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Dumplings! Here are some pork and pickled cabbage ones

Planning a dinner with friends, my mate M suggested we try “her” dumpling place (she immediately sent me the address and phone number – which she has on speed dial). With a recommendation like that, we promptly headed to North East China Family in Flinders Lane.

Looking through the menu I was surprised to see that it included a range of dishes, not just the highly commended dumplings. Options included Kung Pao chicken, sweet potato in hot toffee (described as “very hot!”), the Aussie bastardisation lemon chicken and fermented soybean cartilage(!).  It is worth noting that these dishes are advertised as “can only dinner”; presumably meaning that lunchtime is a dumpling only affair.

Our hungry table ordered a bevvy of food, with emphasis on the dumplings. We cracked open some beer and wine (its BYO!) and we waited. And waited. And waited.

On a positive note, it gave me time to photograph their crockery:

Nice plate...

On a negative note, my mate C got so hungry she resorted to snacking on an apricot bar that appeared from the depths of her handbag

So hungry...

Eventually the food started to arrive. Firstly, the meat dumplings – we ordered fried beef and onion, fried pork and cabbage and fried pork and pickled cabbage. The fried dumplings were attractively crispy:

Fried beef & onion and pork & cabbage

The pork and cabbage were absolutely delicious, upon spearing them a burst of pork juices spurted everywhere. Hearing us rave about them, my pseudo vegetarian friend M (who eats meat about twice a year) decided to tuck in. She was also impressed with the porky goodness and how flavoursome the dumplings were.

The fried beef and onion dumplings were pretty great as well. Many at the table argued that these were the best dumplings of the night. The flavour of the dumplings reminded me strongly of beef pho (the delicious Vietnamese noodle soup) – I think it was the combination of herbs and onion.

The last meat dumpling to try was the pork and pickled cabbage (pictured at the top of the post). These were (obviously) similar to the pork and cabbage dumplings, although the pickled cabbage added a sourness and punch. I preferred the regular pork and cabbage, although these were still popular.

In fact, everything was pretty popular.

Our vegetarian element arrived, looking very green:

Vegies: vegetarian dumplings and Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce

The steamed vegetarian dumplings were an impressive shade of green and contained a mixture of carrot, celery and cabbage. These were much more delicate in flavour than the meaty dumplings and a good change from all the pan fried-ness. The broccolini was drowning in the sauce, which was heavy on the garlic (but in a good way).

Our final dish was an impressive plate of salt and pepper squid:

Salt and pepper squid

The squid was soft and not in the least bit chewy. The batter was hot, crisp and very very VERY salty. It is at this point that I should come clean – I am a salt lover – I love to add that bit of salt to a dish (though I do taste before I season, I promise!). Even with my love of salt, these were a serious salt-fest. The pieces of squid that I managed to locate that were not as heavily salt coated were absolutely delicious. The rest of them were way too salty, but this did not stop us from making our way through two whole plates of the stuff. It was still seriously good.

So all in all, a successful night out. We ordered way too much food, but it suspiciously all disappeared – definitely the sign of a good meal. As an added bonus,  I didn’t walk out of the restaurant fearing some kind of gastric upset (the Health Department closure of one of my favourite dumpling haunts still strikes fear) – which is definitely a positive spin on dumpling eating in the City!

Details

North East China Family
302 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Ph: 9629 9968

Dumplings $8-9 per plate.
Other dishes range from $12-20.
BYO

North East China Family on Urbanspoon

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5 Responses to “North East China Family – Dumplings!”

  1. Fitzroyalty says:

    Went there last night and ordered almost the same spread as you – it was fantastic. Better squid than Pacific Seafood BBQ House on Victoria St Richmond. Delicious dumplings and wonderful chilli in oil for dipping them in. Also tried the death by garlic eggplant dish and was defeated! Never before have I said ‘too much garlic!’

    • Emily says:

      Yes I was very partial to the squid (so fresh and perfectly cooked) although the salt factor was a bit much. Interesting that they were also a little heavy handed with the garlic/eggplant. Will need to head back there and try some more stuff. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. AndrewS says:

    I only feel compelled to write reviews on food when it’s either really good or really bad. On this occassion it’s really bad. There’s nothing worse then getting salt and pepper squid that’s soft and I found the rest of the food we tried in here to be of the same standard. The worst! Maybe it was good a year ago when you all wrote your good reviews but today the casing was gluggy with dry bits and you can tell the crowd that filled the place just had no idea. Don’t eat here for good Asian food people.

    • Emily says:

      Oh that’s so disappointing! Gluggy, mushy salt and pepper squid sounds disgusting. I have not been back recently… a pity because the salt & pepper squid was so good (albeit quite salty!). Perhaps it has gotten too popular for its own good and quality is suffering.

      Thanks for the comment. If I get back there, I will update the post.

      Cheers
      Emily

  3. Libby says:

    Dumplings that taste like pho? I’m going to give the beef and onion dumplings a go next time. I’m intrigued!

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