Food Articles

Welcome... to DumplingQuest!

Who actually sells the best dumplings in China Town? We went there and ate a billion of the things to find out

Published:

FENG SHUI INN

This place offers the "Bruce Lee dumplings" as part of their "Kung Fu Dim Sum" menu, which sounds culturally appropriative even though everyone involved is from the culture in question. But anyway. The aforementioned dumplings are packed with flavour and ludicrously juicy, if a little on the expensive side. The fried pot-stickers are great too. The food is augmented by TVs showing bizarre karaoke music videos - videos, for the most part cut together out of 1980’s stock footage of New York, clips of Asian amusement parks and - in one case - footage of a rhino running around a grassy plain. Which is, you know, fine.

Unique selling point: The five-minute period where the stock-footage karaoke video was replaced with video of a man wearing a sheep’s head, singing at a talent show

Welcome... to DumplingQuest! 1

LEONG’S LEGENDS II

Leong’s interior looks like a hipster cookbook, with artsy wallhangs, chunky wooden tables and a variety of men with beards (including us) filling up the cramped tables. It’s good stuff, though. Tasty, neatly-fashioned pork dumplings are the stars of the show, but Leong's crab ones are also worth a punt. Rounded off with the best tea we had in any of our dim sum trips and a cocktail menu that verges on the over-adventurous, Leong’s comes highly recommended.

Unique selling point: The dipping vinegar came with some kind of sticks floating in it, which we assume is hella sophisticated.

Welcome... to DumplingQuest! 2

LIDO

Lido has the appearance of a mid-range hotel conference room, complete with stackable metal chairs, miles of patterned red carpet, and uplighting on all the walls, but try to look past that. The service is so-so but they boast a range of dumplings to try - the vegetable and mushroom variations provide variety but their xiao long bao, or Shanghai steamed pork dumpling, is packed with deep, rich, umami flavour.

Unique selling point: The held together despite our cack-handed chopstick skills where other dumplings would have burst, so that’s definitely a mark in their favour

Welcome... to DumplingQuest! 3

BEIJING DUMPLING

Fairy lights are a Chinese restaurant staple, and here they combine with wood paneling and a not-too-cramped, not-too-cavernous interior to give the place a relaxed, bar-like feel. Skip their pork dumplings - they’re not great - and instead go for their seafood dumpling. They only make 50 each day, a sign in the window assured us, and they’re stellar - singular, enormous things loaded with seafood and a delicious fish broth, designed to be opened up and the soup drunk first before picking out the prawns with your chopsticks. Which we only learned after manhandling ours into a bowl and trying to mash it up into bits with a spoon, like the sophisticated gourmands we are.

Unique selling point: The waitress didn’t roll her eyes as she corrected our pronunciation of Tsingtao, which was nice of her

Welcome... to DumplingQuest! 4

JEN CAFE

Jen is cheap and cheerful (minus the cheerful), but the dumplings are good. The entire operation is run by a rotating posse of yelling Chinese women who alternate between making dumplings in one corner of the joint, cooking them in another corner, and hurling menus at customers in the middle. You can get the Beijing dumplings steamed or fried; both are good, and the service is as fast as it is brisk, which is to say: very. On account of it being simultaneously cheap and good and tiny, it’s almost always packed out, so you might have to loiter around outside until a table frees up.

Unique selling point: Rationalising the decision to have a third bowl of dumplings in a single lunch break

Welcome... to DumplingQuest! 5

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