One Friday night, I tagged along with Haz to a fashion event. The sparkling wine was free flowing, there were people dressed in strange outfits, pretty people were having their photos taken, but guess what?
There was no food.
I don’t know why I was surprised – it was a fashion event.
After the event, we were both quite hungry, so Hazzie’s suggestion of dumplings at ShanDong MaMa sounded perfect. Better than perfect.
ShanDong MaMa is a family run business tucked away in Mid City arcade in Chinatown, between Bourke and Little Bourke Street that serves dishes and dumplings from the Shandong Province in China.
There was a brief wait for a table, and by the time we were seated we were starving and ready to eat all the things.
I let Haz do the ordering since she had been there before. Her first suggestion was a serve of the pan fried chicken dumplings ($10.80 for 10). These were filled with chicken mince, ginger, black fungus, shepherd’s purse herb, dry shrimp and sesame oil.
The dumplings are folded deliberately into that shape so the juices can run out while they’re cooking. And the verdict? They were really good with a juicy, tasty filling and crisp bottoms on the dumpling skins.
We also had ShanDong MaMa’s famous boiled fish dumplings ($14.80 for 10 dumplings). These dumplings are made from a traditional recipe from the coastal city of Yan Tai and contain mackerel, coriander, chives and ginger. The filling is hand mixed, giving the fish a mousse like texture.
There’s been lots and lots of raves about these dumplings online, but honestly they didn’t actually appeal to me. There was something about the texture of the filling with the texture of the dumpling skin that put me off. The flavour was fine and I’m pretty confident I would have loved them with a pan fried skin, but with the boiled skin it was like bland texture on bland texture.
It is one of those weird personal taste things.
In addition to the dumplings, we shared a bowl of cabbage and jellyfish salad ($6.80) containing shredded wombok and strips of jellyfish. This was brilliant – I loved the two different crunchy textures of the cabbage and jellyfish in the very tart, sesame oil dressing.
On the specials board was an egg and zucchini pancake ($6.80). Wowsa, I wasn’t expecting the level of deliciousness that arrived. It all seems very simple – shredded zucchini and chives cooked with egg – but the egg mixture was all puffy and slightly crisp on the edges.
Four dishes including a glass each of Eight Treasure tea and… we were full. Despite eat all the things, we didn’t manage to eat all the things, and Haz took the remaining dumplings home for Gaz.
With the quality and range of dumplings available, ShanDong MaMa is on another level to most of the other dumpling houses around town. I know that I’ll be back soon to eat my way through the rest of their dumplings. What a hard life.
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Mid City Arcade
Shop 7, 200 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9650 3818