Can you do dumplings for days? Join the club. Just when you think we've reached peak dumpling in Melbourne, a new joint opens up that revives our endless love affair with these purse-like packages of pure yum. Taste the best dumplings that the city has to offer from some of our favourite dim sum houses.
Tuck into Shanghai-style dumplings at David's, a Melbourne mainstay. The menu is long on comforting traditional noodle dishes and stick-to-your-ribs stir-fries, but it's the dumplings that bring visitors back time and time again. The steamed pork varieties have a gingery kick, while the golden parcels are hand-stuffed with tender minced chicken and Asian herbs. Don't miss the pork and prawn shu mai, with their kick of chilli sauce and springy texture. Keep the dumpling love flowing at dessert by ordering a plate of white chocolate dumplings accompanied with crunchy peanut and coconut praline.
Foodies in the know flock to Shandong Mama. Tucked away in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shopping centre, this unassuming canteen turns out what many consider to be absolute best dumplings in Melbourne. The fish dumplings are wrapped in thin dough and stuffed with mackerel mince, ginger, chives and coriander. Some menu options look more like open-ended cannoli than your everyday dumpling, with golden skins wrapped around fillings like prawn and black fungus. These precious parcels are all made fresh each day by 'Mama' Meiyan Wang herself.
The dumpling menu is almost as long as the tea list at the Oriental Teahouse. Alongside the usual pork or prawn varieties, you'll find more exotic savouries to tempt you. Case in point, the wagyu beef dumplings which are marinated in kaffir lime and served with a homemade chilli sauce. Sour and spicy all at once, they're pretty much irresistible. Veggies are well-served here with a fine selection of plant-based options. Pillow-y mini buns are filled with shiitake and bok choy, and pan-fried dumplings are lovingly stuffed with pumpkin, mushroom and soy beans. If you've saved room for the sweet stuff, order a plate of chocolate dumplings to do Wonka proud.
Din Tai Fung
Taiwanese dumpling savants Din Tai Fung have been dishing up long bao and wontons galore since 1974. It's been big news that we finally have our very own DTF branch in Melbourne, with queues out the door. So what's all the fuss about? Well, aside from the perfection of the soup dumplings, they also offer a little something called dumpling gems. Order these and you'll get seven parcels, each with a different vivid colour and flavour. The silky rainbow-coloured dumpling skins house bursts of flavours like garlic pork, salad greens and golden corn. Don't share these – you'll want to keep them all to yourself.
I Love Dumplings
The name says it all, really. At I Love Dumplings, these dudes genuinely love what they do and their dumpling enthusiasm shines through in each order. Whether you like them steamed, soup-filled or pan-fried, they'll get your order just right. You'll be in dumpling heaven with flavours like chicken and prawn, beef and lamb, or dried tofu and mushrooms on offer. Dunk them in your choice of spicy chilli or delicate soy-ginger sauces, and save room for a steamed bun or two.