When you’re not looking, sometimes you find something you didn’t know you were looking for. It often happens when travelling, isn’t that why most of us go out and explore the world? Food can be a major delight while travelling and sometimes the smallest delight can be the surprise. At the end of my recent visit to New Zealand, I was waiting for the airport bus on Manning Street in Wellington and came across this hole in the wall called House Of Dumplings.
I’d had my fill of cheap fast food not often found in Australia, such as the Cheese and Bacon Loaded Fries at Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers which were great when I first tucked into them but a bit mushy and stodgy towards the end.
I’d been to McDonalds, the sometimes perfect place for the traveller on a budget where the food tastes the comforting same as any McDonalds anywhere. Many a traveller will attest, McDonalds is not only a safe bet with the food but also the cheapest way to stay in touch with home (would you like fries with your free WiFi?) While being that traveller, I tried something I’d never seen on a McDonalds menu before – a meat pie. It wasnt as bad as you might expect. Sure, the pastry was a little on the soggier side than usual and the meat was finely minced as opposed to chunks of beef, but it was actually ok, for mass produced fast food.
But the delight I discovered when it comes to inexpensive, tasty and healthy food was that little place I found while waiting for that airport bus on Manners St in central Wellington. House of Dumplings was started by Vicky Ha who has been making dumplings from old family recipes in Hong Kong and New Zealand since she was a youngster. When I read that these handcrafted morsels are made using only fresh natural locally sourced ingredients at NZ$2 each, my problem was which couple of the seven on offer to try. I really wanted to try them all but the electronic bus stop was indicating my bus was a mere 6 minutes away.
Each of the dumplings are made from scratch, from the skins to the sauces, include all natural ingredients, use free range pork and corn fed chicken and do not include enhancers such as MSG. From the carnivore menu there are: Shanghai free range pork and savoy, Korean sesame beef and sprouts, Cantonese free range chicken and coriander, Nepalese spiced lamb and spiced veges & Crystal prawns and garlic chives to choose from. From the vegan menu: Spinach, tofu and bok choy & Japanese six mushroom. There are also reasonably priced side salads and scoops of rice available which can turn the snack into a meal.
I chose the Shanghai free range pork and savoy cabbage plus a Nepalese spiced lamb and 5 veges which was carefully panfried in front of me by the lovely girl who I chatted with about the dumplings “The Shanghai pork is our most popular by far” she told me. House Of Dumplings also operate a cooking class – ‘Hands On Dumplings’, another reson for me to head back to Wellington.
The Nepalese spiced lamb and 5 veges came with a generous dollop of home made spicy tomato relish which worked perfectly with the cumin inspired spices in the lamb mixture. The Shanghai free range chicken and savoy cabbage with a splash of soy was the true hit, as I’d been told. It was firm yet moist with a slight crunch of cabbage adding to the joy and oh so full of flavour – Such a delight, such a surprise that I didnt know I was looking for. 🙂
House Of Dumplings operate from 2 stores and markets in Wellington. Dumplings can also be bought at selected supermarkets in the Wellington area.
All dumplings and the trip to New Zealand was paid for independently by FreakyFlier.