Dumpling bars seem to be a dime a dozen these days. If Sushi was the food fad of the 2000′s, dumplings have taken over this decade. But you won’t hear me complaining, to me dumplings are the best thing since sliced sushi and I can’t get enough of them. You know what they say, the best things come in small packages (perhaps I would like to believe that being about 5″4 tall).
I have prepared the list below as a work in progress, I don’t plan to leave a dumpling, dim sum or gyoza in Sydney unturned without eating them… so suggestions are more than welcome and if they are better than great, they will be added to the list. But, so far, here are Sydney’s best dumplings (in no particular order)….
1. Lotus Dumpling Bar
My office is located in a great spot, right on the harbour somewhere between the City, Darling Harbour and Circlar Quay. I know i’m spoilt but with this “somewhere in the middle” location means lunch choices are limited and the ones on the limited list are generally underwhelming. UNTIL… Lotus Dumpling opened just down the road in Walsh Bay. These dumplings are amazing, with service and fit out to match. Understated, funky and damn delicious. The xiao long bao steamed soup dumplings are the winner for me – go for the chicken and be warned that there is soup inside…. I learnt that the hard way. Hot tip – take a nibble from the top, slurp the soup and devour the rest.
2. Harajuku Gyoza
Gyozas are Dumpling’s japanese cousins. What is the difference?… there isn’t much of one. Dumplings traditionally came in many forms and flavours and back in the day gyozas were traditionally just pork. Nowadays, gyozas come in all different varieties, and the best place to witness this is Harajuku Gyoza. Not only do they specialise in the fun size treats, but the atmosphere is electric. You are always greeted with a belting “MOSHI MOSHI” and if you order sake (which you must), you enjoy an entertaining song and dance with it. The best menu item is definitely the grilled chicken gyoza, and for those with a sweet teeth, they even have nutella and banana dessert gyozas. Food aside, this place is fun the perfect place to enjoy some drinks and food with friends before a night out.
3. East Ocean
Imagine an ocean full of yum cha… well that image in your mind is very similar to East Ocean itself. Although very unassuming from the front, once you step inside you are ushered by the friendly staff all communicating by very serious looking headsets to your table which will be about 1 of 1000, the venue is seriously huge. The dumplings are plentiful and the menu is lengthy to say the least. But I can highly recommend their Shanghai style dumplings filled with pork or their seafood with snow pea dumplings. East Ocean is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late into the night, so no matter what time of the day you are craving dumplings, you can always rely on East Ocean.
4. Kam Fook
Kam Fook’s popularity in Chatswood was so positive the friendly people there decided to open up shop in Bondi Junction (hoo-ray!). Kam Fook has fulfilled many a hangovers and cravings I have had over the past year since moving close by. I think there is no better way to start the day than with their traditional chinese broccilli with a table full of dumplings. There is plenty of yum cha options to choose from, but I always order two or more servings of their prawn and chive dumplings, even better when washed down with some tea of Sing Tao (hair of the dog).
Before you turn your nose up at this chain restaurant suggestion, hear me out. This western spin on traditional Japanese is an old time favourite of mine, mainly for one reason and that is their duck gyoza. The deep tried bag of gyoza-goodness is filled with succulent duck and spring onions and is accompanied by a sweet batch of hoisin sauce.
6. Din Tai Fung
Some might say this renowned dumpling hut is the dump-King of the dumpling scene. This king originated as a humble little street stall on the streets of Taipei and is now a global business with an unrivalled committment to dumpling precision. Aside from their attention to detail, the taste is what brings me back here time and time again. My favourite is the Jiao Ze (steamed pork and prawn). You can enjoy these dumplings in Style at their George Street or Star restaurants or grab the on the go at Westfield Sydney.
Do you think you know where to get the best dumplings in Sydney? Well send your suggestions my way… always happy to do this type of market research… the things you gotta do!