371 Victoria Street, Richmond (map)
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. :)
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....
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.
"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!