These rainbow coloured dumplings have been making their way around social media lately. They aren’t just coloured for the sake of trend or for the ‘gram, each one actually represents a different flavour. Something we would get better acquainted with, during our visit to the aptly named, “9 Dumplings”.
Located within Robson’s Public Market, this food court stall is bringing attention to the building and area. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have known that this indoor Chinese market place existed. It is much like the one in Richmond, but with less of everything, and no fresh produce or seafood for sale.
You can’t miss the stall with photos of their colourful dumplings splashed across the awning. You pay and order at the counter, and they bring you your meal once it’s done. Seating is within the self serve food court.
They have 9 different dumplings available, you pick and choose the ones you want by their filling. To help guide you, the menu’s number corresponds to its colour. The easiest way to figure out which one you like best is to order their “sampler”. 9 dumplings for $9.99, otherwise it is 6 pieces for $5.99. You can have them steamed, boiled, in soup, or covered in a spicy sauce. The former most is the one you see splashed all over social media.
So we ordered the sampler steamed and in soup. Served in a large bamboo steamer, and bobbing in a giant bowl of broth. You can also choose any of their soup noodles and add any dumplings to it. Their non-dumpling options are from their “Nine Dishes” menu, a restaurant they use to run on Kingsway. Learning this, I knew I would have to come back to try that; because today we had more than enough food. Our order of double dumplings came with a side and dessert, and was plenty of food for two.
Our order came with a side and some dessert. The spicy bean noodle salad had a fun slippery texture to slurp up. Spicy and refreshing it offered a tangy break from the heavily flavoured dumplings.
The red bean soup was a typical dessert to end on. A slightly sweet liquid with grainy beans at the bottom. I like the taste of it, just not the texture of the soup, (as is the case for all its renditions).
For the best presentation order the steamed dumplings. Each dumpling was very distinct without sauces to lean on. And it was all better, once dipped in to some vinegar for a balancing tang.
The yellow dumpling was lamb and zucchini filled. Like all the others, it was filled with juices; so be warned, they do squirt. I couldn’t tell the protein was lamb, but the zucchini was unmistakable. Out of personal preference, this was one of my favourite dumplings.
The dumpling that was one half black and the other half white was filled with a mix of squid and pork meat, along with chives. It had a unique flavour to it, something not familiar. Maybe it was from the chives, or maybe from some squid ink?
The all black dumpling was a mushy mix of scallop and fish. I didn’t like it for its texture or fishy taste; but here the vinegar dip helped.
The all white dumpling was familiar, much like the colour of its shell. Pork and chives, emphasis on the chives.
The red one was pork and green pepper. I never had the distinct flavour of peppers in a dumpling before, and don’t think I liked it much.
I would have thought the pork and kimchi dumpling would be the one dyed red instead, but it was all green. It was packed full of spicy flavour, making it the most memorable and the one I liked the most.
The dumpling that was half green and half white was the pork and cabbage. Another familiar combination that was tasty.
I also liked the purple vegetarian dumpling. It was well sauced with a good mix of vegetables in a salty barbecue-esque flavour.
The one I liked the least was the blue pork and cilantro dumpling, but that is more out of preference and my dislike of cilantro for its soapy flavour and wilted leaf texture.
I wasn’t a big fan of the soup version. It was like a boiled down version of the vinegar dip. Okay, but not quite what I had in mind when I ordered dumplings in soup. I imagined a more clear broth, similar to wonton soup with noodles. Whereas this wasn’t the kind of soup you drink, as is.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I would like to explore more of this food court stall. I like what I have seen and tried so far, enough to come back. Perhaps some of their noodle in soup dishes, and a few to add some dumplings into. Don’t deny your cravings.
Robson Public Market
204-1610 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G 1C7