Disclosure: I attended the masterclass courtesy of Nuffnang & Oriental Teahouse.
I recently attended a dumpling masterclass, hosted by David Zhou, at Oriental Teahouse. And guess what I learnt? That I’m a dumpling folding MASTER.
Oriental Teahouse was founded by David Zhou with a single shop in Prahran in 1993, but has now expanded to a little tea and dim sum empire of four branches. The Melbourne Central one is the newest, and was also the location of the dumpling class. The store itself is quite attractive – brightly lit, with shelves filled with stocks of tea, numerous displays of gorgeous glass teapots and cups, a stand holding teas for sampling, and a kitchen and eating area off to one side.
We started off with a glass of sparkling and a fluffy steamed pork bun that contained recognisable chunks of bbq pork.
It took a while for everyone to get settled, but eventually David Zhou started his demonstration. He started off by showing us how he makes his dumpling filling – containing chopped bok choy, pork mince, soy sauce, sesame oil and black vinegar – and then how to wrap the dumplings.
We were provided with wrappers and our own steamer basket to wrap some dumplings of our own. The friendly staff were around to help us out, but guess what? Dumpling making master over here didn’t need it after seeing the initial demonstration. (Toot toot.)
(Okay, so if I’m being honest I’ve wrapped hundreds of wontons before. Slightly differently, but the principle is the same.)
After everyone had finished wrapping, all the baskets were taken away to be steamed. When they were cooked, the waiter brought them back to our table. When he lifted the lid and saw the contents of our baskets, he exclaimed, “Wah! So many dumplings!”
What can I say in our defence? We were on a dumpling making roll!
We had a little break after eating our dumplings, so I got up to take pictures of the tea preparation. There was lots of water pouring and cup rinsing going on.
Next we received a basket each of steamed seafood dumplings. I loved these dumplings – plump and juicy, with large chunks of identifiable prawn and a good wrapper. They needed a touch more salt to be perfect, but apart from that I thought they were great.
Having eaten so many dumplings, I felt a bit like a dumpling by this stage. Fortunately, we were served a cup each of delicious and refreshing white tea to wash down the food.
As if we hadn’t eaten enough already, there was another dish before finishing – a simple dish of stir fried chicken served with rice.
From reading other accounts of Oriental Teahouse, it appears that the price of their dumplings are on the higher side compared to other yum cha establishments. However, I was impressed with the quality of of the dumplings that we ate (particularly those prettily wrapped ones that we ate first…). 😉 But if you prefer your dim sum cheap and cheerful, Oriental Teahouse is at least worth a visit for the tea and pretty teaware. When I stopped in last week to buy another tea cup, I sampled eight different teas on my way out and contemplated buying (another) glass teapot.
On second thought, perhaps I need to steer clear – it’s too much temptation for me!
For more on the dumpling class, check out these blogs:
And for more on Oriental Tea House in general:
[googleMap name=”Oriental Teahouse, Melbourne Central” width=”600″ height=”300″ directions_to=”false”]300 Latrobe St, Melbourne VIC Australia[/googleMap]
Melbourne Central Shopping Centre
(Elizabeth st entrance for the Melbourne Central train station)
Melbourne Central, VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9066 0208
Other locations: Collins Street, Prahran and Chadstone.