Photos by Dan Haber
It seems that everyone in Montreal has something to say about dumplings, though most of the time it’s a lament that, when it comes to this staple of Chinese cuisine, we’re no New York City.
Despite our comparative rookie status here, there are a couple places people swear by for the best warm, pillowy meat- and veggie-filled bites of goodness. One of those places is Chinoiseries & Dumplings, a recently opened dumpling joint/dépanneur in the Plateau on Chabot St., just above Mont-Royal.
Owner Claude Brulé lived in Hong Kong for 20 years before marrying a Chinese woman and moving back to Montreal. After living out in the countryside for a while, they decided to head back to the city and open up shop serving what Brûlé loved most about Chinese cuisine: dumplings.
For now, the menu is pretty simple, offering three kinds of dumplings — pork, shrimp and chives, pork and bok choy, and chicken and bok choy — but Brûlé said they plan to add more once they get the ball rolling. They also offer a variety of teas, with their Chinese black iced tea being an irresistible choice in this hot weather. While it runs $3.80 a glass, it’s a healthy serving using good quality tea, fresh lemon and sugar cane.
We opted for a popular special that included nine dumplings — three of each kind — and a soup for $10.10. The soup was a simple chicken broth with baby bok choy, and although the broth itself was fresh and delicate, it needed a good hit of salt or soy sauce to perk it up.
Meanwhile, the dumplings were served with a refreshing pickled daikon and carrot salad, a soy and sesame oil mixture and a little paper cup filled with a deliciously potent chili oil. The dumplings themselves were steamed and then pan-fried on the bottom, lending the dough casing a nice firmness and a little bit of fried crunch.
Moist and plump, my favorites were the well-seasoned and juicy pork and chicken. Although the pork, shrimp and chives option was a bit overcooked, this epic dumpling combination has a lot of potential. I would not hesitate to come back to give it another shot.
With the dépanneur side of this endeavour replete with Chinese teas, hot sauces, noodles, a selection of Quebec dairy products, a variety of frozen dumplings to make at home and soon-to-come desserts, not only are the shop and its owners charming, but the food is pretty good, too.
Chinoiseries & Dumplings
4509 Chabot St.
Mon-Sun: 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
For other tried and true dumpling experiences, check out these places that usually rank at the top of most aficionados’ lists:
Though it recently opened a second location on St-Laurent, many swear that the original on Lincoln is still better. The lamb and coriander dumplings are a popular choice, and they come by the dozen, steamed or fried. • Two locations: 1676 Lincoln & 1019 St-Laurent
The Noodle Factory
Although it gives the impression it’s pumping out dumplings at an industrial rate, this spot is actually quite small and quaint. If you’re in the mood for something other than their infamous dumplings, they have plenty of different handmade noodle dishes to choose from. • 1018 St-Urbain ■