Hutong Dumpling Bar
At the risk of flogging a dead horse, there are 76 blogger reviews currently on Urbanspoon for HuTong Dumpling Bar, and by the time this posts, there might be 80. Still – in the interests of creating a food and event diary, I must continue. Plus, I bet none of them are about to start in on the review proper with the line I’m about to use!
So…. a friend of ours has been working in Afghanistan for an NGO and in between getting locked down in her building during missile attacks, and training up the locals in what she does (project management) so they can continue on, she really doesn’t get an opportunity to eat much in the way of dumplings.
We have a bit of a tradition for going for dumplings, getting BYO, ordering plates and plates of dumplings and going home with a similar feeling to this. But, I have a thing against Camy now, and it felt like it needed to be a little more special when you come home from Afghanistan, ya know? Hence, Hutong. The decor is a lot nicer than your typical Chinatown dumpling places.
I had to book, even on a Thursday night – this place gets busy! We saw people getting turned away even as we entered and were ushered upstairs. There are several levels in the Hutong building – I’ve never eaten downstairs, but upstairs there are some large rooms with round tables that can fit around 10 people, which I’ve sat at before for work lunches, for example.
We stuck to the specials on the front page of the menu and ordered a serve of xiao long bao (I wanted to remember how good they could be), a serve of prawn and pork dumplings, chilli oil wontons and pan-fried pork dumplings.
Of the dumplings, I preferred the prawn and pork dumplings – they were not skimpy on the prawn. The other two dining with me liked the chilli oil wontons the best. My second favourite would probably have been the xiao long bao – I love how the soup inside keeps the dumpling oh-so-moist on the inside, and I relish the challenge of not spilling it all over myself.
You’re not going to walk out of here with a $7 a head bill like you do at Shanghai Village or Camy, but you do feel a lot better about yourself and what you’re eating… and the bill was definitely reasonable. I think we paid around $15 each for the food – we tacked on a bottle of wine as well, and then continued with reunion cocktails at New Gold Mountain afterwards. Yum.