Hu Tong Dumpling Bar (lunch), Melbourne CBD

Yuye and I went to Hu Tong for lunch the other day after dropping off our passports at the Chinese Consulate for visa applications. It was almost 2:30pm when we called to make the booking and we were told no bookings after 2pm and 3pm is when the kitchen closed. After hearing that, I drove like a maniac into the CBD (hoping there were no police around…) and just made it into the restaurant at 2:45pm. While we were gawking at the lunch menu, a number of customers walked in and were politely refused entry, this is when I laughed silently to myself thinking "lucky I made it" :D I am so evil.

The lunch menu consisted mainly of yumcha style dumplings and noodles. As we were both soooo hungry, we ended up ordering 3 sets of dumplings, xiao long bao and a noodle dish. I thought it would be too much food but it was just right. There is also a fishbowl like kitchen (just like China Red, also part of the Hu Tong empire as well as Din Tai Fung in Sydney) where patrons can watch the great chefs at work while they wait for their food.

We tried their money bag (石榴包 shi liu bao) at $6.80 for 3, and I must say, the first impression I had was 'gosh they're small'. Maybe because it was 3pm and these were steamed a long time ago but they looked shrunk, small and sad. Nevertheless, we ate them and they tasted good. The ingredients inside were diced snow peas, carrot, ham, mushroom and minced prawns. There were too many flavours inside that my tastebuds didn't quite know which one to focus on.

We also got the duck meat dumplings (鴨肉餃 ya rou jiao) 4 for $6.50. Yuye and I both loved these dumplings, they had a rich aroma that was distinctly duck with carrots and other veggies. I couldn't quite pick out what the other veggies were but it seemed like celery and shiitake mushrooms (I quite possibly am wrong about this). This dish is probably my second favourite of the day (after the xiao long bao :D).

The third dumpling dish was the steamed garlic chive dumplings with minced prawns (蒸韭菜餃zheng jiu cai jiao) $7.00 for 4. I've never had bad garlic chive dumplings and this was no exception. Garlic chives has this herby flavour that is really pleasant, although can give you bad breathe. My parents grow them at home :). These came in nice sizes as well.

Next came our xiao long bao (小籠包), also known as Shao Long Bao on the Hu Tong menu - there were 8 pieces for $9.80, what value! Compared to the ones we had at Din Tai Fung, Hu Tong's were comparatively bigger in size with a thicker skin and larger filling. In terms of soup they were about the same (close to one spoon) and both were absolutely delicious. I couldn't really decide which one I liked more as they were fairly different. As the skin was thicker, it didn't break when I picked it up and had more of a chew to it. So scrumptious!! I could have eaten all of them by myself. :D

The last thing we had was spicy beef noodles in Sichuan style broth. Like TummyRumbles mentions on her post, it is what is known as Dan Dan Noodles (擔擔麵 dan dan mian). It was only one chilli on the Hu Tong menu so I thought I was safe to get it. Only now did I realise, maybe I wasn't that much of a chilli eater. To me, the chilliness was about 2-3 chillies equivalent. :( My mouth was on fire as I put mouthful after mouthful of the delicious noodles and soup into my mouth, but after a while, I couldn't do it anymore. Yuye also found it a bit too chilli. I think next time, I will stick to a non-spicy dish or maybe ask for less chilli. :S It was still a nice dish though!

As the store was closing by the time we got the noodles, we had to eat in a hurry (this didn't help the chilliness…) and ended up paying before we even finished the meal. We rushed outside with sweat dangling off our foreheads and a happy stomach. :) Happy wallet too because it was fairly cheap!

Overall, it was a great (although rushed) meal. The dishes were cheap, authentic and delicious. Remember, get in before 3pm if you want to taste some of Hu Tong's lunch goodness. :)

Hu Tong Dumpling Bar
Phone: (03) 9650 8128
14-16 Market Lane, Melbourne 3000

HuTong Dumpling Bar on Urbanspoon

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  1. I really like the dumplings I had there which were the won tons with chilli sauce! They were SO good! :D

  2. @Not Quite Nigella, I haven't had that dish at Hu Tong yet but I did have it at China Red and that was beautiful, I expect they'd be similar since they're from the same company. :) Will try it next time I'm at Hu Tong!