This dang blogging caper, this obsession with trying every joint in town has kept us away from Cho Dumpling King for three years. Stupid us.
This tiny, tiny little Taiwanese hole-in-the-wall is one of our very favourites. Part of the attraction is the ordering system: normally there's a queue outside and you order before even stepping inside by a roving waitress. It's a novelty we've always enjoyed.
Our second favourite thing about Cho Dumpling King is the help-yourself to the side dishes in the window. There's always an interesting selection and it's top notch stuff, always fresh, always good.
Our third favourite thing about Cho Dumpling King is they don't make dumplings, it's the Chinatown equivalent of the pub with no beer. Love it.
The side dishes for $3.50 are one of the best parts about this place. You can also get them takeaway, a good addition to a take home roast duck from Emperor Noodles. Clockwise from top left: a salad of soy beans, pickled mustard greens and grated bamboo shoot, or was that potato; cold baby octopus in a light soy; hard pressed tofu sliced with chilli; dry fried green beans with speckles of pork mince.
Braised beef soup - $7.50 - from the 'soup' section of the menu. Order it from the 'value meal' section and it comes with noodles for a couple of bucks more. Sometimes it's nice to have noodle-free soup for a change. Excellent broth with a couple of hunky chunks of slow cooked beef. Yay.
Peking Style Meat Sauce Noodle - $8.50. Often called Chinese spaghetti, this is an old favourite. Minced pork with udon-style noodles and grated zucchini. Mix it up, add a dash of dumpling vinegar, enjoy.
The 'Taiwanese Set Meal' is a sweet deal, you get a bowl of Taiwanese stewed mince pork on rice, then choose one of twelve side dishes. $10 for a small, $11. for a large. Add an extra $1 for and ice tea or a soup.
We try the fried chicken pieces which are excellent: nice and crunchy with a salt'n'pepper kind of flavour. Awesome. And the pickled veggies help cut some of the oil after. Sydney's eminent professor of fried chook, Helen from Grab Your Fork, includes Cho Dumpling King in her fried Chicken top 12 list. What further recommendation could you need?
Cuttlefish bar in soup with Taiwanese satay sauce - $9. The soup had a gravy-like consistency, a little like a lor mee, that thinned out as you got to the bottom. Cuttlefish bar turns out to be soft croquettes of squid, gently squishy with hidden pieces of chopped cuttlefish inside like takoyaki. A dollop of satay paste gave it a little more flavour, and the thin rice vermicelli was more filling than we expected.
Fried chili fish with rice value meal - $10. A good sized bento with rice, pickled veg, braised bean sprouts and tofu and fish in a sweetish sauce. The crunch of the fish was a little underdone and the sauce a little too sweet for our liking, but the meal is great value with a $1 iced green or black tea. There's even an orange quarter for half time.
Cho Dumpling King is at 8 Quay St Chinatown.
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