The dumpling hotspot worth visiting

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Pork and chive dumplings… an old classic taken to a new level, with a side dish of soy and chopped chilli for added zing. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

“Big windows at the front attract passersby, who regularly stop and watch dumpling makers working their magic,” writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

MY last review of dumplings led to an interview on 2CC on the best dumpling places in Canberra, which led to a faithful reader writing to say Dumpling Social is a new hotspot worth visiting. Off we went…

Dumpling Social has a prime possie on Woden’s Bradley Street precinct. It sports a funky fitout and its special vibe makes you want to eat loads of dumplings (which we did). Staff are welcoming, energetic and friendly, and work mighty hard to create joy about the place.  

Big windows at the front attract passersby, who regularly stop and watch dumpling makers working their magic. On our visit, two dumpling masters were pumping out pork and chive dumplings. We couldn’t resist and ordered some (eight pieces, $12.90 and $1 extra for pan-fried). Dumpling Social takes this old classic to a new level and we eagerly dipped each dumpling into a side dish of soy and chopped chilli for added zing. 

Beef and beetroot dumplings… fabulous for flavour and their sense of style – the pastry is beetroot infused and two-toned in colour. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Not content with just one serving of dumplings we also ordered the Xiao Long Bao, delicate steamed pork dumplings swimming in hot, hot soup bursting with flavour (four pieces, $10.90). We also selected the fashionable beef and beetroot dumplings, which were fabulous and not just for their flavour, but also for their sense of style – the pastry is beetroot infused and two-toned in colour (four pieces, $11.90). 

We could have happily eaten dumplings all day but the ‘Social signature dishes’ caught our eye. 

Shandong chicken… sensational, crispy skin, juicy meat and a spiced soy sauce, an exciting combination of flavours. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

The Shandong chicken ($21.90) is sensational. Crispy skin, juicy meat and a spiced soy sauce, an exciting combination of flavours.

Stir-fried Asian greens… a delightful mixture of crunchy snow peas, broccoli and oyster mushrooms – bright, lively and flavoursome. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

To boost our vitamin intake we selected the stir-fried Asian greens, the best we’ve had in yonks. The dish – a delightful mixture of crunchy snow peas, broccoli and oyster mushrooms – arrived piping hot ($18.90). It was bright, lively and flavoursome.

We’ll be back soon for the crispy and aromatic Peking duck served with steamed pancakes ($35.90 full serve and $21.90 half serve) and the slow-roasted lamb shanks in unique Szechuan sauce with smoked cumin seeds ($21.90) and MORE DUMPLINGS, including the Crystal Jade prawn (four pieces, $12.90).

Indulging in desserts wasn’t possible because we were stuffed at the end of our lunch, which we enjoyed on a table outside in the sun. But fans of Nutella won’t want to miss the freshly steamed fluffy bun stuffed with a rich Nutella filling ($13.90).

Dumpling Social is licensed with sparkling, white, rosé and red wines, eight styles of sake, soju, more than 10 beers and ciders and a decent selection of spirits. 

Dumpling Social, Shop R02, 9 Bradley Street, Woden, open seven days.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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