I’m sure every Melbourne resident has been to the infamous Chinatown instution that is Shanghai Dumpling, or at least heard stories. Many emerge swearing ‘never again…’, although are tempted back again by the dirt cheap prices (if not the dirt itself).
Now, this place is not to be confused with Shanghai Village, a much lesser known but far superior dumpling house on Chinatown’s main strip. Prices are comparable, service is decent, food is excellent. We all left very well fed, after spending about $10 each.
We got the usual assortment: chicken and prawn (definitely the best, in my opinion), pork, vegetarian, both pork and vegetarian steamed buns. All were quite satisfactory, with the vegetarian dumplings being a particular standout. In my experience they can be a bit of a hit and miss around Chinatown, where they may be mere sad, cabbage filled poor cousins of their meaty counterparts.
I also got the opportunity to try something new: fried pumpkin dumplings, which were recommended by a friend. Unlike the familiar dough-wrapped dumplings, these had been crumbed instead. The pumpkin seemed as if it had been combined with some sort of flour, (likely tapioca or glutinous rice), which gave it a slightly chewy consistency. They were sweet and delightful, kind of a sweet-savoury hybrid. As you can see presentation isn’t really a strong point here, but really, who cares.
Whenever I recommend this place to someone heading to Shanghai Dumpling, I always get the same old ‘oh but I know that place is good…’ or the classic ‘we want something cheap…’. Come on. It’s $10!! And you are seriously kidding yourself if you think that place is ‘good’. Sure, it’s ok for what it costs, but why settle for less than the best? (Especially when the ‘best’ in this case is around the corner). I am telling you now, Shanghai Village is good and it’s cheap. Trust me.
*Note: I have never tried any of the other non-dumpling dishes, so I can’t vouch for their quality. Refer to urbanspoon…Shanghai Village Dumpling 112 Little Bourke St Melbourne