Melbourne has many mama restaurants such as Big Mama, Mama SiChuan, Mama Wong, Soul Mama, or Mama Roots. I've not tried them all but if there's one that I'll say "Yes" Mama anytime, it has to be Shandong MaMa!
Shandong MaMa is a chinese restaurant located in the heart of Melbourne CBD's Mid City Arcade at Bourke Street. It is famous for its home-made style dumplings which comes in a variety of fillings, either boiled or pan-fried. The fish (mackerel) boiled dumpling is apparently the house-specialty and must-try on the menu.
Shandong MaMa Kitchen Window
My dining companion and I went there for an early brunch at about 11.15am. I felt exited for getting a chance to finally try their famous fish dumpling but only to be disappointed by an undesirable response. Unfortunately, we were told that MaMa haven't gotten the fish or ingredients ready yet. Not a convincing excuse for a restaurant, because it's in the menu and we were not aware of the unavailability until after our order has been taken to the kitchen. Anyway, we were still happy to change our order and try other dumplings despite the let down.
The restaurant was quite empty when we arrived but it was quickly filled up with customers as lunch time approached. After waiting for approximately 15 minutes, our food was served.
Prawn and Pork Wonton Egg Noodle Soup
Due to the cold weather, I've been loving soup-based dishes lately. I ordered a rather common Prawn and Pork Wonton Egg Noodle Soup, which was $9.50 a bowl.
Silky smooth wonton skin
Having said that, the prawn and pork wonton was indeed special. The wonton skin was silky smooth, thin and soft while the filling is juicy and flavourful. You can taste the chunky succulent prawn with every bite. I loved it with a bit of chilli oil.
My partner on the other hand was bold to try something different. He ordered Yuro Noodle, a combination of fish and egg drop soup with home-made noodle and black fungus. At first glance, the dish didn't look appealing to me but once I tasted the broth, I couldn't stop digging in my partner's bowl, to the point he was really kind enough to swap with me. The Yuro noodle tasted fresh and soft!
Prawn, Black Fungus and Chives Dumplings
We also ordered a plate of prawn, black fungus and chives dumplings to share. True to its description on the menu, each dumpling had chunks of prawns with chopped chives and black fungus bound together with finely minced pork rich in flavour and texture. It costs about $12.80 for approximately twelve dumplings.
Home-made dumpling skin
The dumpling filling was wrapped with home-made thin dumpling skin which didn't taste like flour. It was soft, moist and smooth. The fact that you can taste the flavourful filling more than the skin made Shandong MaMa's dumplings my newest favourite.
Will I come back for more dumplings? Yes, of course! I must try their fish (Mackerel) dumplings the next time I come. To avoid being disappointed again, I might try to call MaMa first before visiting.
The pricing is not the cheapest I've had but it's definitely within reasonable range for quality dumplings. Go ahead and give it a try either for lunch or dinner.