Tag Archive for asian


Taro, shiitake bao, tofu gua bao

I’ve been meaning to get to Wonderbao for ages. I’ve eaten their food before at the noodle night markets a couple of times, but never at the shop.

it is a tiny place with a handful of seats lined up at the window. It is notoriously tricky to find, made even more difficult at the moment by A’Beckett St being closed to construct the metro tunnel. Still I found it after a circuitous route around some back lane parts of Melbourne I’ve never seen before, which was enjoyable in itself.

There are a few vegan options on the menu, to save thinking I ordered the veggie pack special, a combination of three items: a crispy silken tofu gua bao garnished with peanuts and pickled mustard, a shiitake mushroom, tofu and vegetable bao, and a taro bao. I have a terror of undercooked eggplant so I skipped the eggplant gua bao, but after seeing someone next to me eating it, I’ll be back to try it.

The crispy tofu gua bao was the winner with its delicious combination of flavours and textures. Probably not as great as the slightly cross cultural one at Transformer, but a worthy rival. The shiitake mushroom bao was also delicious, but the slightly sweet taro bao left me cold. I should have known better as I’m not a big taro fan.

I’ll definitely be back to try some of the eggplant and the crispy tofu again. It is a great place with quick turnover that is perfect for a quick meal in the city.

Shop 4 19-37 A’Beckett St
Melbourne, 3000

9654 7887


Wonderbao Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

a dumpling workshop


I love dumplings. I love them, in all their variety and in any cuisine. I’ve never met a dumpling I didn’t like, from Eastern Europe to Asia. But Chinese dumplings are my favourite. Light, delicate and plump all at the same time, they are a work of art.

I’ve tried to make them in the past with wonton wrappers, but they’ve been a dismal failure, thin, broken and leaking filling. Tasty enough, but not a thing of beauty and not really worth the effort.

So it was a no brainer when I discovered a dumpling workshop run by Angie Chong of The Humble Dumpling that offered vegan options. I signed up in a flash. This isn’t an entirely vegan dumpling class but the dumpling fillings are prepared and cooked separately.

I’ve discovered that the secret to perfect dumplings is to make and hand roll the pastry. The other secret is to roll each dumpling wrapper individually by hand towards the centre, not the edges, which is the more typical way to roll pastry for example. This way they are thinner at the edges so that when they are sealed you don’t get a lump of thick dough.

The pastry is made from plain flour, tapioca starch, oil and hot water. It makes a soft but not sticky dough that handles easily. The fillings can be anything you like. I made one that had Chinese cabbage, bean thread noodles, spring onions, roasted pumpkin, carrot, coriander, ginger, garlic, taro, shiitake and wood ear fungus, bound with potato starch and seasoned with salt, soy, sesame oil, sugar and pepper. Angie also kindly made me another one that had zucchini, walnuts and tofu with herbs and seasonings. I’m not going to write up the exact recipes because they belong to Angie (If you are in Melbourne you should do the class and you will get them). I will however write up the dough as there are plenty of dough recipes out there.

There were also some intriguing dumplings called Pearly Moons which are a sort of meatball rolled in sticky rice with no wrappers. Obviously I didn’t eat them, but I am going to try to create something like them using mushrooms and gluten flour. You’ll need to wait for some experimentation for those.

We ate the dumplings two ways, steamed in baskets and also done as pot stickers where the dumpling is fried on the bottom and then a small amount of water is poured in to steam the dumplings with the lid on, the water evaporated and the dumpling fried again. This leaves them with delicious crispy bottoms and delicate steamed tops.

I had a great time at the workshop and I would encourage anyone who loves dumplings to do it. It is small, friendly, held in Angie’s beautiful home and is a good combination of introduction to ingredients, technique and eating. It is very hands on, with plenty of laughter and friendly conversation as we sat round the kitchen table filling the wrappers and making beautifully pleated dumplings. And of course you get to sit down for lunch and eat them!

I cannot recommend the class highly enough. I’ve done a lot of cooking classes and this was one of my all time favourites. I went in as a complete novice and came out an excellent and confident dumpling maker.


chinese dumpling dough wrappers
recipe type: chinese
cuisine: vegan
serves: 32
  • 1¼ cups plain flour
  • ⅓ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tbs rice bran oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup boiling water slightly cooled
  1. Mix the flours and the salt together
  2. Add the oil to the water
  3. Pour most of the water into the flours mixing to combine
  4. Add as much water as needed to form ragged clumps of dough.
  5. Turn out onto a floured bench and knead until soft and smooth.
  6. Rest for at least 15 minutes.
  7. Don't cut the dough all at once or the dough will dry out. Use about ⅛ of the dough at a time and keep the rest covered with a damp cloth.
  8. Roll the ⅛ into a sausage and cut into 4 pieces.
  9. Flatten each piece slightly
  10. Roll each piece into a circle 8cm across.
  11. Do this by holding the edge of the dough and roll towards the CENTRE of the dough lightly and rotating slightly after each roll. Resist the temptation to press too hard at first or you will put the dough out of shape.



The Humble Dumpling




travelling and eating in central and northern bali

crispy fried tempeh with tomato, onion, avocado and broad beans

In the grim and dismal cold of the Melbourne winter it has been really nice to get away to somewhere warm and beautiful for a week and a bit.

I’ve been to Bali a few times now and I never fail to be taken by its beauty and the friendliness of the people. There are towns, which are largely like other towns in South East Asia, but it is the mountainous greenery of Bali which I love, rice terraces, cloves drying by the roadside, cinnamon trees and bananas just growing by the road. There is also the joy of being able to see the horizon, which is a rare occurrence for city dwellers like me, something I think of as a holiday pleasure.

To see Bali in its beauty, I think you need to head away from the southern beaches which are full of sometimes embarrassing, badly behaved drunks and head further north. This time I headed for the relaxing town of Ubud for some reading and cooking, followed by a some snorkelling at Menjangan Island off the town of Pemuteran, a small fishing town on the north west coast close to Java. I’ve been to both places before.

Bali is also a great place to eat. Indonesia is the home of tempeh and tofu and it is pretty easy to get vegan food here.  I’ve also found the Balinese to be very friendly and helpful in making sure we can eat well.  There are some great cafes and restaurants in Ubud specifically catering to vegans, which is not so surprising. The eating opportunities range from the upmarket to small local warungs that can feed you beautiful fresh food for under $5. We also ate well in Pemuteran. The staff at our accommodation there (Taruna Homestay) were on the ball about what was vegan,  even alerting us to some hidden egg in a dish.

I’m just going to add many, many pictures of the fabulous food we ate, and give a list of some of the places we tried. There were many more, but these were the ones I liked best. I haven’t reblogged the places I’ve already been to even though I revisited a few, these are well covered in a previous post.

Feast your eyes. 🙂


Sari Organik
Jl. Subak Sok Wayah, Ubud, Bali

There are two, one near the bridge on the main road and one across the rice fields.
We went to the rice field one. It is worth it alone for the walk and the views.

Aya Warung
Jalan Bisma Ubud
Bali 80561, Indonesia

Seniman Coffee
Jalan Sriwedari No. 5, Ubud, Bali 80561, Indonesia

Taruna Homestay
Jl. Raya Singaraja-Gilimanuk,
Gerokgak, Desa Pemuteran, Kabupaten Buleleng,
Bali 81155, Indonesia

Paon Cooking School
Laplapan Village, near Ubud
Bali, Indonesia.

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