On Tuesday evening Michael, Jack and Emma were booked in for some soccer at the MCG. That didn't appeal to me in the least, but I was happy to join them for a fast and furious dumpling dinner straight after work. We predictably kicked our order off with 20 steamed mushroom and vegetable dumplings ($6.50) and they were as fabulously munchable as last time.
Birchy's rave on the red bean fried cake ($4.90) had me hunting through the menu and insisting Michael share one with me: this is a crispy fried shell filled with sweet red bean paste. A delicate balance is required between waiting for the filling to cool to an edible temperature and not letting the shell lose its crunch, but the rewards are great. Can anyone tell me whether this is a meant to be a dessert? It's definitely a sweet one, yet it's tucked in the menu amongst the spring rolls and other savoury delights.
Thanks to my own curiosity and a little encouragement from Gin, we also ordered a plate of the vegetarian duck ($3.80). In amongst our other steamed and fried foods, it was quite a shock to discover on my first mouthful that this was actually served cold! That surprise overcome, this proved to be one of the best textured faux meats I've eaten. Though it's plenty salty, I'd love it even more if there were a bit of extra flavour - a couple shakes of Chinese 5-spice powder and I'd be in fake meat heaven.