The are restaurants and cafes which I visit after reading about it online, and there are restaurants I visit out of curiosity just because they are there. Dumplings Taipei fits into the latter category, a small Taiwanese eatery sitting on the junction of Windsor and Old Northern Roads, a junction where the light is pretty much always red- which gives me plenty of time to survey the area and and check out how busy the restaurant can get during the day- always the first sign of a good restaurant!
Given that the next closest place I can get a decent Taiwan beef noodle fix is some 30 or so minutes away in Eastwood, the idea of having one so local was exciting so instead of spending half the day cooking lunch on a lazy Saturday arvo, we took a quick drive to check out this place.Whilst we had imagined the menu to be mostly noodles and dumplings, the menu offers a much more lengthy selection of Taiwanese dishes and snacks including some not so common options like the Spicy Chicken Gizzard which we ordered. I’m a huge fan of gizzard, because of their unique texture, a firm meaty slightly crunchy texture (as a bonus, they’re also a great source of iron too!) and whilst the texture of this dish was great, we were a little underwhelmed by the quantity and flavour which was similar to that of the chilli sauce provided on the table as a condiment.
We did however enjoy the pan fried pie with pork meat, essentially a much larger version of a potsticker in a flattened bun shape. It’s a bit of an oddity at first, the pie flopping from its weight when picked up, the thin dough not quite strong enough to hold its shape, but we’re sold after biting through the golden crispy casing and into the moist and juicy pork filling.
The Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice is my kind of comfort food, a Taiwanese staple consisting of a bowl of fluffy white rice, topped with a melting tender pork belly stew. Dumpling Taipei’s version is saucy and packed with plenty of flavour from the soy based meat sauce.
The pork and rice is satisfying enough to have on its own, but we couldn’t resist the extra value you get from ordering a combo- for a couple of dollars extra, you’ll get an additional serve of pickles, vegetables and a choice of meat.We opt for our all time favourite, Taiwanese Fried Chicken (aka popcorn chicken) which comes with the signature crunch of the sweet potato starch batter. Unfortunately the oil looked and taste a bit oil, but nevertheless, we did enjoy the flavourful combination of garlic, soy, and Five-Spice powder.
And of course we had to order the Taiwanese Beef Noodles.
The version here is a little different to what we’re used to, the soup less dark and meaty than others I’ve tried in the past, and a strong taste of carrot shines through. The noodles themself appear handmade, not unlike my own home made attempts, a tad uneven in size and a bit doughy in texture. It’s warm and comforting, but I think I’ll stick to Eastwood for my Taiwanese Beef Noodle fix!