Lok Lok Dumpling Bar, Rhodes (13th November 2013)
Ken and I had planned to check out Tomodachi for dinner prior to the movie preview of 'One Chance' at Reading Cinemas, Rhodes Shopping Centre tonight but he was running late so I ended up having dinner on my own. I could have still gone to Tomodachi but one shop in particular at the Food Court on Level 1 caught my eye – Lok Lok Dumpling Bar – it was the only shop that had a small crowd of customers (crowds at food places are always good sign to me).
Serving soup and steamed dumplings as well as potstickers, Lok Lok Dumpling Bar has almost every Chinese dumpling type covered and all their dumplings are handmade fresh on site. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, the dumpling bar has six branches located in Sydney (sadly none within the CBD area) and also offers rice, handmade noodles and even stir fry dishes in addition to their extensive dumpling selection. Though there was a short line at the counter, it was moving fairly quickly so I didn’t have to wait very long for my turn :) While in the line, I flipped through their menu and picked out a few items from the list – the Shao Long Bao (steamed Shanghai mini pork soup dumplings that comes in a bamboo steamer in either a set of five or ten dumplings; I got the smaller set) and two of the chef’s specials, the Taiwanese Crispy Salt & Pepper Popcorn Chicken and the Special Pan Fried Pork Bun (the buns come in a set of four or eight; I went for the four). Cost $21.40 all up and payment was required on order. I was given a buzzer and went to look for a seat, settling into one of the few available small tables near the counter; there is also the option of sitting by the bar with views into the kitchen for you to have a glimpse of all the action. Given the lack of seating, it was no surprise why most customers were doing takeaways instead of dining in.
Lok Lok Dumpling Bar in Rhodes Shopping Centre
'Bzzz, bzzz! Bzzz, bzzzz!!' My buzzer sounded and I headed over to the counter to collect my food. The Special Pan Fried Pork Bun and Taiwanese Crispy Salt & Pepper Popcorn Chicken came out first; I had to return for the Shao Long Bao later – there was a note on the menu stating that it takes 15 minutes for this dumpling to be prepared and the guy behind the counter also very kindly reminded me so when I ordered them. I also picked up a pair of disposable chopsticks, a plastic spoon and some serviettes, as well as condiments of soy, vinegar and chilli sauce for my meal from the collection counter before heading back to my table.
I started off with the Special Pan Fried Pork Bun and it was pretty average. Good flavour in the soup though I expected the buns to have a crispy bottom; they were soggy, suggesting that it was probably left to cool with the fried base still facing downwards.
Special Pan Fried Pork Bun (4 pcs) ($6.80)
The Shao Long Bao was rather disappointing – the skin was a bit too thick and sticking on the paper lining in the bamboo steamer so the dumpling was breaking apart with soup oozing out before I could even get it onto my spoon. Very annoying :/
Shao Long Bao - Steamed Shanghai Mini Pork Soup Dumpling (5 pcs) ($5.80)
The best dish by far was the Taiwanese Crispy Salt & Pepper Popcorn Chicken, bite-size pieces of tender and juicy boneless meat coated in a crunchy crispy batter served together with deep fried green beans, all seasoned in a tasty salt and spice mix.
Taiwanese Crispy Salt & Pepper Popcorn Chicken ($8.80)
Frankly, I was expecting the dishes to be entrée size but they turned out to be quite large. Not sure how I’m going to finish it all (I only managed half of everything) but thankfully Ken turned up and helped finish the rest! Overall, service was friendly and speedy though the food wasn’t particularly fantastic.