Thursday, September 12, 2013

Shandong Mama

September 6, 2013


Every so often Melbourne goes crazy for a new dumpling place, with rave reviews turning up wherever you look. We usually tune the hype out - so much of it is about new ways to do pork dumplings or similarly meaty inventions. So when the internet went crazy with love for Shandong Mama and their mackerel dumplings, we filed it away as a place investigate one day, but without any real priority. And then Hayley sorted us out with this giddy review of the veggie dishes on offer and it went straight to the top of our list.

We've been there twice for late weekend lunches, having no problems getting a table on either occasion. I understand things get a bit more hectic during workday lunches and at dinner time, so you might need to a while if you're after a more conventional meal time.


The menu has a reasonable range of well-labelled vegetarian dishes, but we followed Hayley's advice and looked past the noodles and the garlic broccoli and just went with two dishes: the dumplings and the scallion pancakes.


There's only one vegan dumpling option - boiled dumplings with zucchini, tofu, black fungus, coriander, rice noodles, ginger and garlic ($10.80 for 12 dumplings). These are beautifully made little pockets of freshness, with the zucchini light and a bit sweet - probably the best veggie dumplings we've tried. Of course everything is more delicious when it's dunked in your own combination sauce of chilli, vinegar and soy. On both visits we've shared a plate of these and Cindy has seen the desperation in my eyes and given me an extra dumpling. I think next time I'll need a whole plate to myself.

As good as the dumplings were, they were outshone by the scallion pancakes ($6.8 for 2).


Look at them! They're swirls of doughy deliciousness with just the right combination of crispy fried bits and softer sauce-soaking-up bits. Incredible.


Shandong Mama is a fantastic addition to our CBD dining options - this light lunch set us back less than $20 for two brilliant dishes. The service is friendly and efficient (although we did wait a while for our scallion pancakes both times - they must take a bit of prep) and the vibe is low-key and relaxed (at least at 3 in the afternoon). We'll be back.
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There were a few dissenting voices, with Sweet and Sour Fork, Peach Water and Footscray Food Blog not really loving it.

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Shandong Mama
200 Bourke Street (down the arcade)
9650 3818
veg dishes $3.80 - $14.80
Facebook page 

Accessibility: Shandong Mama has a flat entryway and, although we thought it looked crowded, we witnessed a customer in a wheelchair enjoying a happy solo lunch here. You order at the table and pay at a low counter.  We didn't visit the toilets.

10 comments:

  1. Mmm, the scallion pancakes look delicious! I love it <3

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    1. Hi Amanda! That pancake is so great.

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  2. HOW AMAZING IS THE SCALLION PANCAKE! I think they must make them to order, mine have always arrived much later than other dishes, but they're so good I really don't mind the wait. So pleased I was able to tip you over the edge so to speak in deciding on a visit!

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    1. Hi Hayley! I think you're right, on our second visit they lost our pancake order and it was a double-long wait. Still didn't regret it. Thanks again for the tip.

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  3. Those dumplings are probably my favourite dumplings in the whole of the CBD. I discovered them during MIFF and have been back a few times since to scarf some more down. OMG NOM. Last time I was there with a group and we tried to order some of the salads, but the chef was taking a break or something? so we didn't get to sample all the things we wanted. I like the 'pancake' too, but not as much as those amazing dumplings :)

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    1. Hi Louise! Yeah, they're really different to most of the dumplings going around, I reckon.

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  4. ooooh are those scallion pancakes vegan???!

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    1. We'd be kicked off VeganMofo if they weren't, veganopoulous! (Yes, we quizzed the staff.)

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  5. Whoa! That's the best looking scallion pancake I've ever seen.

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