A selection of our most popular dumpling flavours, all wrapped up in a nice little package.
• 2x Cantonese Chicken & Coriander (FR)
• 2x Shanghai Pork & Savoy Cabbage (FR)
• 2x Prawn and Garlic Chives
• 1x Nepalese Spiced Lamb & 5 Veges
• 1x Korean Sesame Beef & Mung Bean sprouts
• 1x Japanese Six-Mushroom
• 1x Spinach, Tofu & Bok Choy
(FR) denotes Free Range meat used.
Before we get into my review, I will mention four things to keep in consideration before you read my review:
1) I do not eat seafood, so I can't comment on the 'Crystal Prawn and Garlic Chives' variety.
2) I love meat. If I could survive on a diet of nothing but meat, I totally would.
3) I have never had dumplings before.
4) I have never used a steamer before.
With that all out in the open, let's get into the review. First thoughts when I saw the packaging was that it was small. The box is maybe 15cm x 10cm x 5cm; much smaller than the average frozen meal container. This is potentially due to the packaging only containing one serving (240g) of dumplings. The packaging itself is appealing to the eye. Composed of a reasonably strong corrugated cardboard (the small size helps with the robustness) with all diagrams, ingredients, and instructions printed in a single colour directly on the box, there is no unnecessary stickers, lamination, or plastic. This outer packaging is completely recyclable. It isn't even contaminated by the food, because there is a separate plastic pouch inside.
While the inner plastic pouch is less than ideal, it is a necessary evil, as it prevents the product from freezer burn, keeps it fresh for longer, keeps the sauce separate from the dumplings, and as mentioned above, prevents contaminating the outer packaging. There is a lot of information involved in the packaging, from diagrams to identify the different flavours of dumplings inside, cooking instructions and nutritional information. The plastic pouch again comes in handy here, as you can take the time to read all the information and leave the dumplings in the freezer so they remain frozen.
Despite having never eaten dumplings before, or used a steamer, the process was extremely simple and easy to follow. With only four sentences to read, it is a recipe that anybody could follow. In less than 10 minutes from the time I took the dumplings out of the freezer, they were ready to eat. In hindsight, I would recommend following the full cooking instructions and pan frying the dumplings after steaming. Only steaming them, leaves you with a slightly rubbery texture.
As is marked on the side of the package, each flavour of the dumpling was prepared differently, with a unique design to make it easy to differentiate. This was great for me as I don't eat seafood, and I could separate those out with ease.
I won't go into too much detail about my opinions of each flavour individually, but I found that many of the flavours lacked strength in flavour; the 'Cantonese Free-Range Chicken and Coriander', the 'Shanghai Free-Range Pork and Savoy Cabbage', and the 'Korean Sesame Beef and Sprouts' all lacked the flavour of meat. It could possibly be put down to their size, (240g divided by 10 dumplings is only 24g each), but both the flavour and texture of the meat was absent in all three. You may as well name them 'Coriander', 'Cabbage' and 'Sesame Seeds'. I also found the vegan 'Spinach, Tofu, and Bok Choi' variety also lacked any form of flavour.
On the other end of the spectrum were my two favourites. The other vegan option, the 'Japanese Six Mushroom', and the 'Nepalese Spiced Lamb and Five Veges'. Mushroom is what I would describe as the meat of the vegetable world (let's ignore the fact that it's a fungus and not a plant), and has a very distinctive flavour and scent. This made it a very enjoyable variety that was pumped full of flavours. The spiced lamb variety had a great texture, that was between that of beef mince and vegetable falafel. With the mixture of spices, it was like eating a miniature lamb samosa, an experience which I loved.
With free-range meat, and being hand-made, You can see why the price is higher, but there are definitely areas where they are lacking in flavour, with double ups in the box being the less flavourful bunch (can I say flavour any more times?) Handy as a taster, but not really something that would be a frequent spend. At nearly $20 for a single persons serving, it is certainly a luxury item. That being said, I was certainly feeling full after eating such a small meal (compared to my usual diet). If I could actually by a box of 10 or 16 of the spiced lamb or six mushroom varieties, there is no doubt that I would do so. But alas they are not available like that.
Seeing as we can't pick our own mix of dumplings online as it is a frozen product, stock more "single-flavour" boxes! Let me eat the flavours I want without having to but 8 others that I don't want. It was an experience trying these dumplings for the first time, and I hope to get to try some more great flavours in the future.
I've always loved a good dumpling and nothing beats the dumplings you can enjoy at a good Chinese restuarant. I was very excited to see if these dumplings would match up with those I can get in some of my favourite restaurants.
Firstly I loved the box. Its as natural as the product within and such a nice change from lots of plastic. It is completely covered with instructions and information so I spent a bit of time reading it. I love that the dumplings are all natural with no nasties at all. These are about as quality as you can get and I was excited to see that reading the serving size 1 box is one serving!
I duly decided I wasn't being greedy and cooked up a whole box for my dinner.
To be honest a whole box was probably a bit much for me but they all tasted so good. I appreciated that there are cute little pictures on the side so I knew what each dumpling was. This box had seven different flavours of dumplings and is my favourite box of the range. Two free range chicken and coriander, two crystal prawn and garlic, two pork and cabbage and then one of each of Korean sesame beef and sprouts, Japanese six mushroom, Nepalese spiced lamb and vegetables and spinach, tofu and bok choy. I steamed these and then ate them. I loved the dipping sauce that comes with the dumplings is the perfect size and very fresh and tasty. I couldn't have a favourite flavour with the dumplings as they all tasted so good. The flavours were very distinct with each of them and they were the perfect pop in your mouth size.
I would definitely recommend these if you want a selection of dumpling flavours and want dumplings that taste great without any additives. I appreciated that these were a guilt free dinner that made both my taste buds and my stomach sing with contentment. The price however would stop me buying these. They are a lot cheaper to buy at my favourite dumpling restaurant and to be honest I would probably only throw these in my trolley for half the price. If the price isn't a barrier however then these are well worth having in the freezer.
So... dumplings. Not high on the list of "sexy food to look at" but I have to admit that the variety of shapes and colours was as pleasing to the eye as the flavours and textures were to my mouth. Having such a clear and distinct difference between the designs made it very easy for me to tell the ones I was keen to try from those I was hesitant about. I invited a friend over to help me try some - I have a mild but unpleasant reaction to mushrooms, and I'm not really a fan of the texture of tofu - so it was good to get a second opinion... even if it did mean sharing some of the really tasty ones. We agreed to have 1 each of the doubles, and cut the singles in half.
The Chicken and Pork dumplings, I have already covered in other reviews, but I have to add here that I am now quite the fan of the Nepalese Spiced Lamb dumplings - they are the most "traditional" looking dumpling being a rounded ball with the top pinched closed. The slight mustard colour also gives it away, and also lifts it away from the typical "pale white blob" you find in Chinese dumpling houses. The flavour was almost Morccocan with the warm spices and smooth flavours - so very, very more'ish!
I also really enjoyed the Korean Sesame Beef, though I couldn't taste the typical nuttiness of the mung bean sprouts at all... which did disappoint me a little as that is a flavour I really do enjoy. Still, it was a delight to eat and the texture was amazing. While not being a big fan of seafood, especially crustacea, I admit I was pleasantly surprised by the Crystal Prawn dumpling - the triangular shape made it very easy to eat with chopsticks, but again - missing flavours! I couldn't find any indication of the garlic chives at all.
On the other side of this was the Spinach, Tofu and Bok Choy... I simply couldn't get past the first bite. This is entirely down to my dislike of Tofu, I am certain, and for those who do like it, this is likely to be one you will enjoy far more than I. My dining partner was able to eat the other half without trouble but also agreed it wasn't her favourite. That title went to the Japanese 6 Mushroom dumpling. I was told afterwards that she would have happily eaten an entire serving of just that one on its own... so though I can not speak to it myself, it appears to be a hit for some.
Overall, though this box is expensive - in some places it is the dearest of the range - you certainly do get what you pay for. Hand-made is always going to carry a higher price tag than machine-made, and the quality of these dumpling is matched only by their size - the largest retail-available dumplings I have come across. Easily twice the size of any of the many dumplings I have reviewed on here, that's for sure! Well worth exploring, if you prefer quality food made with care and attention to detail, and for those who want to get a sampler of the range, these are the dumpling you are looking for.
I wasn't sure how my family would react to these dumplings as they weren't too fond of the last lot of dumplings that I had served up. I was keen to try them as the different varieties sounded very appealing. I liked that it stated on the box which varieties you were getting two of and which you were getting just one of. With most variety packs it is hit and miss what you mixture you receive. I did receive exactly what was stated on the box. Each variety was a different shape so they were easy to identify.
The dumplings were so quick and easy to prepare. 8-10 minutes in the steamer and they were ready. It was hard deciding which to choose first but in the end it didn't matter as I ate the whole box by myself. I think my favourite one would have to be the crystal prawn and garlic chives, although I really enjoyed the Nepalese spiced lamb and five vegetables along with the pork and cabbage.The sauce was too strong for me and overpowered the delicate flavours of the dumplings, I preferred to have the dumplings by themselves.
The price means that I won't be buying this very often but it will be the ideal alternative to takeaways for me or as a platter (a few boxes) at a dinner party. I will certainly be buying it again.
To be honest, I was overwhelmed by the logistics of checking out this product. When I do food reviews I always like to have some friends or family members to help me out as people react differently to some flavours, and it is useful to have a balanced reaction. Because I wanted to try them all for myself, however, I opted for just one other person to share this box with me. We agreed that we would have one each of the varieties that were doubled up, and would cut each of the single varieties in half so we could be sure to taste everything.
Once that was decided, we cooked them according to the instructions on the box (ten minutes to the second for the steaming, and five minutes for the searing in a pan - the box suggested 12-15 minutes but that would have been too long; that would have left us with glowing embers!) and sat down to do the tasting. We placed the pottle of dipping sauce on the plate with the dumplings, and organised a second bowl of water to rinse our fingers between dumplings! No forks or chopsticks for us; dumplings are finger food second to none.
We tried each flavour at the same time and stopped to evaluate it before moving on to the next. Luckily the dumplings had unique shapes so it was easy to work out which was which just by checking out the guide printed on the side of the packet. This was the first time we had tried House of Dumplings products so all the flavours were completely new to us. We started with the "familiar" flavours, pork and chicken, and enjoyed both equally. The coriander helped to bring out the flavour of the chicken, giving it a mildly exotic tone, and the pork, while strong on its own, was enhanced by the addition of cabbage which added texture and colour.
Next we tried the Korean sesame beef. It had a satisfyingly chewy texture and quite a mild flavour. Neither of us could really taste the sprouts or sesame content but it was pleasant enough anyway. We moved on to mushroom, which was strong and satisfying without being too dramatic. Both of us thought it was good that a vegan option was included. There was another vegan option too - spinach, tofu and bok choy - which had a deliciously light texture and a lovely combination of flavours. We were sorry there was only one in the packet!
On to the last two: first, Nepalese lamb which had a curry aftertaste that both of us loved. The lamb itself was mild with the included vegetables and spices adding texture and a brownish colour but not changing the flavour noticeably. And finally, our favourite - crystal prawn. This was magnificent, making a great change from the usual red meat or chicken fillings. They were nice both dipped in the sauce and eaten plain, and the garlic chives were the perfect complement. There were two of these in the packet so we did get a whole one each, but I could have eaten another dozen without any difficulty.
Overall impression? A great product, and what a good idea to include a variety pack in the range so consumers can check out which flavours they like best. These products are expensive so you would not want to buy a variety that you did not especially like - much better to try out a small quantity first. We liked the whole deal: quality food which is as good as you would buy fresh, but which has the added advantage of being able to live in the freezer till it is needed; and amazing packaging which has been clearly produced by someone who is not only an artist but also has a sense of humour.
Running on lack of sleep, parent/teacher interviews tonight we needed something quick and yummy. What could be easier then steaming some Dumplings and frying up some vegetables with rice? The box carries ten different dumpling flavours and they sounded perfect. This is the first time I have attempted to cook Dumplings at home and reading the instructions it sounded nice and easy. Using grease proof paper I lined the steamer and place it into a pan of water for nine minutes, (the instructions say 8 - 10 minutes so I opted for the middle). In the mean time I fried up some rice and added vegetables and in less than 15 minutes I had dinner plated up.
One of my pet peeves is to have slimy dumplings and when ever we get them from the local takeaway place that is how they come and I can not stomach them so I was a little concerned about how these would work out. I plated them on a tray so that everyone could trial them while I plated up the fried rice with vegetables. I then took a little nibble from each corner so I could trial them all before the rest of the family bounced on them and I have to say 'no slim' they tasted fantastic and the consistency was perfect and so much flavour..
This particular box has a mixture of flavours, there is a break down of all the flavours on the side of the box and it really does help. I pointed out what each one was before everyone grabbed the ones they wanted - well they were suppose to do what I had done and just nibble a bit of it but before I could blink my youngest had stomached both of the Crystal Prawn and Garlic Chives before I could even stop her. So two family members missed out on that one and it was my favourite one also. Actually truth be told I enjoyed all of them even the Spinach, Tofu and Bok Choy which I thought I wouldn't.
Looking at it I thought this would be a nice date night dish for my husband and myself each having our own box each as they are relatively quick to prepare, but if I am honest the price does scare me a little as we can get one dozen dumplings for $10. But in saying that I prefer the taste of these ones which is rather funny as my husband prefers the other way. Something I will be keeping my eye on as I am keen to have again maybe a nice lunch by myself while no one is home - the possibilities are endless.
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