Dumplings Plus

Name: Dumplings Plus
Location: 269 Swanston St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Cost: $15-25 per meal, but dumplings and small eats are under $10
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 8.5/10
Overall rating: 8.5/10

Another rainy night and late dinner with some friends from my local strategy board games club  (A strategic board game called Go/Weiqi/Baduk, it’s  played on a grid with black and white stones.) We wanted a quick hot meal, and walked into Dumplings Plus hoping they would have a table for 5.

They did.

JASMINE TEA
Taste: 5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Stories have a start/ And so do meals. Have some tea./ And then will we start.

We all know what tea looks like. But I like this photo so I thought to share it with you. Hot jasmine tea is just one of those things I have to order at chinese restaurants.

HARGAO (PRAWN DUMPLINGS)
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

My fav'rite dumpling/ Do you dip them in soy sauce?/ Or eat them as is?

Let me think of something to say. Nope, nothing. They’re really good.
SPRING ONION PANCAKE
Taste: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

No snail shapes here/ 'round and round it unravels/ Alas, not tonight

I liked these spring onion pancakes better than the ones at China Red. The main difference is the texture of the dough. China Red’s spring onion pancake was deep fried snail-shape with a less chewy dough. Dumpling Plus is thin and flat like a biscuit, pan fried and has more chew. As more fun it is to unravel the snail at China Red, I like the crispy crunchiness from panfrying.
SILKEN TOFU AND CENTURY EGG
Taste: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Lovely in Summer/ Cool respite from muggy days/ Or from spicy food

Simplicity is underestimated. This is just cold silken tofu cut thinly, and a chopped century egg with some seasoned broth for flavour. It’s a cold dish, but the flavours were clean and it was refreshing after all those hot dumplings and wontons in chilli sauce.
Century egg is a pickled egg. Unlike those terrible vinegar-pickled eggs, century eggs don’t have a strong taste. It doesn’t even taste of egg anymore. It’s just a cola-coloured egg with forest green oozy goo where the yolk was. The colour puts people off, but it is very mild and the texture is delightful. It’s like aspic with just-congealed yolk inside.

PICKLED JELLYFISH IN CHILLI SAUCE
Taste: 8/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

'They are cold noodles'/ Leaps into the taste abyss/ '...made of jellyfish'

Yes, jellyfish can be pickled and eaten. They don’t really have a taste of their own, so it is eaten mostly for its texture and ability to soak up the flavour of the dressing. It’s crunchy like any other pickled vegetable. (But jellyfish aren’t vegetables.) Sometimes you’ll see pickled jellyfish on the side with roast suckling pig. But not with chilli sauce. The sauce is a spicy and sweet, but in no way crippling spicy. (It rates about a 5/10 on my scale.)

Sometimes I like to say they’re like noodles, just to get people to try it. Then tell them they’re made of jellyfish. I am a terrible person.

PORK AND PRAWN DUMPLINGS IN CHILLI BROTH
Taste: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

They are so tasty/ Why are dumplings so tasty?/ Another bowl, please.

Instead of a chilli broth, it is boiled dumplings with a thick chilli sauce on the bottom. These were so good we had to order several bowls, and one more for the person who didn’t like spicy food but still kept coming back for more.
PORK POTSTICKERS
Taste: 7/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Potstickers are great/ Piping hot: don't burn your mouth/ Crunchy crispy base

Eh, they’re okay. I’d order them again because they’re potstickers, and everybody loves potstickers. It gives variety from wontons and dumplings in soup, and dumplings in chilli paste! They’re average for potstickers. The filling is pork mince, ginger, garlic and spring onions, which rarely goes wrong. The panfrying could have been better (some are barely golden, others are dark brown) but when there are a lot of dumplings to be panfried at a cheapish-eats restaurant, I can forgive them for the neglect of small details.
PORK AND PRAWN WONTONS IN SOUP
Taste: 7.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

As light as a cloud/ If only clouds were tasty/ Hm, hailing wontons?

Wontons in chilli paste with soup. The wonton skins are soft and the wontons are juicy. It is much the same as the dumplings with chilli broth but with wontons and more broth.
RED BEAN PANCAKES
Taste: 8/10
Would I order it again?

Crispy and chewy/ It's odd, but enjoyable/ For your sweet tooth friend

Yes.I hadn’t seen anything like this before, so the novelty was great. It is red bean paste (seems to be from a can) inside a glutinous rice pancake, then panfried. The end result is a crispy but meltingly chewy pancake with sweet bean paste inside. They’re moreish.

I’d come back and order everything listed above. Yes, it’s noisy and not the cleanest restaurant I’ve been to, but the food is cheap and tasty, comes out fairly quickly, and hosts a fantastic har gao and silken tofu/century egg dish.
_Dumplings Plus on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Instameal: Mian Ba Green Prawn ramen

Name: Mian Ba instant noodle green prawn flavour
Cost: $0.70
Contents: Wad of noodles, 1 soup base sachet, 1 dehydrated vegetable sachet, 1 garlic paste in oil sachet
Spiciness: 0/10
Taste: Noodles 6/10, Broth: 6/10
Would I buy it again? Yes

What's that character?/Search Chinese dictionary/ Huh, it means... tyrant?

 Classification of ramen packets according to brand is difficult when I can’t read the characters. I could file this series of instant ramen under “Lots of strokes in second character” but what if another Chinese brand has lots of strokes in the second character? Luckily nowadays the blogotubes is full of useful things like kanji dictionaries. The first character was simple enough, ‘mian’ means ‘noodles’. The second one wasn’t as simple, ‘ba’ meant tyrant or doing things through violent methods. Perhaps it’s not as violent as I think it is.

Of course, noodle wad/ Not enough space to show all/ All THREE flavour packs

Dried vegetables/ Always a soup case packet/ Plus garlic oil

What is a green prawn*?/ Hm, it doesn't taste too bad/ Whatever it is

I had been putting this off for so long because it didn’t look like something I’d like. But it turned out to be pretty tasty.

It looks insipid but the broth is actually interesting and I ended up drinking most of it because I couldn’t quite find the words to describe it. It’s sort of creamy, vegetable-y with parsley and dried coriander flavours. Then it tastes like what carrots smell like. I wouldn’t even call it a prawn-flavoured instant noodle because it doesn’t have that MSG prawn cracker taste. It’s seafood-sweet much like clams in broth. Maybe that’s what they meant by prawn-flavoured?
Normally I try to avoid the oil sachets, but I added it into this one because it seemed to important for the overall experience. The broth isn’t greasy, and doesn’t have a film of oil on top. How ’bout that.

*: ‘Green prawn’ might not be an accurate translation. ‘Green’ was made up of two characters, one meaning jade, and the other one …. also meaning jade/green/a type of green bird. Then ‘fresh’, then ‘prawn’. Green Green Fresh Prawn. Maybe the greens refer to the aromatic vegetable flavours.

Perhaps I will review the rest of this instant noodle brand, there are many more flavours. (More beef flavours than I thought was reasonable.)