and go from there.
Another one of those epic places that have given us life on hung over mornings and turned us from hangry to happy on our lunch breaks, New Shanghai and their house-made dumplings give life to us all through the soupiest of xiao long bao, the crunchiest of pan fried pork buns, or those not-technically-dumplings-but-they’re-so-damn-good shepherd’s purse and pork wontons with chilli oil, peanut and sesame sauce. Not much more explanation needed, just get yourself down there and join the party.
Sydney Dumpling King
When it comes to cheap and cheerful, Sydney Dumpling King on Burwood road is where it’s at. You can score yourself a plate of 15 fresh dumplings for around $12. Talk about a bargain, Marvin. Like ‘em fried? No problem, they’ll have them sizzling in the pan and burning your tongue in no time. There’s no need to think twice, just pop in and try to choose between any of the 28 flavours on offer.
Tim Ho Wan
Who else jumped for joy when Tim Ho Wan officially opened its doors in Sydney? I know I did. I mean, Michelin-starred food at crazy affordable prices? No brainer, my friend, no brainer. And then I waited patiently in line for ages for my chance to bite into their heavenly pockets of prawn, pork, and vegetable, slathered in soy and chilli for the win. Top tip: You can skip the crazy queue by booking a table with your nearest and dearest dumpling enthusiasts.
Oh, Merivale, where would we be without your incredible ability to nail every venture you begin? Probably a few sizes smaller in our jeans, but that’s not an issue when you have the wall of ducks and steamer of dumplings in your life. If you go in at lunch, you can design your own plate of bouncy, plump dumplings. The chive and roast duck are insane, as is the crispy calamari and foie gras. If you head in at dinner you’ll be given a cheeky sampler, but don’t worry, you won’t be disappointed.
Dumplings and Beer
Dumplings? Good. Beer? Good. You’ve already got the makings for an awesome night at Dumplings and Beer. This one’s especially for our gluten free friends, who so often get overlooked when it comes to dumpling fun. The good news is there are plenty of options for our without wheat homies. Not sure about the beer, though. As a side note, can we get someone to volunteer to go in and ask them what they serve?
They keep it pretty chill and wonderfully simple at Ashfield’s Shanghai Night. Not to mention wonderfully easy on the old bank account. A big ol’ plate of 18 dumplings will cost you less than a ten buck note, and it’s BYO, so if anything you’re making money. If it’s the soupy stuff you’re after, the xiao long bao is piping hot and perfectly moreish, so there’s no reason not to order two plates, you big high roller, you.
Lotus The Galeries
The problem: You love dumplings so much you’re considering getting one tattooed on your bum, but it’s a special occasion so you probably need to find somewhere a little more upmarket. The solution: Lotus The Galeries. You can have all of the dumplings plus some delicious cocktails and maybe some of their fresh seafood if you’re in the mood. Who said dumplings had to be a casual affair?
I say Sea, you say Bay. Sea… Yeah, you said it. In all seriousness, channel Fame and remember this name. You’re going to want it up in your noggin next time you’re in the CBD and want a coupl’a dumplings in your life (and stomach). The selection is small but oh so effective, so you won’t get menu stress. Boiled, fried, steamed, meaty, vegetarian, however you like them, you can get them at Sea Bay. Now doesn’t that just make your day? A hey hey. I’ll just see myself out…
Need more eats? How about Sydney's Best Katsu Curries.
Image Credit: New Shanghai