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The Great Dumpling Odyssey, Part One: Hung Cheung

Marrickville is a bit of a treasure trove. From the outside it seems all tattered and a bit unloved, but when you really poke around in there you may just find a gem or two. Hung Cheung on Marrickville Road is a bit like that; don’t expect pristine, minimalism or elegant cosy and you won’t be disappointed. This is no trendy secret or fine dining adventure – it’s a local, and if you don’t mind the odd carton of random Chinese ingredient stacked in the corner, you’ll be happy as pants.

Hung Cheung is mostly known for its cheap and cheerful weekend yum cha. As an avid dumpling fan (who isn’t) we toddled along in search of parcels of yumminess. Imagine the heartbreak when it became painfully clear that weekends are when the dumplings are in plenty? Not Wednesdays. In a pathetic attempt to sate our addiction we ordered the one and only dumpling on the weekday menu – prawn, in both its incarnations: steamed and fried. Oh yes.

The fried version had an unusually bubbly but pleasantly crispy exterior. Nice. Onto round two, the big test; the steamed dumpling. There’s nowhere to hide with a steamed dumpling. There are no crunchy fry-ey bits to distract and entertain; if that noodle container is too starchy or doughy or thick or thin you’ll know about it. If the filling is flavourless or it’s components are out of balance or even just not very nice… with a steamer, you’ll always know. Hung Cheung pulled out a cracking good one; soft, luscious outsides and sweet prawn-y insides. 10 points, Hung Cheung, 10 points indeed!

But man cannot live on two plates of dumplings alone. A cold winter’s eve calls for a hot pot. To the table came a vast steaming & sizzling clay vessel packed with eggplant and minced pork. Rich and sweet, it will satisfy all that come in search of something sweet and moorish. Okay, so it’s a little oily, but drain as you ladle it onto your bowl and you’ll have no regrets.

Food at Hung Cheung is for sharing. Ignorant of this information, two of our group ordered the eggplant. I could warn you off so you don’t make the same mistake but then you’d miss out on leftovers for lunch. Who am I to rob you of such pleasure?

Hung Cheung is the first of my Wednesday Dumpling Odysseys around Sydney. The goal is to seek out this city’s best dumpling. I pledge to work hard on your behalf, fellow dumpling lover. I will leave no stone unturned (that I’m aware of, or can be bothered with). For the next six months this odyssey will continue as I hunt and hope to crown a champion worthy of the extra 10 kilos I’m now going to have to work off. I do not by any means call myself a dumpling expert. It is with a cadre of fellow dumpling-whores that this journey begins and so, too, will end. When, by popular consensus, a winner is found, you’ll be the first to know.

If you have any suggestions on the best dumplings in town, please mention them in the comments and I’ll make sure to add them to the list of contenders.

Hung Cheung Chinese Restaurant
338 Marrickville Road, Marrickville (opposite the town hall)
(02) 9560 4681
Open 7 days 9am - 11pm

words: Kristen Hodges


August 20, 2010 at 12:33 PM Anonymous said...

try the crab dumplings at DIN TAI FUNG in the world square building...

August 20, 2010 at 3:28 PM PISTOL said...

Din Tai Fung is good but a very worthy contender is burlington centre, haymarket. 2 of the 5 restaurants there are dumpling joints and worth the visit but in any case, shouldn't it be *you* finding these places....?

August 26, 2010 at 9:38 AM Stellina said...

Shanghai China Nights in Ashfield - hands down!

September 5, 2010 at 3:37 AM Kristen said...

din tai fung is one of my faves... their spicy dumplings are delish. shanghai nights is on the list - so many recommendations for that place!

I'll take suggestions from anyone and everyone! I'm a lazy lazy cow :) but a greedy one so I will visit and report back.


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