Jade Dumpling Noodle House, Gungahlin

15 Oct

Wow. Last week was a huge week for this little blog, namely due to this passionate little piece. My previous day’s best ever record was smashed right out of the park. And a certain news.com.au journo agreed (presumably jokingly – but I am 100 per cent all for it to happen) that he’d let me show him the Canberra he can’t yet see.

But what those otherwise meaningless achievements reflect is a real engagement with the article. Why did people engage with it, and want to engage with it? Well, it’s probably the subject of future blog posts. (And it was certainly interesting to note how many people interpreted my call to arms very differently, including on Reddit.) But the fact is, it seems what I wrote meant something. And not just to known staunch defenders of this city. That’s revealing in itself.

Before I talk more about another very important subject (dumplings!), I need to stress that pride in a city doesn’t mean you just love and defend everything about it. If that was the case, not much would ever get done. Often people want to see change or improvements because they care about and love their city. So you can damn well love Canberra and be proud of it while also having some ideas on what to change. On what you want to be different. Don’t underestimate the power of people power. Don’t underestimate the power of your suggestion or idea, or your challenge to an suggestion or idea. And we’re connected in so many ways we’ve never been before, physically and through technology, that there’s no reason not to participate – whether it’s to promote your city or find a way to improve it. The only thing you really need to do is do it.

And hey – while I’ve got you – thank you. The support, the Facebook shares, the retweets, the comments and conversations: it all meant a great deal to me. What I can say? I love Canberra!

Okay: dumplings time.

As many of you are aware, I’m on the hunt for dumplings. Beijing House has the best fried beef dumplings in Canberra, and its steamed pork dumplings go all right. I found Dumpling Inn at Jamison largely underwhelming. The prawn and pumpkin dumplings at Dickson Dumpling House are worth your while. Shanghai Dumplings in Civic is an oldie but a goodie, but for me ranks just behind Beijing House in terms of flavour. While I loved the friendly service and Mongolian beef at Charnies Noodles and Dumplings, I can’t recommend the dumplings. (I will definitely be back for the rest of the menu, which looked great and is seriously popular.)

It seems to me that to get the best dumpling experience in Canberra you might just have to do a Dumpling Moving Feast (now there’s an idea) and get each location’s best and only their best – but part of me still wonders if there might be somewhere out there that just gives the best dumpling experience ever. I will not rest until I’ve exhausted every venue.

This might be spoiling the ending, but Jade Dumpling Noodle House is not the venue I’m looking for. BUT, it does have some very, very good dumplings and makes it into my otherwise non-existent Dumpling Moving Feast as a venue.

To start with, Jade Dumpling Noodle House is not just about dumplings or noodles. It’s a huge menu, and well worth exploring. It also has some other very important features. I dine with my friend on a public holiday and a) it’s open and b) it has a steady stream of take-out and eat-in customers. Wins all round.

But we’re here for the dumplings. I think we’re supposed to write on the piece of paper supplied to us, but a waiter obligingly takes our order. We’re not quite sure how hungry we are, so we order ‘light’ and opt to keep the menu for potential future ordering. This clearly isn’t common behaviour but after a few attempts to reclaim the menu it’s left in our hands – and we do make good on more orders later.

I’ve clued myself up with Tales of a Confectionist‘s excellent post and know we won’t go wrong with the xiao long bao (mini steamed pork bun) ($8.40 for six). These are so, so good; I wish we’d ordered more. As my fellow blogger notes, there’s a real soup within these delicate dumplings which is the key to the flavour. I am a huge fan.

Xiao long bao

Even though I’ve low expectations, the steamed pork buns ($6.30 for four) are dry and a little boring. The golden (deep fried Chinese) buns ($6 for four) are basically a fried, slightly sweetened dough (think the bread roll you get a KFC in a lunch pack) with condensed milk. I eat one but feel I’m wasting valuable stomach space.

Steamed pork buns

Golden buns

The fried beef dumplings (not pictured) ($7.80 for six) are not a touch on their equivalent at Beijing House in Hawker; I’ve seriously been spoiled with their consistent, flavoursome servings there. I’m feeling a bit disheartened about our experience at Jade until we decide to order more, and my second stomach and appreciation for this venue really kicks in.

The spicy wontons (vegetable and pork wontons in a spicy dipping sauce with chives) are a star – of equal calibre with the xiao long bao – and one of those ‘I really shouldn’t but I’ll have one more’ dishes ($10.80 for 10). Seriously yum.

Spicy wontons

And the prawn dumpling (or more correctly, prawn and pork mince dumpling) is phenomenal ($8.20 for six). I’m unconvinced with this order until I try it, but again am cursing that earlier I ate other things of not near the same quality and took  up valuable tummy space. These are great. 10/10 would order again.

Steamed prawn dumplings

So Jade Dumpling Noodle House? A mixed experience, but from a large amount of options emerge quite a large number of true stars. I’ll be back!

Date: Monday, 6 October 2014

Where: Jade Dumpling Noodle House, Gungahlin Place

Cost: ~$60 for ample dumplings, two beers and tea

Value for money: High

Worthwhile factor: Worthwhile – obviously some dumplings more than others; choose carefully!

Want more? Try their website here, and read Tales of a Confectionist’s review here.

Jade Dumpling Noodle House on Urbanspoon



2 Responses to “Jade Dumpling Noodle House, Gungahlin”

  1. dionedavid October 15, 2014 at 7:51 am #

    Dumpling moving feast = genius, if I still lived in Canberra I’d be campaigning. The xiao long bao looks like those served at Din Tai Fung (my fave, even though it’s quite commercial).

  2. mel June 24, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

    Hi..I agree with you on all counts! They also do a really spicy, delicious satay chicken. I like coming here because the service is friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed and the prices are extremely reasonable. Once you find what the Jade dumpling House do well you def go back. 🙂

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