Food and Drink


ShanDong Mama

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While some food fazes come and go, others remain. Dumplings are one of them. So it was a happy surprise to hear about a new dumpling restaurant in the centre of town.

Located in the venerable Mid City Arcade, ShanDong Mama keeps up three dumpling traditions I like – a basic interior, free tea and a name that references a maternal figure. It also makes some mighty fine dumplings.

Shandong is an eastern coastal province in China, well known for its seafood-inspired cuisine. The tradition continues here, where there are a variety of acquatic themed dumplings to choose from, all hand made by the tireless Mama out back.

One that caught my eye was the diced seafood (prawn, mussel, calamari, fish, chicken mince, lemon rind, olive oil, parsley and garlic, $13.8 for 12.) The menu assures me they will “tickle my fancy”.

However I’m told I must try the fish dumplings (fresh mackerel fillet mixed by hand with coriander, ginger and chives ($14.80 for 10).

What arrives soon after is a plate loaded with dumplings the size of fist. You know when you order dumplings sometimes the insides are mush? Not here. Every ingredient is defined and distinct, from the colours to textures. It’s superb, and one of the best dumplings I’ve had recently in Melbourne.

My happy journey continues with the  prawn, black fungus and chives (chunks of prawns with chopped chives and black fungus, pork mince, $12.8 for 12) which were actually made with real prawn, and my favourite. I’m still thinking about them.

And if you’re not quite in the mood for a cheeky dozen, ShanDong Mama offers a very sensible ‘Afternoon Tea’ service which gets you half a dozen dumplings and a drink for $8 from 3pm – 6pm.

Besides dumplings there’s plenty else that caught my eye, including wasabi spinach salad $6.8, homemade pork sausage $6.8 and a selection of home made noodles which I’ll chalk up next time.

BYO and wifi coming soon. And, presumably, crowds.

Below is a great video showing Mama whipping up her signature fish dumplings.

Mid City Arcade, Shop 7, 200 Bourke Street Melbourne (Mid
9560 3818
Mon – Sat 12pm – 9pm

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