MELBOURNE | When it comes to the best Melbourne dumplings, there’s no shortage of quality all over town. Chinese dumplings are the first thing that come to mind for many when dumplings are mentioned, but the reality is that dumplings, when you think about it, form part of many cuisines around the world.
At its core, a dumpling is simply a small piece of dough that is either wrapped around some other ingredients, or mixed with other components. A few years ago, I wrote an article on the topic titled “The Best 65 Dumplings Around The World“.
Having said that, I know that if you’ve found your way to this article, you’re probably looking for Chinese-style dumplings, so I’ve restricted my list of best Melbourne dumplings to Chinese ones.
My list, updated as at late 2021, reflects my experiences eating dumplings in Melbourne. I’ve placed them in alphabetical order, and to me they’re all worthy of being called the best Melbourne dumplings.
What’s your favourite kind of dumpling? Are any of your favourite spots listed below? Are there any places that you think should be on the list?
Shanghai-born David Zhou started his namesake restaurant, David’s, in 1999. The focus is on refined, honest, Shanghainese Benbang cuisine. The menu covers a wide range of dishes, and the dumplings are a highlight. The classics are all great, but special mention has to go to the mapo tofu dumplings served with Szechuan Pepper Sauce. Visit on weekends for unlimited yum cha sessions.
David also owns Oriental Dumpling House, which have locations in Prahran and in the CBD.
Din Tai Fung
Don’t let the fact that Din Tai Fung is a global chain dissuade you from visiting. The dumplings are made fresh to order, and are reliably consistent and delicious. I’ve eaten here many times over the years, often with groups of friends, and have always had an enjoyable meal and fun time.
This local’s favourite has two outposts. The original in the CBD, which opened in 2008, and newer spot in Prahran. Both Hutong locations offer diners an assortment of Chinese dishes, with a focus on dumplings. The xiao long bao are considered by many to be the best in town. The spicy wontons and assorted pan-fried dumplings are top notch too.
Kwan’s Dim Sim
This Box Hill Yum Cha favourite offers a wide assortment of dumplings to feast on. Come hungry when you visit Kwan’s Dim Sim, as you’ll want to order all of the things. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but don’t leave without trying the scallop & prawn siu mei.
Secret Kitchen is another Melbourne Yum Cha favourite. There’s locations in the CBD, Glen Waverley, Chadstone, and Doncaster. All offer an excellent all ’round menu, and the dumplings are a highlight. The assorted Seafood Dumpling Soup, which gets you scallop, prawn, sea cucumber, shark fin, abalone, and bamboo pith dumplings, is a must.
The point of difference at ShanDong Mama is their focus on the seafood dumplings of China’s Shandong Peninsula. You have to try their signature mackerel dumplings. Whipped mackerel blended with coriander, ginger and chives. Try both the boiled, and pan fried versions.
There are a few locations of Shanghai Street in the city, and you’ll often find a small line outside each of them. While they’re admittedly not as consistent as when it was the one outpost manned by the owners who were also making the dumplings, I’ve always had an enjoyable feed here. Come for the xiao long bao, and stay for the other Shanghainese dumplings.
Another Shanghainese Melbourne dumpling options is Yulongfu. Husband-and-wife team Yong and Emily Liu’s dumplings are made using recipes that have been in the family since 1904, and form the backbone of an extensive menu. The three signature dumplings are all excellent – pan fried pork buns, steamed black truffle and pork xiao long bao, and chicken and prawn wonton soup.
Have you tried any of these best Melbourne dumpling restaurants before? Check out my Melbourne City Guide for more tips on where to eat and drink, and what to do in Victoria’s bustling capital.