Dumpling Dumpling is one of those food wagons that we always make for. Over the last few years we’ve been running into them at various Island events, and even on the mainland. Every time, there’s no arguing with the delicious dumpling morsels. This really is cute, tasty and justly award-winning street food. The only downside – if it is a downside – is that after eating a load of dumplings what we want is… more dumplings. The very epitome of a moreish nibble.
It’s perhaps no surprise that when we heard Dumpling Dumpling was offering to lighten our lockdown blues by delivering a feast box of dumpling-related treats, we didn’t waste any time. It’s possible to order individual items from the comprehensive Dumpling Dumpling website, but we took the advice of friends on social media, and thwacked our money down for the Dumpling Dumpling Mixed Meat and Veg Feast Box Delivery. At the appointed hour Mr Dumpling himself knocked on the door and passed over a huge hot bagful that soon made its way onto our eager plates. They called this a feast and they weren’t wrong.
The first thing to say is that it isn’t all dumplings. That’s a good thing – we certainly do not object to dumplings, but we enjoyed discovering that Dumping Dumpling offers a considerably more versatile repertoire than we previously imagined.
The most impressive extra dish was the char siu baby back rib rack. We tore into the vast slab of juicy pork ribs, with the tangy Cantonese-style sauce giving it a real Asian vibe. Now there is no way to eat ribs elegantly. Fastidious Cat had a go with knife and fork but even she gave up and started sucking that sauce off the tasty bones as she held them in her sticky fingers. Of course, the advantage of eating ribs at home, as opposed to on the street, is that you can go and wash as often as you like. In fact, here’s a free idea for Chris Whitty – offer Dumpling Dumpling ribs on entry to every shop or workplace. We guarantee you will see an greatly increased rate of handwashing. That and smiles of delight all around – as ribs go, these were among the best.
Alongside the rib experience was a selection of dumplings, which we enjoyed just as we always do the Dumpling Dumpling signature dish, dipping them into the provided sauces. We’d chosen an aubergine Asian stir fry (we could have had chicken if we’d wanted) and this was another treat – big, fresh chunks of stir-fried aubergine mixed with plenty of spicy noodles and Asian veg.
The Feast Box (Meat & Veg): £30
Sweet Treat: Chocolate Raspberry Dumplings & Cream × 2: £11
Still it kept coming. We had a huge pile of gently-spiced Thai prawn crackers to work through, eight mini veg spring rolls, and a pot of freshly-cooked edamame beans. Yes, we did look up to check whether you should eat the pods – it’s been a while. And no, you shouldn’t. We both enjoyed the char sui sweetcorn – another streetfood classic that you just can’t help but pick up and slurp the sauce before winkling corn rinds from your teeth. Delightfully atavistic.
Finally, after a moment to recover, we dug into our dessert: chocolate raspberry dumplings with double cream. This isn’t a part of the feast box, but we’d bought as an extra, because who could resist chocolate dumplings? Not us. Admittedly, we ordered them thinking they’d be a bit of a novelty to write about, but in fact they turned out to be a robustly enjoyable pudding: the solid, moist chocolate and raspberry interior bursting out of the charming little dumpling parcels, perfectly lubricated by the copious rations of double cream that came alongside.
So top marks to Dumpling Dumpling for feeding us to satisfaction. The ribs particularly were a revelation, and not one you’d normally associate with dumplings. If ribs are your thing, this is something you should try out. And if you were thinking that dumplings don’t make a meal, think again – they do in an Asian-fusion banquet.
This is the full-length version of the review first published in the Isle of Wight County Press.