Tuesday 8 July 2008

The Shouting Box, and hooray for Connies

Xiao-Ting Box
371 Victoria Street, Richmond (map)
9428 9588
Cash only

Shouting Box

My love for dumplings - particularly Shanghai-style dumplings in chilli oil soup - is already well documented. Whenever I'm at Camy Shanghai Dumpling, Chinatown Dumpling or Shanghai Village, I simply cannot resist them. When I went to Chinatown in San Francisco last year (largest Chinatown outside of Asia - whoo hoo!) I practically wore my shoes out traipsing the streets trying to find Shanghai-style dumplings.

If you've got that chilli oil dumpling craving but want to get out of the CBD, another nearby place that does tasty and very cheap dumplings is nestled coyly right in the middle of Pho Town (Victoria Street, Richmond). It's called Xiao-Ting Box (when we first discovered the restaurant years ago, my family and I promptly dubbed it 'The Shouting Box') - can anyone translate the name for me? I know 'Xiao' means small, but what does 'Ting' mean?

It may not be the crème de la crème of Shanghai cuisine, but I just love going up there with mates on a Sunday afternoon for a spicy hangover cure - and best of all it's just a short tram ride from my house. :)

Chilli oil dumplings at the Shouting Box

Last weekend I met up with Mum and Birdie (after buying huge quantities of kangkung at Huy Huy - thanks for the tip, Sticky!) and we yummed up some chilli oil dumplings and some steamed pork and veggie dumplings (less than $7 for each dish). Soooo good....

Shouting Box steamed pork and veggie dumplings

On the way home, something lovely happened. I boarded a number 79 W Class tram on Church Street and felt like I'd stepped back in time to my schooldays, as standing before me was a tram conductor! A wave of nostalgia washed over me as the gentleman approached me, the familiar brown leather bag slung over one shoulder.

Tram Conductor

"Where are you traveling to today, Miss?" he asked. I told him, with a goofy smile. "Ah, so a ticket for three sections. In the old days that would've cost forty cents. Here's a ticket from that era, here's a swapcard with some facts about these W class trams, and here's your change - a 1956 penny. It's all free today, Miss." Surprised and enchanted, I accepted the items he gave me with another goofy smile. I looked around the tram and everyone was smiling at the conductor and at each other. As the old tram trundled up Richmond Hill, the conductor chatted cheerfully to other passengers about the history of the tram network and the continuing work of the Connies. Thank you, Mister Tram Conductor: that warm fuzzy feeling stayed with me all afternoon.

Give me a Connie over an Gestapo-coat-wearing Connex Inspektor ANYTIME!

Tram Conductor


Sarah said...

Mmm... I love dumplings!

Lol, it's funny that you call it the Shouting Box. We always used to nickname Pho Dzung "Cock and Bull" because we didn't know how to pronounce the name properly, and they had a picture of a cock and a bull on their window.

xox Sarah

claire said...

Ha! We always call Pho Dzung 'The Chicken and the Cow', but 'Cock and Bull' is a much better name. :)

KittyMeow said...

Lovely story about the conductor. I catch that tram every now and then and have never seen a Connie - nor was I in Melbourne when they were regular on the trams.

And YES they do beat Connex Fuzz - Especially those snarky undercover ones.

claire said...

Thanks, kittymeow! I must say I'm pretty excited about all the hoo-ha in The Age this week about the possibility of conductors returning... how great would that be?!

Anonymous said...

My Chinese is still terrible despite a few months of Mandarin classes, so I had to ask the parents about the meaning of 'ting'. They say it means 'stop', as in bus stop or shelter. So in other words, your Shouting Box means something like Little Stop or Little Resting Place.

claire said...

Thanks for the linguistic detective work, Tashie! xox

P.S the Cumulus Inc review is up today as promised :)

Andy B said...

Why would a Connex "Inspektor" be undertaking ticket inspecting duties on a Yarra Trams service?

Two completely different companies.

Trains = Connex.
Trams = Yarra Trams

claire said...

Andy, sorry for the mix-up. I'm just used to thinking of all of them as Connex Gestapo cos I normally catch the train and see them waiting like vultures on the other sides of the gates at Flagstaff each morning.

Andy B said...

Okays, I'll allow it to pass. This time.

ǝıɥɔıɹ ƃuıʌɐɹ said...

Can you get much cooler than the W?
I just wish they were all free

claire said...

From a Melbourne Gastronome reader:
"Just happen to come across yoru blog about that place. Ive been going there for a few years.

The name Xiao mean "little"

"Xiao Ting" is usually the name of a person. In real life, it could be an actual name, or a form of endearment for someone whos name is ting, like Shazza for sharon."

Thank you, W!

Unknown said...

Hi Claire!
Here Sandra, from Barcelona. Remember? with Catherine at the gallery...
Tonight's been the first night following your recommendations. You know we don't know many places to go out so The Shouting Box has been the first from your list, and we loved it!

Sergio says from now on we won't need to look for a rest guide or so.