Chinese Kitchen Dumpling House is located outside the Westfield Shopping Centre in Woden, 10 minutes south of the city. It is a popular Chinese restaurant in the area, with a large variety of dumplings to choose from as well as delicious fare from their extensive menu. With cooked ducks hanging in the window and stacks of bamboo steamers behind the counter, the Dumpling House is an authentic experience as soon as you walk through their brightly coloured, ornate front doors.
You can choose to sit outside and watch the busy lunchtime rush go by, or sit inside to be surrounded by oriental artwork and be seated on high backed, carved wooden chairs. The dark interior of black tiles on the walls is contrasted with wooden intricate wall hangings and splashes of red, creating an ambience straight from China. On the back wall is a stunning modern mural of a young woman, which captures your attention as soon as you walk in. With over a dozen hanging red lanterns dangling from the ceiling and full lunch crowd, it makes for a bustling and inviting restaurant to walk into.
On our visit we were met with a friendly welcome and an explanation of some of the items on the menu. With an extensive list of options, plus the specials board, we were glad that we had looked at the menu online before we came. This busy restaurant is obviously used to the local lunchtime worker crowd who don't have much time, as the kitchen gets the cooked meals out fast and piping hot. Open for both lunch and dinner daily, it is easy to see why this quick service restaurant is so popular with local workers, families and students.
As we were at a Dumpling House it was only polite to try out their dumplings, so we ordered the Pork and Chive Dumplings, with 15 dumplings in the steamer. These were recommended by the lady who took our order as the most popular - "but only if you love chives as they are very chivey". She was right, they were deliciously heavy on the chives and when they were (clumsily) manoeuvred with chopsticks and dipped into soy sauce, they made for a tasty and light addition to the meal. See the Dumpling menu here.
We also shared the Crispy Duck with Vegetables, with beautifully tender duck with crispy skin and a sweet sauce over fresh vegetables. Both meals were fresh and full of flavour. The menu includes BBQ meats, soups, omelettes, noodles, hot pots, chow meins and a variety of prawn, chicken, pork and vegetarian meals to share. With winter on the way, the huge-bowled Laksas (starting from $14.80) and a variety of soups (starting from $5.60) will be on the top of the list on our next visit - the perfect winter warmers over the coming months.
With over 120 meals listed on the menu, which do you pick first?
On our visit, we watched locals who had obviously been there before order a host of entrees and delicious looking meals brought to the table one by one. There were also students enjoying budget friendly menu items and families whose children were tucking into the honey prawns, singapore noodles and steamed BBQ pork buns. We enjoyed the busy, family friendly atmosphere in the restaurant, with all the diners quietly concentrating on their meals only looking up to admire the other piled-high plates coming out of the kitchen.
Honey King Prawns ($19.80). Source: Chinese Kitchen Dumpling House
On a personal note, it's no secret that I love a good Chinese restaurant. They bring back memories of a trip to China in my 20's and I reminisce about the roadside food stalls, train station steam buns and tiny tea houses. I enjoy the bustling atmosphere and communal eating with several plates on the table and pulling out your serve with chopsticks. Although rusty on the chopsticks, the experience of eating with them seems to make the food taste even better. When I find a Chinese restaurant that brings back the authenticity of this fascinating culture, I want to go back for more. Now that we have discovered the Chinese Kitchen Dumpling House, it is a place that I now look forward to going back to time and time again.
Why don't you give it a try this weekend?
China - a country of beautiful food & fascinating culture