What to say about Hutong Dumpling Bar…except…just go and experience it for yourself. That’s it! This post should end here. But before I go let me tell you that if you are used to the usual run of the mill dumplings that get served up around Chinatown then do not expect them here.
For start the Shao Long Bao, which is traditional East China fare, is truly exceptional. For those that are not privy to the nature of these dumplings, proceed with caution – they contain a soupy liquid that will explode (in a good way!) when bitten into. So much so, you have to approach with care and pierce a small hole in the dumpling, from which you can slurp the juice out . Trust me it is delicious – I was immediately hooked.
A fellow foodie got me onto the Szechuan style - Wontons in Chilli Sauce, and once again these little gems were fantastic. The chilli oil is just right and doesn’t blow your head off, and the wontons are tender, thanks to the perfectly cooked thin skins. Ahhh satisfaction…I found a new dish to add to the list of favourites at Hutong.
And vegetarians need not despair as the delightfully green Boiled Dumplings Stuffed With Spinach, are sure to please – even this carnivore loved it! To get a little bit more veg on your plate you cannot go past the Claypot Eggplant in Szechuan Sauce – (“Eggplant” how could I resist)
I read somewhere (probably on someone’s blog) that there are not too many places where they serve good fried rice – well sadly, you can add Hutong to that list. The vegetarian fried rice, although donned with “wok breath” still fell short of hitting the mark, with terribly undercooked rice. Don’t even bother with the “special” fried rice, as there certainly is nothing special about it. Stick to steamed rice, if you must, as it definitely appears that Hutong’s strengths are in their dumplings and other dishes – after all it’s not called Hutong “Rice” Bar.
The service is a little better than expected with waiters frequently topping up your pot of green tea and hovering around the fairly busy lunch time crowd. If you have time stop and have a look at the open dumpling station, where the experts turn dough and filling into edible works of art. As mentioned it does get busy so be sure to book ahead.
Oh, and apologies for the lack of more photos...I was too busy feeding my face and the pictures that I did take were blurry!!! I will put more on next time I go there - which will no doubt be soon!