183E Burwood Road
Burwood, NSW 2134
You know what was the best? Driving 10 minutes to David And Camy’s in Box Hill for a plate of the most delicious dumplings in Melbourne, and having change to spare from a tenner. Growing up with some amazing dumplings on my doorstep, it was easy to take the local Chinese restaurant for granted. Unfortunately all that changed when I moved to Sydney, and whilst there was some fantastic Lebanese food in my area, I was left bereft of dumplings.
After moving to Homebush earlier this year however, things started looking up. Although the adjacent Strathfield is known more for its Korean food, just another suburb over were Burwood and Ashfield, both of which have a very strong Chinese presence. And whilst I can confirm that the dumpling game at Shanghai Night Chinese Restaurant in Ashfield is ace, I was hoping for something a little closer to home, so it was with great anticipation that I hit up Sydney Dumpling King.
In an effort to get some greenery into the meal, I ordered the classic appetiser/side dish of Seasoned Seaweed, Cucumber, Carrot, Tofu, and Bean Curd Stick ($7.9). Everything you need to know about the dish is in the name, the shredded veggies and tofu seasoned with an umami-heavy dressing of soy and sesame oil. It’s light but moreish, and the portion size so generous it could probably pass as a light meal.
If you’ve never had Taiwanese Spiced Pork Rice ($6, small), you’re absolutely missing out. It is a simple but irresistible combination of white rice, topped with pork braised into a thick, hearty gravy, and a marinated egg. It is China’s answer to spaghetti Bolognese – a timeless meal that’s instantly as comforting and familiar, even if you’ve never had it before.
They have every possible incarnation of dumpling here, boiled or fried to your liking. I was saved the agony of having to choose just one, as they kindly allow you to mix-and-match two flavours per plate. I immediately went for a combination of the classic Pork with Chinese Cabbage ($12.9, 15pc), and the less frequently seen Pork with Chinese Spinach ($12.9, 15pcs). Unfortunately these were pretty run-of-the-mill, the filling lacking complexity, and tasting mainly just salty. It also wasn’t the freshest; whilst it was far from being off, they certainly didn’t taste like they were being made to order.
To round out the meal (I hadn’t expected the portions to be this big – we actually ended up over-ordering), we had a bowl of home-styled Fried Bean Curd with Vermicelli in Pork Bone Soup ($7.5). Now this was a bummer. Despite looking quite promising, it was possibly the blandest thing I’ve ever ordered at a restaurant. It wasn’t bad; it was just… nothing.
I’ll admit, I had some reservations about Sydney Dumpling King from the get-go. Although it showed promise, the menu wasn’t quite the same as the kind I’m used to seeing at those fantastic cheap-and-cheerful dumpling restaurants. And as it turns out, my gut feeling was right. Sydney Dumpling King was decent, but not much more. In fact, the best thing about it was probably the value for money. But even taking that into account, I’d much rather drive an extra 5 minutes to Ashfield and get my dumpling fix there instead.
Rating: 11.5/20 – sydney dumpling squire, at best.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.