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With some remaining cravings for all foods Asian since returning home from my European adventures, the sister and I decided to hit up a dumpling joint for dinner one weeknight. Having made quite a splash with diners and dumpling lovers since landing in Melbourne some time last year, visiting Shandong Mama was an obvious choice.
Much like many of the restaurants in the same area, you take one look at the interior and know that you’re in the heart of Asia town. In other words, the interior was very simply decorated, with the occasional token red and gold Chinese trinket.
Spring onion egg roll pancake.
The edges were rather crispy, while the centre tasted like a cross between an Asian pancake and omelette. The let down of the dish was the flavour, which was quite bland and dull. Bring on the soy sauce and chilli!
Dill-icious pan-fried pork dumplings - pork mince with fresh dill, spring onion, ginger, dried shrimps and sesame oil.
There was such a strong lemon and dill presence in the flavouring of the overall dumpling that my taste buds expected the fishiness of salmon to follow. It took a while for my palate to adjust to the combination of pork, lemon and dill, but the playful flavour pairing was a refreshing change to the usual dumpling flavours. It may not be for everyone though; the sister didn’t enjoy this dish in the slightest.
With the wrapper left open, the juices from the filling are allowed to seep out, mix in the pan and consequently add to the flavouring of the dumpling wrapper.
Boiled pork and cabbage dumplings.
Expect a delicious blend of flavoursome pork mince and cabbage, wrapped in a silky light dumpling wrapper. What really won me over was the rich-flavoured soup inside the dumpling.
While noodles, rice and main dishes also make an appearance on their menu, it’s the dumplings that run the show at Shandong Mama. With no shortages of dumpling restaurants in Melbourne, Shandong Mama shakes up the game with their unique open fried dumplings and intriguing flavour combinations.
Shop 7, Mid City Arcade
200 Bourke St,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
(03) 9650 3818