People rave about the dumplings at Hutong since they opened a couple of years ago – particularly their xiao long bao. The place is so popular that you need to book if you want to eat there, and they have two sittings a night. For a dumpling restaurant. Insanity! Even crazier – it was my first ever visit there recently.
Celeste was in town for a conference, and a catch up dinner was organised with Haz, Taz, Shellie and Kat. After a billion emails back and forth trying to decide on a dinner location, Taz thankfully took control and booked us into the 6pm sitting at Hutong.
First up: a serve of the famed XLB ($11.80 for 8 dumplings). For a dish that most people visit Hutong for – I hate to say it, but I was a bit disappointed.
Just looking at them you can tell they’re just average – look at that thick skin and how it’s all flaccid instead of plump and juicy.
Sadly, the pan-fried pork dumplings were more disappointing (8 pieces for $13.20). These were quite large dumplings, but the skin was really doughy and the filling was bland.
The wontons with chilli sauce were fortunately much better, though I found the sauce to be on the sweet side.
However, all was not lost on this meal because the non-dumpling dishes were quite good.
I loved the steamed eggplant with minced pork in chilli sauce ($15.80) – tender slices of eggplant in a flavoursome pork sauce.
The stir fried green beans with minced pork in chilli sauce ($15.80) were exceptionally good – salty, still a little crunchy and very moreish.
The pork spare ribs in sweet and vinegar sauce ($22.80) were also great – all sticky, sweet and tangy.
The mapo tofu ($15.80) was pretty good though I always compare *everyone’s* mapo tofu with my mum’s (and my mum’s is the best in my obviously unbiased opinion )
I also enjoyed the spicy Szechuan noodles in soup ($13.80).
And finally, the crispy spring chicken with garlic and garlic ($20.80) was also excellent – crispy, salty, and not at all dry.
While it was a shame about the dumplings, I’m glad that the other dishes were good, otherwise I’d be putting Hutong firmly into the no-go basket. Perhaps I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the average dumplings was an aberration and that they’re normally much better. I’ll test out that theory at some point… if I can ever manage to plan ahead and get a booking!
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Hutong Dumpling Bar
14-16 Market Lane
Phone: (03) 9650 8128