In my spare time I host tours. Tours where I bring other bloggers and writers around Richmond, to discover the history and diversity within. Typically it centres around the “Dumpling Trail” and its handy brochure. Both are helpful tools in exploring the island city, through its food. There are many types of dumplings across all cultures, 13 specific to Asian cuisine are highlighted on the tour, across 20 different restaurants.
Each stop is vetted by the Tourism Richmond team for its cleanliness, ability to speak English with an English menu, and their dumplings that are scratch made and never frozen. The result, over 20 delicious ways to enjoy dumplings. And to show how accommodating the tour is, I had the pleasure of hosting a vegetarian blogger and her vegetarian family. The following is what we had. A dumping at each stop, and a couple of dishes to round it out. After all, dumplings are just the introduction, the restaurant itself is worth checking out, along with some of its other dishes.
First stop was “Empire restaurant” for dim sum. Here, we started with their vegetable dumpling filled with green onion and mushrooms. I like mushrooms so found this a nice rendition.
I was eager to show my guests the “Steamed egg yolk buns”, only to learn that my they weren’t a fan of egg yolk.
And here I was unintentionally giving them another serving of it as custard in the “Deep fried creamy egg custard glutinous balls”. I assumed these would be filled with red bean, as is the case for majority of the dim sum destinations. I, on the other hand was happy, and enjoyed this version more. I am a fan of the egg yolk filling from above, but next time will definitely order it like this. Doing so to get the runny yolk within this delightfully crispy fried, chewy shell.
The “Steamed rice rolls with sesame and hoisin sauce” was a favourite, delicious with the salty and sweet peanut butter combination.
The “Smoke bean curd wrap” was filled with diced mushrooms. It had a wonderful smokey flavour to play off the earthiness of the mushrooms. I especially liked the texture of the wrap.
Our second and third destination were chosen for its proximity, and the ability to walk to it easily with a toddler in tow. At “Dinesty” we had their “Steamed green vegetable and egg dumplings”. Chewy dough, pinched closed and shaped like a leaf. The egg gives it some substance and the vinegar dipping sauce amplifies its flavour.
My guests were a fan of the “Pan fried Chinese green onion pancake”, this was also the only item our toddler would eat. He liked it so much that we got another crispy pancake fragranced with green onion, to go.
And for dessert we had “Steamed sesame paste buns”. They were mild in flavour and stuffed full of gritty oozy charcoal coloured pasta.
Our last stop was another 5 minute walk: “Su Hang”. In hindsight we should have started the tour here, given their extensive vegetarian offerings. An entire menu dedicated to meat free options, for easy reading and easy ordering.
Here we tried their “Vegetarian steamed dumplings”, which was similarly filled with green onions and egg, but here the dough was dyed and speckled green like its vegetables within. Comparing the two, I preferred the chewiness of the dough above, but the flavour of the filling here.
Next we had the “Three vegetable spring roll”, your classic julienne vegetables fried within a crunchy wrapper.
And my guests were stoked to find “Vegetarian dan dan noodles” on the menu, so although they were already incredibly full, we had to make room to try it. It was wonderfully chewy noodles flavoured with peanut butter, and topped with soy protein to simulate ground beef. A wonderful rendition that didn’t have me missing meat.
In short, the dumpling trail is for everyone and there are plenty out there for those with specific dietary restrictions. For more information on the trail and how you can carve out your own tour, visit the link below.