HuTong Dumpling Bar, Melbourne

HuTong Dumpling Bar on Urbanspoon

HuTong was one of many on my Melbourne wishlist, and yet we ended up there by accident. On our way from Cookie (for drinks) to Pellegrini’s (for dinner) we looked down an alleyway and saw Flowerdrum, which I knew was opposite HuTong Dumplings. Being a little “bien”, hot and hungry, we turned down the alley and took our chance that they’d have a table for two even though it was 8pm on a Thursday night.
At first the lovely waiter asked us to leave our number and come back in about half an hour – happily, as we walked out the door and up the steps next door to a very dodgy looking (and intriguing!) nightclub, he called! Joy!
We really liked the atmosphere, relaxed but definitely a class above our usual dumpling haunts such as New Shanghai and North China Noodle Restaurant.

HuTong booth

HuTong booths and cool windows

Ubiquitious vinegar and chilli in oil

Beautiful lightshades

The menu was very extensive! We decided on xiao long bau (classic), duck dumplings (new), stir-fried Chinese spinach with ginger and spring onions (a new twist on an old favourite) and salt and chilli prawns (a signature dish).

The xiao long bau are a specialty of HuTong, so I expected them to be good. The tables even had a “how to eat” guide! Cute!

How to eat xiao long bau 🙂

When they are arrived with shredded soaked ginger (just like I’d had in Hong Kong and I made Martha Sherpa’s cooking school) I knew we were in for a treat. I also learnt from Martha that a good xaio long bau, when picked up, should have a heavy bottom and resemble a carnation. They passed her test! And ohhhhhhh how! These were the best I’ve had in Australia. Perfection.

Xiao long bau

The “carnation” test

Mr Black was in heaven! Shortly after we began to tuck in, the duck dumplings arrived too. I love the kind of dumpling skin these came in – slightly translucent and chewy. And the filling! Oh! I adored them! Rich, beautifully cooked tender duck, with just enough spring onions to complement the rich dark meat.

Duck dumplings

Inside the duck dumpling

So far, so great! The Chinese spinach with ginger and spring onions arrived next, but search me (or search the dish) if there was any ginger and spring onion in it! Nevertheless it was beautifully cooked, just not very gingery or spring oniony. Oh well.

Chinese spinach with ginger and spring onion (apparently!)

However, there certainly wasn’t any flavour lacking in the salt and chilli prawn dish! It was HUGE, and literally half of it was deep fried chillies. There were lots of prawns as well I should say and for about $22 it was great value. And delicious, smoky and spicy and salty and sweet (from the prawns)!

Below are the before and after shots – “after” being the dish once the prawns were eaten!

Salt and chilli prawns

Salt and chilli (minus prawns)

By the end of the meal our mouths were quietly burning, but in a pleasant way. And the texture of the prawns were spot-on.

The bill was very reasonable at $90 including tip, espcially considering we’d had a very nice ($30) bottle of NZ sauvingnon blanc as well. I love HuTong!

HuTong Dumpling Bar

HuTong Dumpling Bar

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