It seems that Asian street food is all the rage these days, with various hole-in-the-wall type joints popping up to serve their take on what is a beloved staple for many. When I first visited Lola’s Cafe a whole five years ago (back when I started this blog; time flies!), little did I expect this homegrown cafe to venture into the Asian food business.
A familiar name amongst carnival goers, Dumpling Darlings has made its permanent on the same side of Amoy Street as three years old Wanton. Being an avid eater of dumplings myself, I knew I had to swing by their premises as soon as I could.
The narrow space was already teeming with hungry diners on a Friday night, and the staff wasted no time in sitting me by the counter. Inside, dim lights contrasted against a stark red wall gave off a vibrant, yet intimate vibe.
Everything at Dumpling Darlings screams old school (a stark contrast from what I remember Lola’s to be – okay, I should stop with the apples to oranges comparison but I’m really impressed by how far they’ve come in this cutthroat industry!). The menu is a quaint blue and red booklet reminiscent of the mini notebooks we used to carry around in school.
There are six dumpling flavours ($7 – 8++) available for your picking: The Original, Veggie Mandu, Momo Curry, Fried Pierogi, Smoked Duck, andSpicy Sichuan. Reading through all the mouthwatering descriptions, I was awfully spoilt for choice! If you want to have the best of all worlds, fret not, The Dumpling Platter of 15 ($20++) boasts a selection of the first five flavours, so you can find your favourite among them!
There’s even a Dessert Dumpling ($8++) for the sweet toothed.
The Fried Pierogi ($8++) came across as a Westernised version of our beloved dumpling. With smoked bacon, truffle potato, caramelised onion, and cheddar in the mix, it brought to mind a potato salad wrapped in deep fried dumpling skin. The Sriracha Creama that was served with it, packed quite the spicy kick. While some may enjoy crunching into the deep fried skin only to be greeted by the warm mushiness of the truffled potato, I did feel the potato kind of overshadowed the other elements.
Feeling a tad underwhelmed by my first selection, I decided to give it another shot with The Original ($7++). Biting into the slightly oily dumpling skin, I was greeted with a burst of flavour from the minced pork collar. SO SO SO SO GOOD, almost on par with my favourite gyoza of all time by Keisuke Gyoza King. Dip them dumplings into the accompanying black vinaigrette with napa cabbage, and I was in heaven.
(I’m also not ashamed to admit I polished this off with little effort. Stop judging me; I’m going to the gym after this!)
If you are craving something substantial along with your dumplings, Dumpling Darlings’ Egg Noodles are the way to go.
The Miso Mushroom Noodles ($5++) is a well balanced bowl that is sure to soothe hungry workers, be it for lunch or dinner. The delightfully spring, al dente texture of the egg noodles. coupled with the melt-in-your-mouth braised mushrooms, made this dish an enjoyable one to slurp up. Best of all, it doesn’t leave you feeling too full, which means – more room for dumplings!
If only Dumpling Darlings had opened when I was still working in the Telok Ayer area; goodness knows how many rounds I might have made there. I’ll most certainly be back to try the other flavours!
Address: 44 Amoy Street
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer
Monday to Thursday: 11.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm
Friday: 11.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 2am
Saturday: 6pm – 2am
Contact: 8223 9249
Dumplings: Savoury/ Dessert
Drinks: Non-Alcoholic, Cocktails, Craft Beers