Dumpling Pizza, I found out where Moonee Ponds was for you. It’s real love.
The first time I heard about you was in an article on Three Thousand. I instantly fell in love with the idea of you. You sounded like the ultimate hybrid food. Dumplings: tick. Pizza: tick. How can dumpling pizza not be anything but perfection squared?
However, I was aware that sometimes two delicious foods smooshed together cancel out the deliciousness of each other and you’re left broken-hearted with a gross sauce all over your hands, questioning how a donut burger could ever work in the first place. I’ve been burnt by hybrid food love before. But love isn’t rational.
I knew my expectations for you dear Dumpling Pizza were impossibly high. But I didn’t lower them. No way, not for you. Not ever.
Love needs a witness. Or eight. So I got some friends to come along for the ride to Golden Chef Cooking Chinese restaurant in Moonee Ponds.
Feeling anxious that this place won’t produce the highlight of my culinary life. Come on dumplings pizza! pic.twitter.com/tAv6MzqQDe— Emily Naismith (@emilynaismith)August 10, 2014
I was anxious. But also glad the dish of my dreams was so prominently featured on the exterior. This was definitely the place.
So what if the restaurant was empty bar two people who left 10 minutes after we arrived? I pushed my doubts aside.
So what if the vibe was so intensely awkward due to the lack of background music and the presence of lighting that probably tipped towards UV on the spectrum? I pushed my doubt aside.
So what if the waiter took 10 minutes to take our orders and looked like he was having a panic attack as he read them back to us because I ordered my Sprite out of turn? I pushed my doubt aside.
I ordered a medium combo dumpling pizza. You could choose between combo (pork, prawn, chive & vegies), chicken (with chive and vegies) or vegetarian (mung bean noodle, vegies and mushrooms). Some of my friends are such geniuses, they went a half-half pizza. That’s why we’re friends.
The Dumplings Pizza arrived.
The medium combo dumpling pizza
Half way through a half chicken, half vegetarian dumplings pizza.
Yes I ordered it in a take away box for the photo, even though we ate in. I WAS A LITTLE EXCITED, OK?
Dumpling Pizza does not come with a manual. But it does come with chopsticks. So I worked it out.
There is a light batter (like a super thin pancake) that sits on top of the dumplings, holding them all together. You pierce this with your chopsticks and pick up a dumpling. As this stage, it’s pretty much like eating a dumpling. In fact, exactly like eating a dumping. But they’re excellent dumplings. Hand made with a lot of filling stuffed in. I tried all three and my favourite was the combo. Good juicy prawn bits inside. The dumpling casing was soft, but not gluggy or too thin. It was pretty much the perfect dumpling. You get a vinegar-based dipping sauce and a chili one too.
The taste is one thing. The physics of the thing is another. It was engineered with the same kind of precision you’d expect/want an aeroplane to have. The genius chefs did not just slap a lot of dumplings together to make a circle… No. That would be too small. They actually created a smaller circular dumpling to be the centrepiece, and fanned the rest of the normal shaped dumplings around the circle. Like how a flower’s petals extend from the stamen, if you will allow me to use Year 8 Biology terminology.
I ate my medium dumpling pizza. Then I ate half of my boyfriend’s dumpling pizza. Then I ate the dregs of my friend’s dumpling pizza. All the flavours were great, but in order of preference I liked the combo, then the chicken, then the vegetarian.
In total I ate more than the size of a large pizza, which is 20 dumplings. Three Thousand said "under no circumstances go large alone". I’m here to tell you to fucking follow your heart and go the large. The dumpling pizza has a lot of love to give, and you’d be rude to turn it away.
You taught me a lot dumpling pizza. You taught me about engineering, where Moonee Ponds was and that it’s possible to have damn high expectations and walk away actually happy.
I’d take you home.
(Because they do take away too, but mainly because I’m in love with you.)