The anticipation of plump, juicy dumplings takes hold quickly as you walk through the door of HuTong. In both venues – CBD and Prahran – there are vantage points where you can watch chefs make the small packets of flavour by hand, to then be steamed, plated and taken to tables adorned with chilli sauce and black vinegar to dress them in.
This is Shanghainese food from eastern China, where dishes are traditionally small and designed for sharing. HuTong does a great drunken chicken and the classic xiaolongbao – small dumplings filled with meat and soup – but watch how you bite into them or the soup may finish up in your lap.
Both venues are very busy (bookings are advised) which means the staff, while friendly most of the time, aren’t looking to stop and chat. This is a high-turnover restaurant which aims to deliver good quality Shanghaianese food to the table with little fuss, and that’s what it's very good at.