Dumpling club resumed at the Bun Hut (563 Dominion Road, Balmoral) for May. This was a last minute change of plans, after I tried to book a table at San Bao only to find out from a very apologetic staff that they are shut for Tuesday lunch. (As an aside, isn’t it refreshing to have restaurant staff who feel your pain?). So, Bun Hut got moved up the club list.
I had tried to call them several times to make a booking to no avail but luckily, there were no crowds on the Tuesday afternoon that the group of us pushed through the door.
I am always amazed how these little Chinese eateries manage to fit so many options onto their menu; we considered 26 entrees, 17 types of dumplings, and dozens of other dishes. Bun Hut serves mainly what is considered to be ‘xiao chi’, its literal translation is ‘small eats’. To be fair, ‘xiao chi’ can actually be quite substantial dishes, – my interpretation is anything that doesn’t have to be eaten with white rice is basically categorized as snack food. Perhaps that’s why Dad never considered noodles to be ‘proper’ dinner food.
Okay, back to Bun Hut. They are obviously known for their dumplings as each table is set up with the usual dumpling condiments, – dark vinegar, soy sauce and chili oil. There are also interesting looking dishes in the display cabinets, – cold cuts, a dessert called lucky cake (glutinous rice with red bean paste) and various pancakes.
Our mission was to sample their (boiled, not sure if they will steam or fry these) dumplings; we chose the ubiquitous pork with chives ($8 for 20), pork with green bean ($9) and pork, shrimp and egg ($10). My favourite was the traditional pork and chives, juicy pork with a good balance of the slightly garlicky chives. The dumpling skin had a good homemade quality, not too thick and just the right amount of bite.
We also sampled their Tianjin pork baozi/buns ($3 for 5), which had good, chewy texture.
A tasty discovery was the fried shredded pancake with pork ($8). What a fantastic idea, – the pancake was made even more savoury with cabbage and pork pieces.
This was by far the cheapest Dumpling Club so far, we each paid a princely sum of $6 for a filling, tasty and satisfying lunch.
Update: Another Bun Hut is now opened in the CBD!
Bun Hut (Balmoral branch)
563 Dominion Road, Balmoral
Ph: 09-638 8898
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Bun Hut (Victoria branch)
Lister Building, 9-17 Victoria Street East
Mon-Sat: 8am – 7pm. Closed Sundays.