Whenever we walk by Dumpling Darlings at Boat Quay, there is always a queue. On Christmas afternoon, after our staycation at Fullerton, we were lucky to spot the joint empty.
Dumpling Darlings’ first outlet is located at Amoy Street, and this is their second. They don’t have any signboard, merely a neon outline of a dumpling. Cute. The joint specialises in Singapore-styled noodles and—-spoiler alert—dumplings. It is opened by the same owners as Lola’s Cafe.
So Dumpling Darlings is not their first time at the rodeo and it shows. Our experience at Dumpling Darlings was nothing short of stellar.
We walked to the door, looked at the menu, and thought the restaurant was closed because it was unusually empty. We turned around and wanted to leave. A guy (manager?) quickly came out to retain us and showed us to a table. Very attentive of him to notice someone was at the door.
We were shown to our table and immediately, they served us iced water—so that we could remove our masks. How thoughtful! When our food came, they gave us an extra empty bowl to put our prawn shells in.
WHAT WAS HAPPENING? Why was the service so thoughtful and exceptional? Were we still in Singapore? Let’s face it. Singaporean service staff aren’t the most polite, especially when they need to work on a holiday. But the Singaporean service staff at Dumpling Darlings are fantastic. Thoughtful, considerate, attentive, polite, friendly but not encroaching, and chirpy. They were cheerful working on Christmas! Thank you to the service staff working on Christmas, they made our day extremely pleasant.
We were given the a la carte menu and the set lunch menu (starting from $16). Similar items are on both menus, but, of course, set lunch is always more affordable.
The set lunch consists of a choice of noodles, dumplings, and a drink.
Both the Sichuan pork noodles and XO prawn noodles are good, the latter is better. The Sichuan pork noodles tastes like our local bak chor mee except that it has some mala powder. While it could benefit from being spicier, the amount of minced meat led Mr Fitness to exclaim: “all bak chor mee should be this much minced pork.”
The XO prawn noodles, topped with tobiko, is excellent. The noodles are coated with what-seems-to-be intense concentrated prawn stock, and the tiger prawns are huge and fresh. If you do grocery shopping, you’ll know that prawns this size costs at least $1/prawn. The pricing is really worth it. Also: have I mentioned that it tastes amazing?
I read on a blog that Dumpling Darlings specialises in mandu (Korean dumplings) but when I ate them, they are more Japanese-styled dumplings. Japanese dumplings typically have thinner, silkier skins and are folded into a triangular shape. They are more delicate. Korean mandu, which I ate at a famous “Oldboy” shop in Busan, are gigantic and wholly deep-fried, not seared.
In any case, the dumplings are outstanding. The original dumplings (pork) are as they should be: delicate and light and juicy. But the prawn and crab dumplings are even better: they are in this (I want to say) sriracha mayo (?) with curry powder and laksa leaves. The creaminess and spiciness do not overpower the seafood; they accentuate it.
We spent about $45 for two persons. We were deeply satisfied with the food and service. Highly recommended.
86 Circular Road, Singapore 049438
t: +65 8889 9973
11.30am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm, Closed Sun
Ambience / decor: 7/10
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We pay for our own meals and review anonymously unless otherwise stated. Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.
Categories: $20-$40, Asian, Boat Quay, Raffles Place
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