Sydney Dumpling King, Burwood

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Are you someone who love lingering over long lunches, or more the person who opts for a quick, fast meal when it comes to lunchtime? I guess it depends on your day's agenda and current circumstances, but I love doing both. Whether its going out for a family dinner of pizza and pasta, or a quick bowl of Pho for Sunday lunch, weekends are always the highlight of my food week because they're the times when I get to go out and eat something other than a homemade sandwich for lunch. Not that sandwiches are bad, but when you have them 5 days a week they do tend to get a little bit boring.

Whatever tickles your fancy, I find that a number of cuisines either fit into one lunching category or the other. Asian fare, such as Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Malaysian, always makes for a fast, cheap lunch fix, whereas more of the European or Western cuisines - Italian, Greek and modern Australian - will tend to drag out and make for a longer, more expensive and filling lunch. I'm not quite sure whether its the cooking methods of each cuisine and the ingredients they use, or the kind of lifestyle each is associated with, but more often than not it will be the bowl or noodles or rice dish that will take less time to cook and eat than a bowl of pasta or steak and chips. Asian is by far my favourite.
Well, if you can call it a cuisine - there are so many cuisines encapsulated by the term: Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, Indian, Thai... the list goes on. And even then, within those cuisines there are sub-regions, each with their own unique cooking style and ingredients. That is the beauty of the culinary world - no two dishes are the same, and there always seems to be something you've never tried before regardless of how many times you've eaten that particular type of food. Being Chinese, I guess I am kind of impartial to the food of my own background, but as a family I find that we like to eat fast and cheap and lunch and splash out on a luxurious pasta, fish or steak for dinner or on special occasions.

Today Mum and I were having lunch together - just us two. It was nice for a change, because aside from the times I go out to visit her at work I never really get to eat lunch just with her. We'd had brunch earlier that morning, so decided to go for a late lunch after a morning of Christmas shopping and tireless walking. We wanted something that was relatively quick and not too filling, so drove up to Burwood for a cheap and authentic Asian lunch.

Interior of Sydney Dumpling King

We'd walked by Sydney Dumpling on a couple of occasions before and I'd heard about it from some of my friends, but we'd never eaten there before. Mum had a bit of a dumpling craving, so we decided to give it a try. The inside of the eatery is simple and each table is fitted out with the standard cheap-Chinese-eatery decor - a tissue box, tea thermos, soy sauce and vinegar bottles and a little metal container of hot, preserved chilli. Colourful picture adorn the walls, depicting some of the many Taiwanese dishes avaiable on the menu.

Pork and Chinese Cabbage steamed dumplings ($9.90/serving of 15)

We look around as we try to figure out what to order, and everything to our eyes looks extremely tasty and delicious. Eventually we decide on a noodle dish and a plate of dumplings to share. But which ones? The menu of Sydney Dumpling King lists 28 different varieties, each coming with 15 dumpling to a serving. There are beef, pork, chicken, seafood and even lamb dumplings on offer, and if you're stuck on which ones to choose from there's a choice of a plate of 20 assorted ones (excluding beef and lamb), or any 2 choices per serving.

Inside the pork & cabbage dumpling!

We chose a more traditional filling of pork and chinese cabbage. They come out steaming hot and upong biting into one I let out a squeal of exclamation as a burst of hot broth spurts out and lands on both the plate and table in front of me. It's seasoned heavily with white pepper and the cabbage adds a much-needed crunchy texture to the dumpling. The wrappers, as we get a glimpse of later on, are house-made, sturdy and thickish compared to some other dumplings. The dumplings are authentic, moreish and very good for value.

Fried noodles with vegetables and chicken ($11.90)

Out of the range rice and noodles dishes there are a number of noodle soups, stir fried and cold noodles and rice combinations, including the crowd-pleaser Taiwanese spiced pork rice and noodle soup. We decided to get the fried noodles with vegetables and chicken (pork is also an option but as we got pork dumplings we went for the chicken instead). The noodles came out piled high on a plates, a mixture of charred, yellow, squiggly egg noodles, bright chinese choy, ombre brown chicken and vibrant strips of julienned carrot. Mmm.... It reminded me of a Taiwanese version of Singapore Noodles - the colours and flavour - which was further enhanced by the smoky flavour given by the wok (what the Chinese call wok hei). I couldn't stop eating these as they weren't heavy or oily at all.

Less than half and hour later we were feeling completely satisfied and utterly full, as remnants of our lunch lay on our plates on front of us, beckoning for one more mouthful. Takeaway containers cost 30c, so we doggy-bagged the rest home for lunch the next day.

The next day we heated the rest up in the microwave for a leftover lunch and found that the dumplings were almost as good as what they were when fresh. The only thing missing was the hot juices that oozed from the dumplings from the steaming process, but the wrappers were just as good rewarmed and weren't tough or heavy at all.

We'll definitely be coming back here for those times when all you feel like are some dumplings and a quick lunch. Situated up on the quieter end of Burwood road, it doesn't experience the busyness that other eateries do, although it is quite popular with the locals. And why shouldn't it be? Sydney Dumpling King, your dumplings truly are royalty.


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