It has been awhile since my last session of yum cha and now I am craving it so bad. Hutong Dumpling Bar is a place I knew I should visit in the afternoon because I don't trust our luck to come during dinner time. We have passed by Hutong Dumpling Bar several times and it was always crowded. Make sure you make reservations to play safe. It was pouring outside, we were extremely glad to stay warm inside, have dim sums and unlimited amount of hot tea cups.
There are three floors in this dumpling house. The first floor you can see chefs preparing dumplings, the second a completely casual setting, and the third a more private and dimly lit area suited for family gatherings.
Pan-Fried Dumplings, 11.80AUD
The first plate that came to our table blew our minds off the roof. The fried dumplings have delicate skins, juicy pork meats with a soupy filling. The skin at the bottom was crispy and almost caramelised, giving the dumplings nice hints of crunch. Everything was made to order and we absolutely love the freshness of this dish.
Wantons With Hot Chilli Sauce, 9AUD
The second dish also did not disappoint. I have pretty high tolerance towards spicy food and these wantons were not at all spicy. Nonetheless, the chilli oil soaks and coats the wanton skins nicely. The wantons were bursting out with sweet, salty and sour, all balanced perfectly.
Stairway to China, right?
Shao Long Bao, 10.80AUD
Hutong Dumpling Bar's Shao Long Bao was top notch. The temperature was just right and there was plenty of juice that bursts in your mouth with every bag of bao. I love to use my chopstick, carry its twisted peak, and dip it in soy sauce instead of vinegar. What about you?
Shredded Turnip Pastries, 6.80AUD
The Shredded Turnip Pastries had a crispy exterior, and when bitten, there were still warm smoke coming out of the insides. Inside was moist and steamy, nothing that exemplifies dryness.
Minced Pork And Prawn Dumplings, 9.80AUD + Silky Beancurd Spring Rolls, 7.80AUD + Vegetarian Dumpling In Spinach Flavour Wrap, 7AUD
One of yum cha's must haves is the Minced Pork And Prawn Dumplings (siew mai). The skin was velvety, paired with compressed pork and prawn meats which tasted so well with soy or vinegar. The Spring Rolls was also cooked beautifully with malleable bean curds portioned just right, it tasted peppery and perfect. The only dish that I can criticise was the green Vegetarian Dumpling In Spinach Flavour Wrap. The skin was too thick and tasteless, the spinach within hardened and there was no moisture in it at all.
Waiting area on level three, a great place for important guests to wait at.
All in all I consider Hutong Dumpling Bar as one of the best dumpling house in Melbourne. Not just the food that was impeccable, but the overall layout and design of the store captures the essence of China. All staff came from the mainland whether chefs or waiters, and we completely enjoyed every touch points of the service. We all had a memorable experience at Hutong Dumpling Bar and we are definitely coming back in a heartbeat. Hutong is considered as having a narrow lane situated in a traditional residential area of a Chinese city. This is strategical as Hutong Dumpling Bar is located along a small alleyway on Market Lane just a street out of Chinatown. Down the same street is a German beer house Hofbrauhaus, and a retro bar Girl With The Gris Gris. No doubt in this lane we get the best of all worlds.
Hutong Dumpling Bar
14-16 Market Lane, CBD
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Tel: +(61) 03 9650 8128
Mon to Thu: 11.30am-3pm
Fri to Sat: 11.30am-3pm