Now who doesn’t love dumplings? Around the world, you’ll find them in various forms, and whether they’re sweet, savoury, fried or steamed, they’re usually a favourite among locals. While on a trip to Melbourne, we were invited to visit HuTong Dumpling Bar which is located in the heart of the CBD, and the go-to place for Chinese dumplings.
HuTong Dumpling Bar is a three-level restaurant, and in some ways, reminds me of a boutique apartment complex; the higher you go, the more attractive the setting. It’s cheap and cheerful on the ground level, more practical on the second, and definitely more attractive on the top floor. While people come here for the dumplings, it’s not all that they offer. There’s also a range of Sichuan and Shanghainese dishes to add more variety to the experience.
The Shao-long Bao is the must-have dish when visiting HuTong Dumpling Bar. It’s a famous soup-filled dumpling that needs to be eaten with caution. If not done properly, you’ll either burn the roof of your mouth or get it all over yourself. The trick is take a small bite into the neck of the dumpling and suck some of the soup out. Then you proceed to eat the dumpling as normal. It’s a juicy kernel of meat that floats within flavourful broth, inside a thin and silky dumpling wrapper. It’s delicious and worth the experience!
Another recommendation was the Wontons with Hot Chilli Sauce. I’m used to wontons in a clear broth, but this was just as good. The well seasoned filling consisted of minced pork, garlic, chives and ginger, wrapped in a perfectly cooked wonton skin. The hot chilli sauce wasn’t too hot, and ideal for a much broader audience.
A unanimous favourite was the Dry Chicken in Hot Chilli. Best described as an Asian spicy popcorn chicken, this dish is perfect as a snack with a few beers, or as a meal. The morsels of chicken breast were juicy and succulent, and covered in a light, golden brown coating that consisted of beer and wine. It was well seasoned with a lovely kick from the dry chilli.
Strangely enough, I’ve never had the Sauteed Beef Fillet in Black Pepper Sauce before, however, I have seen variations of it. Sitting on a bed of broccoli were tender morsels of beef covered in a thick pepper sauce. Quite often the pepper can overpower the dish but not in this case. It was a delicious dish to change things up a bit.
The Crispy Spring Chicken with Garlic is probably one of the best I’ve had. The chicken was tender and juicy, with the meat simply falling off the bone. The star of the show was the wafer thin chicken skin which crispy and flavoursome. This dish was another favourite among the group.
A dish ordered for its colour was the Scallop with Eggplant in Szechuan Chilli Sauce. This rustic dish was something you’d enjoy on a cold winters evening. The eggplant slices were soft and delicate, while the scallops were juicy and succulent. All the ingredients were smothered in a thick, subtly sweet sauce that was very similar to oyster sauce.
We really had an enjoyable visit at HuTong Dumpling Bar. Not only was the food delicious, but the staff were very friendly and accommodating. We’d like to thank everyone for their kind hospitality, and of course, Papermill Media for organising our visit.
HuTong Dumpling Bar is open daily from 11:30am-3pm, Monday to Thursday 5:30pm-10:30pm, Friday and Saturday from 5:30pm-11pm and on Sunday from 3:30pm-10:30pm.
WHERE: 14-16 Market Lane, Melbourne