What do you associate with the end of exams? For me, it’s dumplings. For the last 3 years, Chris and I have celebrated the end another gruelling semester with steaming baskets of Xiao Long Bao at the incredibly popular city establishment – HuTong Dumpling Bar, who together, with Shoya and Flower Drum, complete the holy trinity of Asian food in Market Lane.
|(Fron Left) Interior, Chopsticks, Stairs to Level 1|
Despite this not being my first visit, I once again find myself impressed with the decor. HuTong proves that good dumplings don’t have to be synonymous with sticky tables and mismatched furniture, with their interior of dark wood, logoed cutlery, and smartly uniformed staff.
|Xiao Long Bao ($11.80 for 8)|
And because this place is known to us as ‘dumpling place’, there is no way we can leave without ordering some of their signature Xiao Long Bao ($11.80 for 8). Translucent skin filled with piping hot broth (see those dumplings? That’s the only time a saggy bottom is a good thing),top notch pork mince and dipped in vinegar, these 8 little morsels of delight are just that – a delight.
|Wonton in Chilli Oil ($8.80 for 8)|
The Wontons in Chilli Oil ($8.80 for 8) is another specialty here. Despite being rated ‘2 chillies’ on the menu, and arriving paddling about in a fiery looking sauce, these slippery little parcels aren’t nearly as ferocious as they look. The chilli oil is actually a little sweet, a perfect complement to the tingle of the spices and crunch of sesame seeds sprinkled on top. What I’m actually most impressed with are the chilli flakes in the oil – their taste is spot on, fragrant from being stir-fried at high temperatures, and just pulls the whole dish together.
|Spicy Roast Beef ($11.80)|
Our last dish was the Spicy Roast Beef ($11.80), served sliced and cold. Aside from being slightly on the salty and dry side, they tasted exactly as they should, and the beef was wonderfully streaked with tendon. There was more than enough to feed the 2 of us. Our meal was completely with Jasmine Pearl Tea ($3pp), which was delicately fragrant, even if we didn’t realise at the time that there was a surcharge for it!
There is a lot on the menu here that catches my eye, pity most of them are big dishes made for sharing. But that didn’t deter the couple next to us, who were still making their way through their 6 orders by the time we paid our bills and left.
Rating: 14.5/20 – Xiao Long Bao