Dumpling King – just what matters exactly?

Opinion about this place in Moonta Street seems to be something like “cheap – really cheap, a bit seedy, not friendly, but pretty tasty”

Well yes, there’s a point here.

First of all you have to face the undeniable fact that the place could do with a once over with a mop, a chux and some spray and wipe. So perhaps if you’re finicky about such things be warned.

Second, the whole, smiling, helpful service thing you might have heard about? Hasn’t reached here yet. I did walk out once when I sat at a table for thirty minutes without being spoken to. This was back in the day when they came to the table to take your order… well they did if the mood took them. Since then they’ve just Sid “Sod it, just come up to the counter and tell us what you want” . Even so the service nowawadays is hardly filled with the milk of human kindness. If you’re hoping for witty repartee or a friendly chat, guess again.

And clearly not much has been spent on creating Ambience, unless they were going for the cheap laminex look. Plastic chairs, metal tables, laminated paper menus… it’s fairly plain.

So what’s to like about the place?

Four of us – two adults, two teenagers – went there Friday night. We got a table pretty much straight away. There is sometimes a wait in busy periods. We ordered:

– steamed chicken and prawn dumplings
– shanghai noodles with shredded pork and vegetables
– Ma-po tofu on rice
– steamed Shanghai mini pork buns
– 2 fried silver thread loaves
– spring onion pancake
– three cold drinks from the fridge and I had the free tea they have in jugs on the table.

Does that look like a lot of food? It doesn’t matter all that much if it does, because the whole thing came to $54 which is what? $13 each including drinks?

And how did it taste? The steamed dumpligs were good. Nice filling and the casing was a bit chewy. My wife and I prefer pan fried dumplings, but my teenage daughter insisted on steaed and when teenage daighters insist….

Still, a splash of black vinegar and a dab of chilli sauce and they were very tasty.

The noodles were really good. Finely shredded pork with bok choy in a tasty sauce that was like Unami on a plate. All with untamable,slippery noodles.

The tofu was interesting. Often ma- po tofu comes with the bean curd finely chopped, but here it was a generous serve of lage cubes of curd with more finely shredded pork with peas and straw mushrooms in a dark sour sauce fleck with unreadable amounts of chilli. Hot, sour, delicious.

My wife recommends the fish ball soup, my daughter says the fried noodles with barbecue beef are excellent, my son loves sucking the juice out of the shanghai mini pork buns (they’re filled with a pork ball and stock. You nip off the edge with your teeth and then suck out the soup. Or you can do what my daughter does and just bite into one and have the soup squirt all over the person sitting opposite… Usually me!)

I would recommend the ginger with shredded pork on rice. Although whether one person is meant to eat that amount of ginger in one sitting is a debatable point.

So really, if your idea of a good restaurant is delightful atmosphere, attentive and helpful staff and fastidious attention to detail, then save yourselfthe heartache and don’t bother with Dumpling King.

But if you can get past the slightly greasy vibe of the place and the unsmiling staff, then try their food and give it a go.

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