Good pre-travel food in airports and train stations is hard to find. Speedy is what most people look for – fast service, so you can eat a full meal in under half an hour. Too often when travelling around Europe, we found ourselves eating soggy sandwiches from uninspiring grab-and-go stores to ensure we could make it onto the plane or train on time. The real exceptions I can think of are Jamie’s Italian in Gatwick Airport, and more locally, MoVida in Sydney Airport.
I’m happy to announce to Melbournians that there’s a restaurant close to Southern Cross station that can have you fed and out the door in half an hour, ensuring that you can catch your regional V-line train, or Skybus to the airport.
K and I recently had a quick meal at Dumpling World on Collins St, mere steps away from Southern Cross station. We walked into the restaurant at 6.30pm, and were on the train platform by 7pm in time to catch our evening train to Bendigo for the weekend.
It’s not a fancy restaurant – it’s pretty cheap and no-nonsense and the staff don’t give out friendly smiles readily. However, it is worthy of note given that it’s quite a distance from Chinatown where you would normally find cheap and satisfying Chinese food.
We started off with the Pork and Cabbage Dumplings, a pretty standard Chinese dumpling dish. I found the wrappings on these dumplings quite thick, making it more akin to a thick skinned jiao zi than a thinner skinned Shanghainese xiao long bao or Cantonese har gow. A simple dumpling with quite a soft and fatty pork filling, but quite delicious when dipped in a vinegar and chilli sauce (mix your own in your bowl!).
It was quite a warm day, so we also ordered the Northern East Cold Noodles to share. I loved each individual element of these cold noodles, and would probably have liked them even more if we’d been more able to mix it all together as you’re supposed to. As it was, the cold rice noodles had so clumped together that it became impossible to mix the dish together, meaning that you were left with mouthfuls of just salty savouring mince meat sauce, or mouthfuls of dry un-seasoned noodles. Not ideal.
We finished our meal by over-ordering (naturally) a Spring Onion Pancake to share as well. I found it rather over-doughy inside, as the pancake was a bit thicker than what I would normally prefer. There was also a distinct lack of spring onions in the pancake. A little bit disappointing, though at least the exterior was nice and crispy and crunchy.
Dumpling World isn’t the best Chinese restaurant in town – not by far. What it does offer though is reasonable dishes, cooked quickly and sent to your table in time for you to catch a train. Make sure to order the dumplings rather than other dishes for a guaranteed good meal at a cheap price. It certainly beats a soggy sandwich from Woolworths any day!
Dumpling World is located at 608 Collins St, Melbourne.