Lunar New Year

The Best Dumplings in Sydney

Chopsticks at the ready.

best dumplings sydney
Photo: @lotusbarangaroo

It’s China’s unofficial dish, but in reality, dumplings take on many forms in different cuisines. Whether you call them potstickers or gyoza, have had Xiao long bao or wonton dumplings, there’s nothing more satisfying than biting into a pillowy-soft parcel stuffed with moreish fillings.

From late-night haunts doling out steamed har gow to cheap eateries piling plates, here are the best dumplings in Sydney money can buy.

best dumplings sydney
Photo: @mr.wongsydney

Mr Wong

CBD
When it comes to all things Cantonese cuisine and the best dumplings in Sydney, you can’t swing past Mr Wong. With Chefs Dan Hong and Jowett Yu behind the kitchen and the backing of Justin Hemmes, it’s an institution that constantly doles out quality, but pricey food. You will find, scallop and prawn shumai, king prawn dumplings, lobster and scallop, wild mushroom, and spinach iterations. The banquet options include a dim sum selection to start, which is a great place to have a taster.

best dumplings sydney
Photo: @ dintaifungaustralia

Din Tai Fung

Multiple locations
You can find this Taiwanese chain all around Sydney, including Marrickville, World Square, The Star, North Sydney, and more. They’re best known for serving knock-out xiaolongbao, but one look at the menu will convince you they take their dumplings seriously. Some of the standouts include the seafood dumpling,s mushroom potstickers, vegetarian dumplings, and shrimp and pork shao mai.

best dumplings sydney
Photo: @lotusdininggroup

Lotus

CBD, Double Bay, and Barangaroo
Lotus is a modern Chinese restaurant in Barangaroo, the Galeries, and Double Bay. They also have a few venues under the Lotus name including a dumpling bar at Walsh Bay and dumpling house. The dumpling servings come by the four, and you can’t leave without trying the colourful xiaolongbao with fruit and veggie juices in the dough. You can opt-in for a banquet meal, which comes with a range of dumplings, or choose your own dumplings from the a la carte menu.

best dumplings sydney
Photo: @dumplingsonstanley

Dumplings and Beer

Potts Point
It’s all in the name. Dumplings and beer is a casual eatery where you can get handmade doughy dumplings filled with meats and seafood, and a range of specialty beers. The price is affordable at $9.90 for four soup dumplings and $10 for five pan fried pork dumplings.

best dumplings sydney
Photo: @cattylicious

Chinese Dumpling Master

Newtown
From the team behind Chinese Noodle House, comes Chinese Dumpling Master, a fuss-free eatery on Enmore Road serving piles of Sydney’s most delicious dumplings. It tends to get crowded and loud here, but the vibe matches the signature flavour of their dumpling range—loaded. Packed with flavour, the dumplings here are hearty, cheap, and chewy.

Photo: @ yangsdumpling_australia

Yang’s Dumplings

Newtown and Burwood
This chain originated in Shanghai, where it was known for its incredible dumplings. Now in Sydney, you can get the same famous crisp-bottomed doughy dumplings filled with rich ingredients. We urge you to get an order of the soup-filled steamed dumplings, and the potstickers or wontons filled with a traditional Shanghai medicinal herb. Make sure to dunk each of the silky dumplings in chilli oil and peanut sauce for the full experience.

best dumplings sydney
Photo: @newshanghai

New Shanghai

Ashfield, Chatswood and CBD
New Shanghai is a Chinese Dumpling bar doling out some pretty impressive and tasty dumplings around the world. Its famously long menu boasts traditional Shanghai dishes, which includes a range of dumplings from dim sum to wonton dumplings filled with pork and chive, lamb and leek, and prawn. Expect a higher price tag than most dumpling bars, but the quality speaks for itself.

best dumplings sydney
Photo: @kylie_kwong

Lucky Kwong

South Eveleigh
Lucky Kwong is the latest venue by Kylie Kwong. While you will find plenty of her infamous dishes, particularly cuisines from her life, there are a handful of dumplings that need mentioning. The steamed prawn dumplings here are beautiful silky parcels, dressed in Sichuan chilli dressing and Jiwah native bush mint. They’re the star of the show and a great way to start any Kylie Kwong meal.

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Lunar New Year

This Mullet Roe Spaghetti Is an Umami Bomb Perfect For Lunar New Year

Win Son founders share their version of Taiwanese American cuisine in a new cookbook.

Photo by Laura Murray
Photo by Laura Murray
Photo by Laura Murray

The story of Win Son-the acclaimed Taiwanese American restaurant and bakery located on opposite corners of the intersection between Montrose Ave and Ave of Puerto Rico in Williamsburg, Brooklyn-really begins in the adjacent neighbourhood, Bed-Stuy. That’s where cofounders Trigg Brown, the chef behind Win Son’s experimental Taiwanese flavours, and Josh Ku, a former property manager turned restaurateur, first met at a backyard barbecue.

Ku and Brown’s friendship blossomed over stir fried garlic chives (otherwise known as flies’ heads) and other Taiwanese delicacies that Ku grew up with and introduced to Brown. Their trips to Taiwan solidified this partnership, where they enjoyed gooey oyster pancakes and steamed turnip cakes in Tainan, where Ku’s mom resides.

All of their experiences have culminated into not only a prosperous restaurant and beloved bakery cafe, but a new cookbook. Win Son Presents a Taiwanese American Cookbook, written in partnership with expert Cathy Erway, details Win Son’s meteoric rise, Ku and Brown’s storied backgrounds prior to becoming restaurant owners, and the state of Taiwanese food in America today with Taiwanese food experts’ commentary woven throughout.

“We’re held in the same creativity and reiteration that Taiwanese food culture already has within itself-it’s just our version of that, a blended culture based on our experiences and upbringing,” Ku says. That upbringing includes Ku’s Taiwanese church group he was raised in in Long Island and Brown’s childhood spent in Virginia.

One of the goals both Ku and Brown have when it comes to their restaurant-and now their cookbook-is educating customers about Taiwanese food, and subsequently Taiwanese American food. That also means controlling their own narrative and refusing to be boxed in.

“Our food is the impression that Taiwan has made on us and our friendship,” Brown explains. “It’s not soul food, it’s not street food-we consider ourselves Taiwanese American.”

The book certainly includes classic Taiwanese dishes, with recipes for beloved lu rou fan and beef noodle soup, but leaves room for reinventions.

A dish that feels particularly experimental is Brown and Ku’s take on wuyuzi mian, a tangle of noodles that features its namesake wuyuzi, or cured mullet roe, grated on top that is sometimes enjoyed during Lunar New Year. On a trip to Tainan, the pair, along with Ku’s mom, stumbled across a store that specialized in wuyuzi. Upon further inspection, Brown recognized wuyuzi as a familiar ingredient he’d cooked with dozens of times: bottarga, or cured fish roe.

“I was like, ‘What the fuck? Is that bottarga?'” Brown laughs. “It’s a sun dried mullet roe and that was such a cool silk road, cultural exchange moment for me.”

At Win Son and in their cookbook, instead of using the standard Taiwanese noodles to prepare wuyuzi mian, Brown’s version-partially inspired by Sicilian spaghetti con la bottarga-calls for thin spaghetti. Brown describes the dish as an “umami bomb” and pairs the briny grated mullet roe with garlic, sesame oil, white dashi, and a crown of cilantro, chiffonade shiso leaves, and Thai basil.

Ku’s first taste of the dish blew his mind. “In my mind growing up and seeing [wuyuzi] in Taiwan, I was absolutely disgusted by it,” Ku explains sheepishly. “All I wanted was cheeseburgers. But seeing it used in a delicious pasta, it’s just full circle. It’s a perfect dish.”

Ultimately, Ku and Brown want readers to appreciate the ingredients and storied history of Taiwanese cuisine while also recognizing the cultural melting pot that makes up the island nation. “I’m already white, I’m not going to bastardize this food anymore,” Brown jokes, before getting serious. “Do the homework, learn about the ingredients. Food tells a really fun story if you just take the time.”

Wuyuzi Mian Recipe from Win Son Presents a Taiwanese American Cookbook

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 1 pound (455 g) spaghettini or thin spaghetti
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) plus 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) plus 1 tablespoon shiro dashi
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) House Chili Oil (page 258), or your favourite chili oil, such as Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, both stems and leaves
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 roe sack or 12 ounces (340 g) wuyuzi or bottarga, grated
  • ½ bunch Thai basil leaves, sliced to wide ribbons
  • 12 leaves shiso, sliced to wide ribbons
  • Red chile flakes, such as gochugaru or Sichuan chile flakes (optional)
  • Toasted white sesame seeds (optional)

Directions
1. Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghettini until just under al dente, as the noodles will finish cooking in the sauce, and drain, reserving 2 cups (480 ml) cooking water.

2. In a large sauté pan, combine the 2 cups (480 ml) reserved water with the sesame oil, garlic, shiro dashi, chili oil, and cilantro. Heat to medium-low and swirl the pan occasionally for 1 minute, or until very fragrant. This is to “bloom” the ingredients and infuse the liquid with them. Do not let it come to a boil or start to smoke. Remove from the heat.

3. Add the slightly undercooked pasta, the butter cubes, and half the grated wuyuzi. Turn the heat back on to medium and toss with tongs to mix thoroughly. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are cooked to al dente and the sauce has thickened and turned milky rather than translucent. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if desired. Transfer the pasta to four serving dishes. Garnish each serving with handfuls of the basil and shiso, then top with the remaining grated wuyuzi. Finish with the chile flakes and/or sesame seeds, if using, and serve immediately.

Recipe excerpt from the new book Win Son Presents A Taiwanese American Cookbook by Josh Ku and Trigg Brown with Cathy Erway. Text copyright © 2023 by Josh Ku, Trigg Brown, and Cathy Erway. Photographs copyright © 2023 by Laura Murray. Published by Abrams.”

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Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer of food & drink at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.

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