Whether “dumpling bar” or “dumpling house”, these restaurants are now popping up in every Sydney suburb that shows any hint of a vibrant Asian community.
The Pinnacle is the tallest residential tower by Mirvac and this latest development in Rhodes boasts a large public plaza on street level with a wine bar, hair saloon, large Asian grocer, cafes and restaurants all opening within weeks of each other.
Dainty Dumpling House is the latest eatery at the corner of Mary street and Rider Boulevard, launching its debut with a boisterous fanfare, offering free dumplings to the first customers for the entire year.
The sounds of drums and cymbals fill the air on Rider Boulevard on opening day.
Lion Dance is an important custom for the Chinese who believe this vibrant dance ushers in good fortune and drives away evil spirits.
The al fresco dining area of Dainty is part of the large public plaza at street level and a big crowd is gathering to watch the show.
The owner of Dainty, Marko Li has invited the Mayor of City of Canada Bay Council, Angelo Tsirekas to the launch and they introduce the restaurant’s panda dumplings to the crowd.
Members of the local multicultural association for Rhodes is also out in full force and are enthusiastically handing out T-shirts to the crowd.
Free dumplings for an entire year is like Ribs & Burgers offering a free burger every week for a year when they opened their branch in Rhodes a few months ago.
A long queue snakes its way around as hundreds of people eagerly wait to sample dumplings and noodles.
With a kind invitation from Marko Li since its opening launch, Mysaucepan and I are back here to sample Dainty’s new menu.
Spicy shrimp and pork wonton are soft and come with a tangy chilli oil.
The delicate skin tears with a gentle nudge of my chopsticks, the sauce adding a chilli and sour note to the morsel of pork mince. The easiest way to eat these slippery dumplings is to put one on a soup spoon if your chopstick skills are not up to scratch.
A dumpling meal may not be complete without a serve of xiao long bao. The skin on these dumplings can be more delicate as it is a little thick and firm.
A water spinach with chilli prawn paste is kangkong belachan made ever so popular in Malaysian restaurants. Flash fried in a hot wok, the pungent prawn paste and fresh crunch of water spinach are wafting with smoky wok aromas.
Chilli chicken noodles is fresh and firm though personally, I prefer a savoury taste over a sweet and tangy combination for my noodles.
Vegetarian delight is a refreshing combination of beansprouts, slivers of seaweed, shallots and chilli. The crunchy texture of the vegetables is brought to life with the nutty flavour of sesame oil.
Prawn spring rolls is light and crispy but the one ingredient that sets them apart is the savoury flavour of cheddar cheese. Think crisp Welsh rarebits and I could be back here just for half a dozen of these spring rolls.
Fried rice with three kinds of eggs is fast becoming very popular and rivalling traditional styles of fried rice in many Chinese restaurants. Preserved egg (sometimes known as ‘century egg’, salted duck egg and hen’s egg combine to give a tasty salt complexity to complement smoky wok aromas.
Dainty has a good range of classic Chinese dumplings complemented by popular dishes such as chilled drunken chicken, spicy sour soup, stir-fried noodles and fried rice.
It serves popular comfort food and panda buns can certainly look dainty come to think of it.
So dear readers, do you have a favourite restaurant for Chinese dumplings in Sydney?
ChopinandMysaucepan dined as guests of Marko Li and Dainty Dumpling House. Prices are for readers’ information. All views and opinions are our own.
Dainty Dumpling House
Shop 6 – 7 Rider Boulevard
Rhodes, New South Wales
Tel: +61 423 298 410