Remember when Melbourne was xiao long bao mad a couple of years ago?
That’s one food trend I’m happy to consume. And when Sarah posted about Mr Huang Jin’s XLBs recently, I was keen to check them out after an average XLB experience the previous week.
Mr Huang Jin are located in the Rialto tower on Collins Street, and haven’t been open for terribly long. And I feel the need to get this out of the way first: they’re not your typical dumpling restaurant where you can eat until you burst for $10. A serve of dumplings at Mr Huang Jin is $18-$20. Is it worth the extra money when you can go to a cheap cheerful place for much, much less? Well: read on.
I rocked up with Alastair and Bro on a warm Wednesday evening. We were the only table, so service was attentive, and very sweet.
For drinks, we went with tea which is charged at $3.50 per person (I know, I know – see that paragraph about it being pricier than usual.)
We were mostly there for dumplings, so started with a round of steamed pork and chilli ones ($18 for 8 dumplings). And they were good: thin skin, juicy meat with a small chilli kick and flavoursome soup.
I really liked them. So much so that at the end of our meal, we ordered another round.
We also had some pan fried pork dumplings ($17 for 8 dumplings). These were also done well: they had crispy bottoms and soft skins with a flavoursome pork and chive filling.
Our last dumpling dish was a serve of prawn and pork wontons with chilli sauce ($19 for 8 dumplings). I really enjoyed these. Encased in the silky wonton skin was a filling made with pork and large pieces of prawn, and all the wontons were covered with a very tasty chilli sauce.
There’s a “Taiwanese Tapas” section to the menu, from which we ordered a couple of things. First was the TFC – Taiwanese Fried Chicken ($11). The chicken had been seasoned and fried and came served with a sweet chilli mayonnaise. (The serving was actually a bit bigger than this photo – I messed up the original photo and we ate a few pieces before I realised I needed to retake the picture.)
And the second item was the Taiwanese beef wrap ($11) – braised beef Taiwan style wrapped in a flat bread with sticky sweet sauce and lettuce.
Dinner came with pickles. I love pickles.
If you’re not into dumplings – who are you?! Erm. Sorry, that was a bit judgey mcjudge. If you’re not into dumplings, Mr Huang Jin also has other options. Mains are around the $30 mark and include things like a traditional beef curry, double cooked duck, pork spare ribs, and sticky pork belly buns.
We weren’t going to have dessert, but somehow talked ourselves into it. Alastair and I shared a scoop of green tea ice cream and black sesame ice cream, which were just okay.
Bro had a red bean pancake with black sesame ice cream. The red bean pancake was really good, with a shatteringly thin and crispy shell and a mildly sweet filling.
Despite the fact that Mr Huang Jin is a bit pricey, I think it’s worth it for an occasional decent dumpling fix. There’s times that call for cheap, trashy, dumplings, and there’s times that call for slightly exxy, quality ones. Happily, there’s room in my stomach for both kinds.
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