edible adventures from the centre of the universe

30 July 2006

Review: Mother's Dumplings

Dumplings are one of those ubiquitous comfort foods: pretty much every culture on earth has some version of dough wrapped around a filling and then steamed, boiled, or fried. On Friday, Dave, Paul, Alex, and I indulged in dumplings of the Northern Chinese variety at Mother's Dumplings, which is located down a flight of stairs at 79 Huron Street. This restaurant is tiny, with only four eat-in tables, and the decor is nonexistent, yet oddly charming: plastic tablecloths, white walls with minimal adornement, and a TV playing a slideshow of random "serene" scenes (landscapes, mostly).

We sat down and waited a short while for the menus - service at Mother's Dumplings is slow and somewhat distracted, but very friendly. Dave and I were ecstatic to find green onion cakes on the menu: a treat that is very common in Edmonton, but not prevalent in Toronto. We ordered four (one each), which would be our undoing by the end of the meal. Along with the green onion cakes, we ordered five kinds of dumplings, which are served by the dozen, an "assorted salad," and a bowl of steamed rice. Green tea was complimentary.

The chive and noodle dumplings were the first to arrive, followed shortly by the pork and dill (both types of dumplings came boiled). We each combined some soy sauce and red chiles in our dipping bowls and dug in. The chive dumplings were fantastic, with a delicate wrapper and strong chive flavour - I think they were my favorite of the evening. Dave and Paul thoroughly enjoyed the pork dumplings as well.

Our steamed dumplings came next. The shrimp, egg, and chive variety contained a succulent piece of shrimp each, with some fluffy scrambled eggs and light chive aroma accompanying. They were absolutely heavenly. The other steamed dumplings - tofu, mushroom, and bok choy - had a strong savoury flavour that was unusual, but delicious.

The assorted salad came along at this point, which included kim chee, some sort of (Korean?) potato salad, marinated cucumber and bean sprouts, and beans in a light dressing. The entire concoction had a few slices of beef on top. I was a big fan of the cucumber/bean sprout salad, which was extremely refreshing and nicely tangy. The potatoes had some spice to them, and were also tasty, while the kim chee was fairly standard. The beans were relatively bland. I think on future visits I will just order the potato and bean sprout salads individually.

The final dumplings to arrive were fried and stuffed with pork and chives. Dave and Paul finished them off in a hurry. In a bit of odd timing, our steamed rice and green onion cakes came after we had finished all of our dumplings. The onion cakes were much bigger than we expected, cut into 8 pieces each. They were very similar to the cakes served at Sam Wok in Edmonton - somewhat dense, with lots of delicious green onion flavour. Dave and I were in heaven - we had not been able to indulge in this treat since moving out East, and Mother's Dumplings makes a damn good green onion cake.

We were only able to finish two of the cakes, and had to pack the other two to go - all four of us were completely stuffed. A huge dinner for four came to a ridiculously cheap $50, including tax and tip. As we left the restaurant, our server (who I presume to also be the owner) asked how we had heard of the place. When I mentioned that I had read a review online, she got this amazed look on her face and said, "On the computer?!" It was an adorable way to end an amazing meal.

8 hay bales out of 10



Blogger The Tough Guy said...

I don't think anyone who's so much in to cooking and recipes ever goes to every ordinary resturant but when I was in Toronto last summer, a friend took me to a Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Sigon, I guess, and that was great. I don't remember the address but if you're not what I think you must have been to. Haven't you? By the way when did you move to Toronto?

7:29 PM

Blogger Alana said...

Hi tough guy - I've been in Toronto for about a year and a half now. I have not been to Pho Saigon, because it is located very far away from where I live, but I do love Vietnamese food.

8:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey.. i had a different experience at Mother's Dumpling just today. I didn't find the food impressive at good. Because of their family style operations, we had to wait long for our food. We had stem pork buns, pan fried dumplings and pan fried chive boxes. Half of the pan fried dumplings were broken when served. The atmosphere was awful. The kitchen is literally in the dining room. Throughout the whole meal, I had to endure the owner nagging constantly at her kitchen helpers. Awful.... I will never recommend it to anyone.

3:58 PM


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