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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Camy Shanghai Dumpling and Noodle Restaurant

Has this restaurant been around forever? It certainly feels (and looks) like it. Even despite closing for "renovations" last year. Perhaps this is code for something else, as when they reopened, nothing had changed!

Eating here is like being part of an efficient factory line. Get in, order, eat, get out. There's no niceties here, no waiting for you to digest your food over a drink and conversation. As soon as your chopsticks have been put down, you'll be asked if you're finished. Yes? Then what are you still doing here?

Let's be honest. Camy does not make the best dumplings in the world. But they're quick, and they're cheap and there's something about the place that's good despite the daggy d├ęcor, and the abrupt service. Most occasions that we eat there, the bill comes to less than $10 per person (this occasion we were slightly over, $13.50 each, because we ordered beer). And sure, you may wait in the queue for 10 minutes, but you only wait a couple of minutes for dumplings to start arriving once you're ordered. This time, I swear, it took one minute for our first plate of dumplings to be delivered. Obviously they're not cooking them all to order!

Fried pork dumplings (15 pieces - $6.80)

Ahh... good old fried dumplings. With a slightly chewy skin, they're usually not too oily. These are quite popular and they're favourites for many people I know.

Steamed beef dumplings (12 pieces $6.80)

If you're not that keen on fried dumplings, there's also steamed dumplings. These ones are beef. They're not bad, although I seem to prefer pork dumplings.

Steamed chicken and prawn dumplings (have forgotten the price!)

As you can see, there's not much prawn in the chicken and prawn dumplings. I don't find them as tasty as the other ones.

Chilli oil dumplings (15 pieces - $6)

Now we're getting to the good stuff. These are pork dumplings floating in a soup slicked with chilli oil. There's only the hint of heat in the chilli oil, despite the red slick.

Mushroom and vegetable dumplings (10 pieces $4.50)

The mushroom and vegetable dumplings are my second favourite ones at Camy. They're chock full of garlic and onion and are a little sack of dumpling goodness. Mhmm hmmm.

Shanghai pork mini buns (8 pieces $6.50)

And finally the best is last - the Shanghai pork mini buns (also known as xiaolongbao in other places). The mini buns are little dumplings that are filled with meat and soup. The soup inside is made by placing a little bit of jelly inside prior to steaming. Once they are steamed, the heat turns the jelly into a liquid. Eating them can be a bit of a challenge - first, trying not to pierce the dumpling skin so you don't lose the soup inside (hint: roll them on to a spoon), and second, trying not to burn yourself on the scalding liquid!

Although we didn't have it on this occasion, the pumpkin cakes are also really good. They're small, sweet, deep-fried morsels. We always order two plates and save them for dessert, managing to fit them in despite the plates of dumplings we have ingested!

Camy Shanghai Dumpling and Noodle Restaurant
25 Tattersalls Lane
Melbourne 3000
Phone: 9663 8555

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