HuTong Dumpling Bar

mainEach dumpling experience I’ve had ends up being a night of adventure and mystery, and this is no different. This is a night I like to refer to as “the Trophy night”

I look at my phone and I see that its 7:13 pm and panic sets in, we’ve been lost in conversation and beer for too long. My friends gingerly finish their drinks as they see me rush them, I quickly call the restaurant to let them know we’re running late, I couldn’t bare the disappointment if we missed out on a table. The staff are always friendly and accommodating in Prahran, a little different to their sister Dumplings Bar in the city which is always hard to get a table.
Like herding sheep with a potato gun I manage to get my friends across to Hu Tong’s, it had been a big week for everyone and the weekend wind up was well in action. My friends hand control of the menu to me, which suits me just fine because I already know what to order.Chilli Wontons

Words can not express the love I have for dumplings… tiny parcels of meat, herbs and veggies that come together in such an awe inspiring way that has me drooling over my keyboard as I type, I’m sure there is a work safe message in there some where…

Soon the table is filled with platters and steam baskets with a culinary array of flavours.
Wontons with Hot Chilli Sauce, Deep-fried Prawn in dry bean curd pastry, Pan fried dumplings, Pork dumplings, Peeking Duck dumpling, Spicy Chicken ribs and my personal favourite Shao-long Bao. It had been a heavy night of drinking to kick off the weekend already so we had a couple of gluttonous rounds of engorging ourselves with these delectable delights. These traditional styled dumpling which span from province to province across china makes the taste and flavours almost seem like a food journey in itself spanning from dumplings from the North, East and South China


The food was winding down but the drinks continued to flow like an ocean, the only thing left on the table was a bed of dried chillies that adorned the chicken ribs we had destroyed earlier. Boys being boys and slightly intoxicated ones at that, an eating challenge was set to eat a tablespoon of the atomic chilli that laid in front of us like a smouldering pit of lava. The deal was set, the first to eat the spoon of death would have the evening graciously sponsored by the rest, and was to be awarded a trophy proudly named “the Danny LaRusso Sweep the leg appreciation award”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Danny LaRusso he is the original Karate Kid…

chicken ribs1

I also offered a side deal to another friend to pay for him to only have half a teaspoon of chilli knowing that his chilli tolerance of a zinger burger from KFC is too hot. He leaped at the deal and spent a good few minutes trying to get the paper like consistency down only to be hit with a burn that had him finish every drink on the table and leap across 6 guys to run next door to the convenient store and smash a 2L bottle of Chocolate Big M. But that wasn’t the original challenge so he didn’t win the already elusive trophy.
Perhaps it was several beers I had consumed, or maybe it was the knowledge that I already had to pay for 2 meals but I sure as hell wanted that trophy!
I took on the spirit of Danny LaRusso and with the soundtrack of “you’re the best around” playing in my head in what could only resemble an 80’s montage I took on the spoon… the dried chilli had a way of sucking up every last bit of moisture in your mouth, making watering it down a waste of time, and chewing was not an option so like a Seagull devouring a chip that is far to big I began to let it slide down my gullet. the heat and pain was well worth it to walk away with the factitious trophy but I like to imagine it looks something like this…

ImageBe sure to wax on, wax off your way to HuTong Dumpling Bar and you to could earn your very own “All Valley Karate Championship” trophy… Sweep the leg Johnny!


The Meatball & Wine Bar

Now to share another favourite of mine… it all started on a summers night while a friend and I decided to go check out Chin Chin, the wait was over an hour for a table but I felt we had to persevere for this culinary delight. So we went in search of drinks to help pass the time and only a few doors down we came across this funky busy little bar which so happened to be their opening night, the decor is dark and grainy, with exposed bricks, built in archways around the bar to really shows the buildings history and character.


Upon stumbling on the menu, nobody should be surprised to find a large array of meatballs and meatball options but what did throw me was they also have home made jerky in different variations from the Samboy (Salt & Vinegar) Ninja (Teriyaki) San Diego (Chilli)… Never having experienced jerky before and the only description that had come to mind was that of a taxi driver sitting on some meat for a month i wasn’t so eager to try it. But I’m so glad i did, I was surprised how tasty it was, not leathery, and quite easy to chew. It really was tasty dried meat!

But that’s not why we’re here, its the all mighty Meatball, and this restaurant really knows who they are. The menu is fun, you choose your balls, and what your balls want to sit on. they will do any combination you request. But because we already had dinner plans we settled for just a sampler. A board quickly arrived with 3 beef sliders with red sauce on a brioche bun… it was a total mouthgasm!

I’ve now been so many times that its now just become a regular thing. Now i had read that they were opening a second restaurant in Richmond and didn’t think anything much of it until i was stumbling around Richmond after a few drinks, and knew exactly what i had to do.Reluctantly we all to soon left for chin chins, only to be haunted by these amazing sliders, so much that i had to return the very next night.


Their new venture is lighter inside, very clean and chic, staff were amazing and accommodating even when they were pushed to capacity. A quick look at the specials board and not even taking in what it was i had to have it. Game of Thrones inspired Meatballs “Winter is coming”… it totally beat all expectations

Surely this would have been the final meal for Robb Stark at the red wedding, Wild Boar & Feasting Duck with Red Ox Sauce on Smash of potatoes and peas, with Long Rib and Red Wine. The only let down was that the wine was served in a glass and not a horn tankard.

But savoury dishes isn’t the only thing they do well here, One does not just go to Meatball, with out experiencing the Woopie-Mac. Simply its ice cream sandwiched between 2 cookies and with 5 ice creams, and 5 cookies to choose from you are only limited by your imagination.


This is definitely not a share option, if you can resist only a bite of these then your will power is far greater than mine, and i look forward to serving you while you sit on the iron throne… These will bring even the cheese platter people to their knees.
And what’s just as amazing is that they also do breakfast balls, and a full take away menu for when you want your balls on the run!

Check out The Meatball & Wine Bar on Flinders Lane and now on Swan St

Sample of some goodness to come!

Tacos anyone?


Well thanks to the gods of the internet a new restaurant/shop stumbled upon my fingers as I was generally looking for inspiration in a sea of great things to do in Melbourne, and what a place this is!

La Tortilleria a small little hole in the wall situated in the industrial sector of Kensington in Stubbs Street, a poky little shop and restaurant dedicated to the all mighty tortilla, and have been assured by one of the partners that this as traditional as a tortilla can get.
I arrived to find myself transported to another world, behind a glass wall, a lady was packaging up the freshly cooked tortillas into bags so I had the great opportunity to purchase a fresh hot batch of tortillas… so it was easy to get carried away when I walked out of there with a kilo of tortillas to take home and play with…

I will have to wait to go back there to try out what they have to offer in the restaurant, but for now I have new vessels to play around with.

So stay tuned for recipes and ideas to come, to go with these amazing tortillas. check out La Tortilleria 

Taco Truck

OK this is the first post for my new blog so this is a tremendous occasion and should be celebrated as such. What better start to this than to talk about the ever so amazing Taco Truck… Wait… What? You haven’t heard of the Taco Truck? Well first of all… shame on you, secondly we need to give you a little background on the Food Van revolution. Made famous in L.A, food vans and pop-up restaurants call upon there many fans through social networks and draw massive flash crowds.

Flash Crowd patiently waiting for their tacos

Flash Crowd patiently waiting for their tacos

The time is 3:30pm on a Wednesday and trolling through post after post on Facebook the ever so hilarious LOL cats and political anarchism has left me bored with life, when I stumble across the Taco Truck’s latest location post for the night. My eyes light up and my mouth begins to salivate as i begin to plot my route for the night ahead…

Today we travel to Mr Wilkinsons Bar in Brunswick… I pull up at 6:45 as I park I can already see the crowd amassed by the Taco Truck outside the pub on a sultry summer evening. The crowd of bohemian hipsters wait patiently some with drinks in hand to help pass the time… The menu for this evening is Fish Tacos, Chicken Tacos, and Potato Tacos.

My mind was made up well before I had arrived, just hoping that they hadn’t sold out already… As I make my order as clinical as if I was in the presence of the Soup Nazi, totally not necessary but in terms of efficiency I am a fantastic customer. The wait time is not an issue when it comes to the taste of these moreish flavour vessels.

Soon enough my name is called and the glorious white cardboard platter is handed to me… My Taco plate has arrived!

Chicken & Fish tacos

Chicken & Fish tacos

2 fresh soft hand made corn tortillas layered with fresh red cabbage slaw, freshly squeezed lime juice, and lightly battered white fish accompanied by zingy poppy mayo with a side of freshly cooked corn chips.
The next decision is always the hardest… to spice up with the Salsa Verde or to go al natural.

Best eaten as fresh as possible but seriously who could wait to stuff these morsels into there gullet.

The fresh taste of the slaw, and crispiness of the fish is welcoming to my pallet, but it’s the mayo and the lime juice that steals the show giving a zingy flavour explosion unlike no other.

With a fantastic partnership of a couple of pots of Kirin from the bar, my night is now complete…

For information where you can find the taco truck and other pop up restaurants checkout