Hawker Hall, Windsor, Melbourne

The new venture of the Chin Chin Group, we checked out Hawker Hall on Chapel street for some Asian eats. It’s a food and beer hall inspired by the Singaporean hawkers markets.

There was a 40 minute wait but we happily popped next door to Boston Sub for a cocktail first
(try rumble in the jungle – yummm + strong) in what seems to be a cheap takeaway sub place but has a vibin’ bar out the back.

I don’t think it was even 40 minutes before we got the text and we were over there ready to order. First up, pork and chive wontons in chili and black bean sauce, braised shitake and broccolini in oyster sauce, roti canai rollaed with egg curry sauce followed by the beef rendang curry.

The roti and the dumplings were the stand out plates for me. The curry was beautiful and rich too but we had over ordered by that stage. Oh and the cocktail! Sugary sweet strawberry daiquiri!

They’ve done well to create a hawker-like vibe with the casual fitout and lit food signs down the back. The staff are even in their own casual clothing.

On a scale of great to amazing it’s closer to great but well worth checking out.

Hawker Hall Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Din Tai Fung, Melbourne

What’s a trip to Melbourne without some dumplings?!

I have only ever visited Din Tai Fung in Singapore and was excited to find them in Melbourne. Lisa and I were starving by the time we go there and devastated to find a line up. Luckily then wait was only 10 minutes.

It’s a great system, you get a buzzer to hold until they are ready for you and an ordering sheet. Once called you go straight in, confirm your order and you’re away!

I was surprised at the size of the restaurant, they must be doing well to have a line out the door still!

We ordered the xiao long bao, truffle xiao long bao, water spinach with garlic, spicy wontons, pork and veg steamed bun and some Chinese tea.

I was surprised to find the xiao long bao wrappers were quite chewy and sticky. They held the soup well but were a bit different to what I remember.

The pork and vegetable steamed bun was average at best. No flavour and the bun wasn’t even fluffy.

The spinach and the wontons however, were excellent! The tea was also delightful.

Din Tai Fung Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Authentic Bites Dumpling House, Perth

You didn’t think I could make it to a new state and not try some dumplings did you?

I had read about Authentic Bites Dumpling House in Northbridge, Perth and decided I wanted to give them a go. My thoughts were confirmed when a friend of a friend confirmed it was a great joint.

We had to line up outside, maybe ten minutes. As soon as we sat down we out our order in. Pan fried pork buns, pork and prawn chilli wontons, xiao long bao and choy sum in oyster sauce. Had I known it was BYO at the time, I would have definitely taken a bottle in with me too.

The food came quickly (there were 10 chefs in the kitchen) and each dish was more delicious than the last. The xiao long bao were perfectly soupy, the chilli wontons were full of flavour and the choy sum provided a much needed hit of greens.

Not only was it quick & delicious, the entire meal only cost $37 for the two of us!

Would love to know if there is a better dumpling place in Perth but I have my doubts.

Authentic Bites Dumpling House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dew Drop Inn, Dumpling Haven in Honolulu

I searched high and low for a place with good dumplings in Waikiki or Honolulu with not much luck. The next day however our Uber driver suggested Dew Drop Inn for dumplings and Chinese. After a quick look at the menu online we decided it would be a great place to have our final group dinner in Waikiki.

As most great Chinese restaurants are, the interior was small with older but authentic décor. We sat down and were immediately tended to by our servers.

The nine of us all ordered multiple dishes because the food looked so great on the menu and the dishes were good prices. Plus we could see and smell other patrons dishes coming out – food FOMO insured.

I ended up sharing (so I could try everything) and started with the chicken and chive boiled dumplings which were mouth-watering, soft filled parcels of goodness. Then the xiao long bao (could do with a bit more soup), steamed Asian greens with oyster sauce, these are always a good plate to share and the shanghai noodles with chicken. The noodles were handmade and we couldn’t get enough of them, except for that we were so full! The plates were all huge portions and we could have easily dropped one off between the two of us and still had extra.

I also tried the pan fried pork buns and the pork pot stickers – both exceeded expectations. I could have eaten so much more if my stomach would have let me!

After our meals the owner joined us while we paid our bill, he is a lovely man. The Dew Drop Inn has been going in Honolulu for 17 years! The owner is a third generation restaurateur and his family also owns restaurants in Los Angeles and Shanghai – no wonder the food is good!!

Definitely recommend if you are looking for exceptional dumplings, pot stickers and Chinese food in Honolulu or Waikiki, Hawaii.

Address: 1088 S Beretania St
Phone: 808.526.9522

Dew Drop Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen, Hells Kitchen, NYC 

After the ChinaTown dumpling catastrophe, I thought I would do a little more research. I was in Times Square and had tickets to The Christmas Spectacular off Broadway so didn’t want to go too far. Thanks to google I found a great little place hidden away on 8th and 49th. 

There was a line out the door – always a good sign. Luckily I was dining alone and it straight in past the queue! I ordered the xiao long bao and a house ramen. 

The xiao long bao were some of the best I have had. Thin wrappers, soooo much tasty soup and beautiful pork filling. I could have eaten double. 

The ramen was nice. Good broth and great noodles. The egg was too well cooked though and I wasn’t a fan of the beef they had included. Reminded me more of pho than ramen. 

Go here for the dumplings!

Kung Fu Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Koya Japanese Restaurant, New Farm, Brisbane 

Honestly? Really average.

I wanted to like Koya, I really did. It has all the right elements to be great. Nice outdoor patio, it’s BYO, nice decor, Japanese pop music playing… But the food was a really big let down.

I ordered a green tea (which was great and green tea like) and the chirashi don – basically a sashimi bowl. It’s sashimi, usually served on a bed of warm (mine was cold rice) that has some seasoning it (mine had none) and comes together in a simple, fresh fashion. While a decent serving, the fish was all cut against the grain.

Again it could be really great. Cut the fish right, serve with warm rice with a soy varietal sauce scattered over the rice and ta daaa! Visually very pleasing though.

The pork gyoza and the takoyaki were a win but the beef dumplings were left behind after a bite.

They had agedashi halloumi on the menu, the boys didn’t know what agedashi was and were very surprised to find their tempura battered, deep fried cheese in a mushroom broth. It was cast aside pretty quickly.

The prawn rice paper rolls were good though, as was the beer! Can’t really go wrong with Asahi.

Koya is right by the New Farm cinema and holds lots of potential but has lots to improve on.

Koya Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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