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Review – Dumpling Discovery Tour
Reviewed by Cameron Wilson
I was not sure what to expect from this tour. Obviously the consumption dumplings would be front and centre but this is a three hour tour. What eventuated was a combination of walking tour, a brief potted history of Melbourne and some of the finest dumplings the city has to offer.
The tour was hosted by our friends Walk Melbourne and our guide for the evening was Monique Bayer, the founder. Monique has an informative, relaxed style and our group soon got to know each other as we made our way to our first venue, North East China Family on Flinders Lane. The steamed vegetarian dumplings were a great start to the evening.
We then headed north along Williams Creek (for those not on the tour, now known as Elizabeth Street) to our next stop China Red in Bourke Street. Here pork dumplings were on the menu, ordered via one of the somewhat futuristic touch screen menus attached to the wall next to every table. The atmosphere is quite frenetic here with a busy open kitchen, waiters darting here and there and the buzz of after work conversation. If you have the chance to dine here, pay attention to the sauce that comes with the dumplings, the taste is unique. We asked what the secret ingredient is but alas the recipe is top secret.
Time seemed to slip by and Monique advised us that we were running behind schedule, So we hastened off to our penultimate venue, Shanghai Street Dumplings in Little Bourke Street. Here we tried the Xiao Long Bao, a dumpling filled with a clear tasty soup. There is a technique to eating these dumplings, pick them up with a spoon and bite a small hole at the bottom and let the soup drip into your spoon, and then drink the soup. Dip the dumpling with vinegar and enjoy!
On the home stretch
Onto the final venue and our first taste of fried dumplings. Douraku Gyoza in Bourke Street. We were ushered in to a small, intimate dining area, curtained off from the rest of the dining area. By this stage of the evening we were all ready to sit back and relax, shoes off as is traditional in a Japanese restaurant. It was quite a balmy evening in Melbourne and we decided some refreshments would be in order. So we ordered some Asahi beer from the tap which complimented the gyoza dumplings quite nicely. Note all the venues included tea with the dumplings.
Alas, all good things must come to an end and it was time to call it a night. The evening was genuinely great fun, there was plenty of food – at a couple of venues we didn’t finish all dumplings. It was great to meet fellow Boomers and learn something new about the city I have lived in all my life. Monique is a great host and the food was great. Five out of five for me.
We will definitely organise another Melbourne Walk meetup. They also do coffee and rooftop bars tours. Get in touch if you are interested in joining us next time.
Start time: 6pm, Wed & Thurs nights Tour duration: 3 hours Distance to walk: 1.5km Boomers Club Members get 15% off published pricing just state you are a Boomers Member and provide your membership number when booking your Melbourne walking experience! Max group: 12 Meeting point: Cnr Flinders Lane & Elizabeth St. Outside the Persian Grill.