Visit five of Sydney’s best inner-city dumpling bars and sample their wares on this popular walking tour. You’ll have the opportunity to try several different types of dumplings and hear some of the history of Sydney’s Asian community from your knowledgeable local guide. Duration: 2.5 hours (approx.)
Please note: Foodi has recently discontinued this tour. You can browse all our available Sydney walking tours here.
Sydney’s majestic Town Hall took 21 years to build.
Following its completion in the late 1880s, a huge march was held on the streets outside to protest against Chinese settlers coming to Australia during the gold rush. It’s an appropriate spot to start this Sydney dumpling walking tour with Foodi. Once all the members of our group have arrived, our affable guide David shares the story of the protest and says: ‘We’re starting here at Town Hall because it’s part of the story of Chinese migration to Australia. Today we welcome migrants from many cultures to our shores, and we get to enjoy the best of many different styles of cuisine.’
Following this thought-provoking introduction, we set off on foot to discover five different food venues that offer some of the best dumplings in Sydney — steamed, fried, boiled, you name it — along with other delicious Asian delicacies. ‘So far, no one on any of my tours has ever previously been to all five’, David says proudly.
This Sydney dumpling walking tour all but avoids Chinatown — the obvious Chinese culinary epicentre of the city. Only one of the eateries we visit is located there. Instead, the tour focuses on lesser-known dumpling bars nearby. To maintain the mystery, the venue names are not disclosed in this story.
Our first stop is a Vietnamese street food ‘tuck shop’ of humble origins — now part of an expanding hawker-style chain that still maintains its authenticity. It’s discreetly positioned in the basement of a retail building off one of the busiest streets in town.
Perching ourselves on high stools at the counter, we tuck into a selection of small plates: seafood dumplings, vegetable dumplings, and banh cuon — a Vietnamese fermented rice pancake stuffed with ground pork and mushrooms. It’s a traditional breakfast dish that is flavoursome and absolutely delicious.
Appetites aroused, we wander on to the next stop on this Sydney dumpling walking tour, which specialises in Korean Fried Chicken (also known as KFC!) — a growing food craze world-wide. Plates of soy fried chicken are happily devoured — crunchy, finger-licking, lip-smacking savoury goodness, balanced with a zingy side of pickled radish.
Venue number three offers us tender lamb spiced with chilli and cumin, and sweet pan-fried pumpkin dumplings served with soy and vinegar dipping sauces — all eagerly poked at with chopsticks and washed down with dainty ceramic cups of jasmine tea.
The fourth destination sells homemade dim sum (assorted dumplings, buns and rice noodle rolls, usually served in bamboo steamers) and supplies many of the major yum cha (Cantonese-style brunch) restaurants around town. We taste pillowy-soft BBQ pork buns and shop from the extensive selection of cooked and frozen goodies available to take away.
By this time our bellies are groaningly full, but there’s always room for dessert! David leads us to a ‘hole in the wall’ bakery where a queue of people patiently wait for their turn to purchase ’emperor puffs’ — little golden clouds of pastry filled with custard, freshly baked and served hot. Feather-light and not too sweet, these bite-sized morsels are the perfect finish to this gastronomic journey.
Overall, this Sydney dumpling walking tour is interactive, interesting and intimate (group sizes are limited to a maximum of 14 guests). The gentle distance between stops makes the walk easily manageable. Most importantly, the dishes featured are tasty and authentic. It’s an opportunity for participants to indulge in a fabulous range of Asian specialties right here on home soil.
Cindy travelled as a guest of Foodi.
Additional images: Bigstock
Cindy Bingley-Pullin considers herself a writer, wanderluster, corporate bee and happy homemaker. In between analysing spreadsheets in the office, she pursues her combined passions of travel and freelance writing. Her work has appeared in Virgin Australia’s Voyeur, International Traveller, Fitness First magazine and the Sydney Morning Herald.