I’ve wandered past the Taste Gallery a few times, and Mr Ana and I have pondered over the xiao long bau (little soup dumplings). I am a BIG fan of xiao long bau (thanks to the million trips to Asia over the years) and admit I am quite fussy about them.
So what did I do? I dragged my mum there! I had a day off and my mum loves making the trip to Sunnybank to try different restaurants. I was surprised to hear that mum hadn’t been to the Taste Gallery, so I decided to take mum there when we both had time.
The restaurant is set up with the kitchen in the front with a huge glass window so people can have a peek and see the dumplings being made – I do like having a look, but wonder if the chefs feel self-conscious. I think I would, but I’d also be tempted to put on a bit of a show. Can’t help myself
Mum and I ordered a small selection of dumplings – we decided to focus on dumplings as this was what the restaurant markets itself for… Well that, and we wanted to have some space left over for dessert! There was a huge selection to choose from, but I stuck to my favourites.
We started with pan fried pancakes stuffed with chives and egg ($4.50). The little stuffed pancakes were lovely and crispy, and I really enjoyed the chives. I also found some wood ear fungus in there, which was a tasty addition. The pancake was well seasoned and did not need any soy sauce.
And here are the pancakes in the inside:
Next came our xiao long bao ($4.50). If you haven’t tried these before, they are little handmade dumplings filled with a mixture of pork filling, wrapped in a delicate skin. What makes them special is that there is a little bit of soup in the dumpling that bursts in your mouth when you bite into the dumpling (so stuff the entire thing in, otherwise you’ll have soup everywhere!). I eat these all the time when I travel, it is one of my favourites.
These xiao long bao weren’t too bad, however I have to say that I have tasted better in Brisbane. I won’t compare them to Taiwan, because if I am honest, nothing beats xiao long bao in Taiwan (and I am NOT referring to Din Tai Fung either!!!). The pork was nice enough, as was the soup, however it was too salty. I prefer a more delicate flavour.
Our next dish was fried pork dumplings ($7.50). As you may know, Mr Ana and I make our own dumplings at home. I. Love. Dumplings. Particularly fried dumplings. I stuck to the pork and cabbage dumplings as these are typical in asian cuisine. The dumplings were super crispy on the bottom which was a bit of a surprise, but I do love a crispy bum, so I enjoyed it. Again, the dumplings were quite salty, a bit too seasoned, which took away from the pork filling. The filling itself was very simple, and I couldn’t taste various flavours that are usually added to this type of dumpling. If I am honest, I prefer our home cooked ones.
And finally our shallot pancakes arrived ($5.50). They were smaller than I expected but enjoyable all the same. The pancake was very flakey which indicated that the chef spent time rolling and folding the dough over and over again. Respect. This was one of my favourite dishes of the day.
For a bit of fun, mum ordered three little mice ($7.50). It was a little dish of mice made out of glutinous rice flour, filled with black sesame. The mice came complete with teeny eyes made out of sesame seeds and ears fashioned from peanuts. Almost too cute to eat! That didn’t stop mum though, she ripped into them like a champ. Poor things never had a chance. The glutinous rice flour was coated with teeny tapioca balls which made the dessert dumplings moist, and the black sesame filling was sweet. Mum enjoyed them. I watched with fascination…
Overall, the Taste Gallery is a decent place to try a variety of dumplings in one convenient spot. However, I think you can find better versions of each individual dish elsewhere – if you could be bothered. And I suppose I can be bothered!