The 24hr Melbourne Dumpling Challenge with LANKS
Just a note to any prospective Hometown Guide’s coming in, LANKS has changed the goddamn game with this one. It’s now a challenge, literally.
On the back of his great new single and video for ‘Golden Age’, we jumped at the opportunity to have the multi-faceted, multi-talented Melbourne artist on board for a guide. Turns out LANKS, aka Will Cuming, instead decided to create his own challenge instead, taking his love of dumplings to a new (potentially dangerous) level in the process. We’ll let him take over from here…
“I am a native of Melbourne and I am very thankful that this city has the cultural diversity that it does, because quite honestly, I have no idea how Australia lived without chilli and the flavours that arrived here from Asia. Chinese people have been migrating here since the 1850’s, when they came in search of gold, and I am really glad they did.
I have spent a bit of time travelling in China and other parts of Asia, and I’m always on the hunt for good dumplings (jiao zi, momo, gyoza, xiao long bao, I really don’t discriminate). So like any good human does, I decided to do a 24 hour challenge (in case you were wondering why I’m wearing basically the same shirt in every photo, this is why duhh) to get through 5 of the best dumpling places in Melbourne. Overall, it was pretty epic. 10/10 would do again though.”
“The first stop and to be quite honest, the best of the lot. This place has vibe, and dumplings that melt like butter. The boiled zucchini dumplings were the highlight and I’m not even a vegetarian. Also the mackerel dumplings, where the hell did they come from?! Top work guys. It has none of the rustic, artisan, exposed light bulbs and sleek minimal design so frequently on show in Melbourne cafe culture. It is bold Chinese department store chic.”
David and Camy’s
“Box Hill and Springvale are big centres for Chinese culture and food in Melbourne, and they are often overlooked by the rest of us who simply don’t know that. Box Hill is out in suburbia and it is completely dominated by delicious xiao chi (Chinese snack foods) and Chinese restaurants. David and Camy’s is just one of many excellent ones.”
Tim Ho Wan
“When you get through the line you are handed a slip of paper to number the boxes of which dishes you want, all the while waiters zoom around with radio packs on yelling at each other in Chinese. It’s great.
This place is super clean and perhaps a little too much so, but damn these dumplings are tasty. Tim Ho Wan is a famous chain from Hong Kong that only recently landed in Aus, but the lines are already long out the door. What people will do for dumplings huh?”
“Bowl Bowl on Smith st is where you go to eat Sichuan style dumplings, and also pretty weird ones, like dumplings filled with the ingredients you would normally find in a burrito. The boiled pork dumplings that are considered the signature dish were pretty wild though, drowned in a delicious sauce and sprinkled with crushed peanut. The lady I ordered from cautioned me against over-ordering and in my arrogance I then went and added an extra dish, just to prove a point. I never let her see me struggle but made it through the whole thing. Proud spite achievement unlocked.”
“We walked into this place right at the end of service and they told us that we would have to eat fast. Still holding the menus in her hand the waitress asked what we would like to order. I convinced her to let us look at the menu, by which time she had left our table and a new waiter arrived and asked what we wanted, insisting there was no time to order fried, only boiled/steamed. We smashed through 40 dumplings in 15 minutes which proved to be very entertaining (and dare I say inspiring?) for a group of women at the table across from us.”
Catch LANKS out on national tour in support of ‘Golden Age’, dates below:
Thu 14th April | The Friendzone @ Brightside – Brisbane
Fri, 15th April | The Treehouse – Belongil, NSW (All Ages)
Sat, 16th April | Shebeen – Melbourne, VIC
w/ Woodes + Yakini
Wed, 27 Apr | The Small Ballroom – Newcastle, NSW
Thu 28th April | Moonshine – Manly, NSW
Fri 29th April | Brighton Up Bar – Sydney, NSW
w/ Woodes + Billy Fox
Words by Tom Hutchins