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FOOD & DRINK

Ten of the Best Spots in Melbourne for Dumplings

Here is everywhere you should go to find Melbourne's finest dumplings from siu mai to xiao long bao, and everything in between.
By Libby Curran
August 16, 2021
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By Libby Curran
August 16, 2021
  shares

The saying 'good things come in small packages' rings especially true for the humble dumpling. The universally-adored Asian dish is happily scoffed down during everything from weekend yum cha sessions to affordable group dinners out in Chinatown.

Whether you're partial to some pan-fried pork and chive dumplings, scouting out some soupy xiao long bao, or you just want some peanut chilli wontons on your chopsticks — Melbourne's dumpling game is strong and you'll never find yourself too far from a top-notch restaurant serving up some winners.

From the traditional to the contemporary, we've rounded up a list of primo dumpling joints to put on high rotation. Here's where to get your steamer basket fix next time the craving hits.

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TIM HO WAN, CBD

What started life as one hole-in-the-wall eatery in Hong Kong is now a globally recognised chain, complete with Michelin-star pedigree and outposts across Australia. Here at Tim Ho Wan Bourke Street, you can bank on some world-class dumplings, with all the usual dim sum suspects executed with finesse. Purists will appreciate the likes of translucent shrimp and spinach dumplings, steamer baskets filled with plump prawn har gow and the chicken broth studded with yellow wontons. Elsewhere, fill up on classics like the baked buns oozing barbecue pork, or venture left of field for a serve of the Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumplings — crisp seafood morsels crowned with a vibrant green dressing.

Get it during lockdown: Tim Ho Wan delivers via Doordash, UberEats, Easi and Deliveroo, plus takeaway is available if you live within range.

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DIN TAI FUNG, CBD

Taiwan's Din Tai Fung has been a staple of the Melbourne dumpling scene since its opening back in 2015. The Emporium restaurant space is bright, modern and polished, with a glass-walled dumpling kitchen offering visuals of the masters at work, to enjoy while you dine. The vibe is buzzy and service is speedy, as smartly-dressed waitstaff drop baskets and plates of dumplings to your table.The menu here champions the classics, with options like chicken and mushroom potstickers, shrimp and pork siu mai, and soupy xiao long bao. Din Tai Fung is also famed for its special releases — from Easter's chocolate-filled hot cross bao, to the animal-shaped dumplings unveiled for Lunar New Year.

Get it during lockdown: You'll find the regular menu available for in-store pick-up and for delivery via Deliveroo. Or, stock up on packs of frozen dumplings (so they're on hand whenever the craving hits) for delivery or click-and-collect here.
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HUTONG DUMPLING BAR, CBD AND PRAHRAN

This long-standing dumpling house has been winning over fans with its home-style Chinese cooking since 2008. Now with two restaurants in its stable, HuTong remains a go-to for authentic Shanghainese eats, including a stand-out line-up of handmade dumplings. Queues are pretty much a given, but the dishes are well worth the wait — translucent crystal prawn dumplings, xiao long bao, varieties stuffed with crab meat or roast duck, Sichuan-style wontons in hot chilli sauce, and more. The best part is, this one's affordable and generous, so you can feast without spending up too big. Winner winner, dumpling dinner.

Get it during lockdown: Takeaway is currently available from both stores, or you can enjoy delivery via Deliveroo or Doordash.

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SHANGHAI STREET, CBD AND WINDSOR

Now with four outposts under its belt, Shanghai Street is a go-to for many when dumplings are on the food agenda. Here, expect a fuss-free dining experience that doesn't skimp on flavour and that'll fill your belly without draining your wallet. Lovers of the xiao long bao will find four different variations to choose from, alongside handmade dumplings stuffed with the likes of kung pao chicken, beef and cheese, and a classic pork mix — either pan-fried, boiled or finished with a rich peanut butter sesame sauce. Other dim sum heroes include dainty siu mai, pork and prawn wontons, and fluffy char siu bao. Yep, the lineup is a hefty one — you'd best bring an appetite.

Get it during lockdown: UberEats can deliver to your door, plus takeaway is available.

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CHINA RED, CBD

This contemporary dumpling house comes complete with modern interiors, a touchscreen ordering system, and a kitchen offering primo views of the chefs working their magic. But despite the new-school energy, China Red's food offering is also grounded in tradition, boasting plenty of familiar flavours and time-honoured techniques. A hefty lineup of dim sum touches on all the greatest hits — prawn and chive parcels, vibrant green veggie dumplings, slurpy xiao long bao, and chicken and prawn siu mai— alongside underrated gems like the duck meat dumplings and dolphin-shaped beauties filled with prawn. All of them are perfectly folded, artfully presented and impressively quick to land at your table.

Get it during lockdown: Takeaway is available from the restaurant, or you can opt for delivery via UberEats.

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SHARK FIN INN, CBD AND KEYSBOROUGH

An oldie, but a goodie, Shark Fin Inn now has restaurants both in the inner-city and suburbia, leaving you in very good hands when that dumpling craving hits. Expect white-clothed tables, dapperly-looking waitstaff and a yum cha service with a truly devoted following of regulars. The menu is a roll-call of classics, with pork siu mai, glossy har gow, xiao long bao and vegetarian dumplings all making an appearance. Elsewhere in the lineup, you'll find pan-fried pork dumplings with a golden crust, crispy deep-fried wontons, and juicy prawn dumplings bathed in ginger broth. And that's only about one-third of the options — if you're after choices, this restaurant is the one for you.

Get it during lockdown: The restaurant's running delivery to select suburbs — order by calling (03) 96622681 or (03) 96622552.

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BOWL BOWL DUMPLING, COLLINGWOOD

Bringing a taste of Sichuan cuisine to the heart of Smith Street, this cheerful restaurant and dumpling house has extra broad appeal — along with meat- and seafood-based classics, it's plating up a solid spread of vegan and gluten-free options. Bowl Bowl's colourful interiors have a home-spun feel, while the generous menu pays equal respect to tradition and creativity. The aptly-named volcano wontons come bathed in a vivid red chilli broth; wagyu beef dumplings are matched tomato, onion and mushrooms; and the Chitalian parcels feature a region-hopping blend of fennel and chicken. You can even round out your feast with a couple of dessert dumplings, crafted with sweet rice, black sesame, fermented rice wine and honey.

Get it during lockdown: Try UberEats, Doordash or Deliveroo to get this menu dropped to your door. Takeaway is also available — call (03) 9417 7448 or pre-order here.

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ORIENTAL TEAHOUSE, CBD, SOUTH YARRA AND BRUNSWICK

A modern Chinese teahouse with outposts on Chapel Street and in the CBD (and a takeaway outpost in Brunswick), Oriental Teahouse is a total haven for the local dumpling-lover. Expect stylish, contemporary interiors, working as the backdrop to a refined, yet approachable menu of yum cha classics and Shanghainese favourites. Handmade dumplings are the stars of this show, with mostly authentic creations sitting alongside a few crafty new-school offerings. You'll find crisp ginger prawn dumplings, soup-filled xiao long bao, and pork and prawn siu mai, interspersed with the likes of pulled pork Flame Thrower dumplings, and a satay peanut chicken variety spiked with Asian herbs. The matching cocktail list is well worth a look-in, too.

Get it during lockdown: The Brunswick and South Yarra outposts remain open for takeaway and delivery via Deliveroo. There's also a range of signature cook-at-home dumplings, which you can order here. Plus, more set-menu feasts and dishes are available for delivery via Providoor.

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TAO TAO HOUSE, HAWTHORN

Behind a traditionally decorated facade on Glenferrie Road, Tao Tao House has been serving up top-notch Chinese fare for over a decade. With a former Flower Drum chef heading up the kitchen, this one's the real deal. The dim sum offering is expansive, with all the favourites represented — pork and prawn siu mai, prawn and chive dumplings, and soft barbecue pork buns, included, of course. Or, you can mix things up a bit with serves of the pork and peanut variety, some chilli-spiked chicken dumplings, or parcels stuffed with roast duck. Best of all, the popular yum cha service runs every day of the week.

Get it during lockdown: The menu's available to take away, as well as for delivery via Doordash.

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DUMPLING EMPIRE, GLEN WAVERLEY

A location of choice for big, hearty dumpling dinners with mates, Glen Waverley's Dumpling Empire takes dumplings just as seriously as its name suggests. The kitchen's known for its classically Shanghainese dumpling lineup, all handmade in-house daily. Get slurpy with some pork xiao long bao, order up on the chicken and prawn parcels, or take your chopsticks to the glossy green vegetarian dumplings. There's also pan-fried steamed buns, and some fiery chilli wontons with homemade spicy sesame sauce. And if you're having trouble deciding, you'll find a combo pack featuring a variety of steamed options.

Get it during lockdown: Swing past for pick-up, or grab delivery via EASI, Menulog, Doordash or UberEats.

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HONOURABLE MENTIONS

New Shanghai, Chadstone and CBD
Ruyi, CBD
Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar, CBD
Red Door Yum Cha, Windsor
Borsch Vodka and Tears, Windsor
Flower Drum, CBD
Gingerboy, CBD
Supernormal, CBD
David's, Prahran

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Top Images: Oriental Teahouse, Tim Ho Wan, Din Tai Fung, Hutong

Published on August 16, 2021 by Libby Curran

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