The anticipation of plump, juicy dumplings takes hold as you walk in to Johnny Wong’s new dumpling house in Darlinghurst.
Ideally located at Taylor Square – next to The Standard and half way up the stairs towards Lo-Fi – this eatery opens until late and is sure to become a favourite with pre- and post-party goers as well as other inner city locals.
And yes, the somewhat elusive Johnny Wong is apparently a real person, first and foremost the restaurant’s dumpling chef maestro and secondly, heir to the Taiwanese Wong family throne.
Wong’s dumplings are made fresh in-house daily and feature a variety of vegetarian, seafood and meaty options that come boiled, steamed or fried. There’s classics such as Shanghai-style juicy pork buns, as well as parcels like spicy salmon sui mei. Light Asian salads and more substantial mains starring roast duck and lamb short ribs are also on the chalkboard, all dished up in small disposable cardboard boats. No washing up is needed for the drinking vessels either, as the three different chilli-spiked, lime-laced cocktails come packaged in Johnny Wong branded fast food cups, complete with plastic lid and straw (you just want to hope they’ve got big recycling crates out back).
The space itself is snug and seats only 30 people at one time, perched on stools or at the bar, however fear not if the place is full – Lo-Fi bar beckons from above, happy to put a drink in your hand while your appetite builds and a seat is made available.
Prices are generally affordable with six dumplings leaving a dent only $8.50 deep. On ‘Wong Tang Wednesdays’, you can indulge in as many $1 dumplings as you like, while listening to classic golden-era rap.
Before you leave, makes sure you take a pearl of wisdom from Johnny Wong himself in the form of a fortune cookie. Let’s just say that his deep insights transcend mere prophecy. For example, I bet you didn’t know that “Dumpling chef make good lover”.
Johnny Wong's Dumpling Bar
Level 1, 383 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst
(02) 9331 3100
Wed to Sun 6pm–late