I often say to myself that good things come in small packages and as I am just under five foot, that much is true about my neat stature. However we're not here to talk about me, we are here to discuss a menu item that fits this statement perfectly, and it is the world of dumplings. I adore these little packages of heaven and thankfully our city is certainly spoilt for choice, from Asian inspired potstickers and gyoza to the always satisfying European pierogi. Whether you're in the mood for boiled, steamed or fried dumplings, there are so many options that you could easily find the taste sensations that you are after and spend many a day sampling until you pop.
While I do love heading out for a night out of belt unbuckling dumpling missions, I also truly enjoy a night in, either ordering from my favourite takeout or like tonight, cooking my own. It is a little difficult to find a dumpling that suits my tastes because I prefer gluten-free dumplings and I do not fare well with onions but you would be surprised that my options are still plentiful.
My desire for dumplings today, led me outside and down to Lygon Street where I soon discovered a delightful local grocery store that not only met my insatiable need for dumplings but also offered up a large range of gluten-free and vegan products. There is a lot of innovation happening in the small store experience and this local is definitely showing some spirit.
Located in Brunswick East, Babbage Foods Fresh Express is home to a range of organic produce and grocery items that you may not necessarily spot in your big brand supermarkets. The team here pride themselves on sourcing a fantastic range of products, from artisan bread, locally sourced produce, meats and a staggering display of vegan and gluten-free friendly must-haves.
Wandering along I spotted Golden Pig & Co gourmet frozen dumplings that sweetly called to me from the freezer, with an ingredient listing that is suitable to those of us living with food allergies and intolerances. The prices are extremely reasonable at Babbage Foods with the price of these dumplings tagged at around $9.95 for twelve pieces. You can bet I was sold along with a generous bunch of Asian greens making my total for the day at $12.90.
As a lover of sweet things but also one who is health-conscious, I giggled with glee (thankfully muffled by my mask) at the fridge section, for held inside there was a selection of vegan slices and bliss balls which can be bought separately. For a moderately sized store, you can easily spend the time gazing into the fridges at gourmet cheese, yogurt and healthy drinks and then make your way around the grocery shelves towards the wall of chocolate. I highly recommend The Carob Kitchen Banjo Bears which although carob, offer up a light creaminess that will have you crying if you didn't buy more than three.
Babbage Foods Fresh Express is open for the early and late shoppers, Monday to Friday from 7am-8pm, Saturday from 7am-6pm and lastly Sunday from 8am-6pm.
If you are in the area, pop in and explore this local grocery hot spot.