The pie-floater is fondly known as South Australia’s state dish, but perhaps it’s time for the humble dumpling to begin its reign. Wonton, matzoh ball, gyoza, pierogi…they come in many flavours, varieties and cuisines – and we’re spoilt for choice. In celebration of OzAsia’s Lucky Dumpling Market, Fritz explores where to find Adelaide’s best dumplings. Caitlin Harvey, founder of Adelaide city-based walking food tour company Feast on Foot, gave us her tips.
“One of the best pierogis in South Australia,” Caitlin says. We couldn’t agree more. In our opinion, fried is best. This Slavic-style dumpling is cooked in butter, onion, breadcrumbs and bacon pieces, then garnished with a dollop of sour cream. And yes, you’ll Polish off the lot by yourself.
Sukhumvit Soi 38
Serving up morsels from the heart of Bangkok is Sukhumvit Soi 38. Everything on their menu is magnificent but special mention needs to be made for the sticky, succulent sago dumplings. They’re stuffed with sweet radishes, mushrooms, and peanuts, then drowned in salted coconut sauce. A show-stopper.
Home to Korean chef Ki Dong Ra, who stands all day behind a Perspex wall and painstakingly but lovingly hand-rolls dumplings. The dumplings are exceptional and arguably the best Korean bites in the city. They’re popular and some varieties sell out fast but make sure you stop by, even if it’s one the last things you ‘doo.
The Salopian Inn
This McLaren Vale restaurant serves up cracking steamed prawn and blue swimmer crab dumplings, wonderful gin and some rollicking good times. The dumplings come with roasted chilli oil and pickled ginger and will set you back $22. It’s not cheap but chef Karena Armstrong doesn’t scrimp on quality. They’re worth it. Hit the underground cellar to pick a bottle to go with your feed. Spend too long down there and a cheerful waitress will give you a stern but friendly reminder to “come eat your dumplings before they get cold!”
Sushi Bar Genki
This fun establishment offers novelties including a sushi train and orders placed by iPad. Their dedication to gyoza, however, is no novelty. They come in pork or vegetarian varieties and you’re likely to slam so many of them you’ll wonder why sushi is included in their businesses name.
Kutchi Deli Parwana / Afghan Parwana
The Ayubi family serves Afghan style street food at Kutchi Deli Parwana in Adelaide’s East End and run their original restaurant Afghan Parwana in Thebarton. Both are full of love, heart, and warmth and it’s reflected on the plate. Grab the mantu (steamed dumplings stuffed with carrot and sautéed onion, topped with a lamb mince sauce and yogurt dressing), or the ashak (fried dumplings stuffed with leek and topped with lamb and yoghurt dressings). Vegetable options are available, too.
The Himalayan Kitchen
Himalayan momo (dumplings) are a taste of home for chef and restaurant owner Bhim Dangal. “Bhim learnt to make momo with his mum back in Nepal,” says wife and co-owner Holly. “It was always one of their favourite dishes to make as a family. The dumpling pastries are individually rolled and can be made using vegetables or with meat. The spicy, flavoursome pickle accompanying the memo is the Himalayan bomb. Time it right (school holidays) and the couple’s daughter will bless your meal using a singing bowl.
Mother and son duo Ewa and Tom Samofal serve meals based on treasured family recipes. Ewa lovingly creates hundreds of the little Polish dumplings each week using fresh ingredients from the Central Market. They are seasoned and served steamed or fried and topped with fried onion and speck or cream.
The Ghan Kebab House
Another favourite from our authority of dumplings, Caitlin Harvey. This surprisingly large restaurant is always packed and the chickpea and lamb dumplings are often overshadowed by the delectably spiced kebabs and spiced rice dishes. Try them with their special sauce. You are Ghan’a love them.
OzAsia The Lucky Dumpling Market
Returning this year with a bang, this time on the Adelaide Riverbank, The Lucky Dumpling Market is OzAsia Festival’s hub and is brought to you by the sinful Gluttony crew. You’ll not only find insane dumplings. The market also offers cuisine from all parts of Asia. It’s a beautifully lantern-lit atmosphere, with DJs, community activations and live music performances from international and local musicians. Speaking to Andy C and Natalie Alexandra from Singaporean group SA ahead of their performance at the markets, we got the lowdown on the good stuff: dumplings. “A personal favourite of mine is the nonya dumpling. Usually filled with fatty meat, chestnut and shrimp,” Andy says. “It definitely has to be steamed.” Natalie prefers the Japanese style gyoza. “Those are my favourites.”
The battle lines are drawn. What makes the perfect dumpling? “Whether they are meaty or veggie, it’s the excellent mix of perfect wrapper thickness, juicy filling, spices, and happiness,” Caitlin says. “Now you have to ask yourself if you’re team steamed or tribe fried? I don’t discriminate, all can play on my palate!”
Catch SA playing at The Lucky Dumpling Market, Monday 2 October from 7pm. The Lucky Dumpling Market runs Thursday 21 September to Sunday 8 October. Monday to Friday, 5pm till late. Saturday to Sunday, 12pm till late. Riverbank Adelaide. FREE
Have we missed your favourite dumpling house? Tell us in the comments below.