MELBOURNE has a fascination with a dim sim shop at the South Melbourne Markets at a corner of Cecil and Coventry streets. This hole-in-the-wall dim sim canteen, which serves customers queuing from the street is regarded as one of Melbourne’s “culinary institutions” having been established in 1949. It isn’t unusual for “hole in the wall” food establishments to gain iconic status – only last November Hong Kong’s Tim Ho Wan (another small, non-descript dim sum canteen), gained a Michelin Star.
The South Melbourne Market dim sims (affectionately named ‘dimmies’ by the locals), come steamed or fried. They are round, slightly smaller than a cricket ball and cost $1.60. Turn over is high (because of their popularity) and when you order they come straight out of the steamer or the oil and placed in a paper bag.
My steamed, almost ball-like dim sim was packed full of seasoned pork and shredded cabbage. You can top it with a variety of sauces (soy, oyster, chili, etc). It was wrapped in a 2mm thick doughy dumpling skin. The meat was too salty for my liking, the skin too doughy and the filling uninspiring. It’s flavour reminded me of the average commercial frozen dim sims you order alongside your fish and chips at the local fish and chip shop. I wasn’t game to try the spring rolls.
The verdict: Salty and uninviting. Because of its size and contents it is filling. Something you would grab to line the stomach before you go out for a big night. I doubt Michelin critics will be lining up for one of these ‘dimmies’.
Ate there: Friday, 19 March 2010.