Dumplings, I’ve grown up eating them :) On my Dad’s side our family originated from Shanghai so we eat dumplings like Xiao Long Bao, probably one of the most known dumplings ~ But technically they’re supposed to be little buns because Bao means buns. While on my Mum’s side they’re from the Canton reason so the dumpling they eat are more like dimsims and Shu Mai are definitely my number 1 favourite!
But I’ve actually never heard of Shan Dong dumplings, and didn’t know that they had their own version of dumplings ~ I first heard about Shan Dong Mama from Ms I-Hua’s blog post about them a few months back and have been dying to go. Laziness got the best of me, because Shan Dong Mama is in the shopping centre in China town, parking is a nightmare and I try to avoid that area at all costs :P
Finally a few weeks ago, we so happened to be in the city catching up with Yue and they once again came to me for suggestions and I immediately said “ShanDong Mama”, especially since they were driving hahaha I called up before but was told that they didn’t take bookings.
Fortunately, they weren’t too busy on a Friday night and we immediately got a table. If you’re a frequent guest of Chinese restaurants you will immediately recognise the bright lights, brown tables and chairs and also super quick service at ShanDong Mama hahaha it’s all about serving customers efficiently so they’ll eat and leave :D
We flicked through the menu and found a good range of dishes and not just dumplings, it also offered side dishes, snacks, rice and noodle dishes but of course no dessert :( We had a bit of a laugh at when we saw this ‘translation’ on the menu ‘Yuro’ and ‘Daryl’, we suspect it’s because it’s too hard for people to pronounce the Chinese translations.
As an appetizer we ordered the homemade smoked spiced fish, it’s a dish that my grandma makes at home all the time, but I know there are many versions of it and uses different types of fish. I’m not really sure what fish this was but for $8, we thought it was a very generous serving. If you haven’t had Chinese smoked fish before, the fish pieces are marinated in Chinese spice such as ginger, Chinese rice wine, soy sauce, star anise and then deep fried in peanut oil. It is then tossed in sticky sweet sauce very similar to those used for the marinade :) This one didn’t feel like it was deep fried instead it was pan fried then covered in sauce. Either way it was quite good, even though Mr Bao thought the sauce was a little sweet.
Initially we wanted the Daryl, but they had sold out so we opted for the Yuro. Still a good choice, with noodles and fish pieces and lightly scrambled eggs through a thick sauce that they called gravy ~ We really liked the flavour of the fish and the chewiness from the black fungus. The gravy was quite thick and I think we would’ve preferred if it was thinner and more like a noodle soup dish instead.
Wanting to try both steamed and pan-fried dumplings, we started off with the Melbourne Dumplings steamed. I was very curious to what filling it will have and how will it reflect ‘Melbourne’ :D Turns out it was a combination of diced seafood, chicken mince with lemon zest, olive oil, parsley and garlic. I liked the diced seafood with prawns, calamari, mussels fish and also chicken but I found the lemon zest and parsley to be a little out of place but still tasted nice.
Another funny name for dumplings the ‘Dill-icious’ pork fried dumplings hehe the filling had pork mince, fresh dill, spring onions, ginger, dried shrimps and a sesame oil. The dill really gave the dumplings extra flavour along with the dried shrimps and sesame oil, was the favourite dumplings of the night.
We also tried the prawn, black fungus and chives dumplings, it tasted a little similar to the Dill-licious dumplings, we liked the black fungus and the replacement of dill with chives instead ~
Both dumplings looked very similar so thought I’ll take a photo of them both together to show you what the filling looks like inside ~ The dumpling skin was a good consistency and not too thick, I also liked the crispy bottom.
That sums our my first experience trying Shan Dong dumplings and it was great ~ We all really enjoyed the dumplings here. I also agree with I-Hua that because there was so much flavour in the dumplings itself, unlike Shanghainese dumplings, we didn’t have to use any sauce like vinegar and soy sauce :)
Shandong Mama is definitely worth recommending to those who like dumplings and want to try something a little different :) It’s also a bonus when reasonably priced, with all this food it cost about $22 per person, just don’t forget it’s a cash only restaurant ~