Shop 3, 254 Swanston Street, Melbourne (map)
There are times when all you and your friends want is an ORGY OF DUMPLINGS. This is the all-dumpling lunch Buster, Will and I had a few weeks ago.
Chinatown Dumpling is located next door to Cookie on Swanston Street (appropriately enough, the one Chinese restaurant in the CBD that has the word 'Chinatown' in its name is technically not located IN Chinatown). It's just as cheap as the infamous Camy Shanghai Dumpling in Tattersalls Lane (to be blogged about soon) - from memory each ginormous plate of dumplings will cost you no more than about $6.50 - but Chinatown Dumpling is cleaner, the kitchen is on display and the staff aren't so unfriendly...
Of course, we always order a serve of fried dumplings. On our most recent visit, we tried the slightly odd-sounding prawn/chicken fried dumplings - the Chinese equivalent of surf n turf, or surf n barnyard, perhaps? They were bloody tasty, and not gritty the way they sometimes are chez Camy.
Next up was my favourite - the dish I am unable to resist whenever I walk into any dumpling house - Chilli Oil Dumplings. Steamed dumplings (in this case, pork and chive) in piping hot broth with a splash of chilli oil floating on the surface. Buster and I basically go nuts every time we order this dish - we ladle dumplings with broth into our little bowls, add healthy dashes of soy sauce, vinegar sauce and lots more chilli sauce until our taste buds are begging for pre-emptive mercy, then pick up our chopsticks and ATTACK! Soooooo good...
We also got some steamed dumplings - we chose the veggie ones, which had mushroom and cabbage in them and were tasty and juicy, albeit with dumpling casing/pastry that was slightly chewier than usual.
We didn't order the Crisp 'Fired' Duck (see below)... might get that next time... :)