A couple of years ago RM and I had a week’s holiday in Shanghai. We ate ourselves silly in all manner of restaurants, with a particularly memorable dumpling gorge at Crystal Jade which is still my gold standard for dumplings worldwide (well, limited to the dumpling places that I’ve tried around the world).

Shanghai Street Dumpling brings a little bit of Shanghai culture to Melbourne. It’s a tightly spaced, no-frills restaurant that specialises in Shanghai style dumplings, mini buns and a plethora of noodle and rice dishes with most dishes under $10. There are queues outside all the time but tables turn quickly.

For a quick and cheap pre-movie meal RM and I shared some of their must-try dishes – the xiao long bao ($8.80), the shen jian bao ($7.80) and boiled dumplings.

The bamboo steamer of xiao long bao contained eight squat little parcels bulging with piping hot soup and a pork filling inside. The skins were variable in thickness – some very delicate, some a little less so. Evidently they don’t use the Din Tai Fung method of weighing each ball of dough to the exact gram before rolling it out, but that’s not to say that the thicker-skinned dumplings were bad. Just noticeably heavier in the chewing.

As for the filling – oh my! Subtle flavoured pork broth swimming with a gently moulded pork mince inside.

The plate of pot-sticker mini buns came out next, with the bases browned and a nice even dough wrapping a juicy meatball. Eat them with the table-top chilli sauce for an added dimension.

Finally, despite the unglamorous name of ‘boiled dumplings’ I actually loved the chicken filling of these dumpling more than I expected. Very sweet, very juicy and perfect slathered in that chilli sauce again.

If you like dumplings, get yourself in the queue for Shanghai Street Dumpling as soon as you can. You won’t be disappointed! After several disappointing outings to old favourite Hutong Dumpling lately, I’m switching allegiances.

Shanghai Street Dumpling, 342 Little Bourke St, Melbourne +61 3 9600 2250

Mon-Sat, 11.30am-8.30pm

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