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

Shaolongbao

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…

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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