In this three part series I travel Christchurch in search of the best vegetarian dumplings, assisted by guest expert (and real vegetarian) Netta Egoz.
It’s nearing the end of our investigation into veggie dumplings and the competition is fierce. The service at Pot Sticker is questionable – they’ve got my order wrong most times I’ve been here, including serving us pork dumplings while doing vegetarian dumpling research – but once the dumps make it to the table it’s worth it.
Pot Sticker’s website boasts local ingredients and the restaurant has an origin story that centres around international food travel and drunken nights. This is definitely the coolest place in town for dumplings.
Taste Transfixed: Thanks for joining me on this dumpling adventure.
Netta Egoz: Oh of course, I’m on a dumpling high at the moment. Monday Jess and Douglas made me mock duck dumplings [she describes them as ‘outrageous’], and then on Wednesday Erica’s mom made me dumplings. They were filled with sweet green pepper and egg in handmade pastry.
TT: So this will be tough competition.
NE: Yeah. I’ll be comparing them to the homemade. Erica’s mom served them with smashed cucumber salad.
TT: Why is it smashed?
NE: You smash the cucumber to drain the water, which allows the dressing (sesame, soy, chilli, garlic) to soak in.
I point out that Pot Sticker also makes pastry by hand (the kitchen is in plain view of the tables) and that their smashed cucumber salad is also delicious. We order one. I ask how it compares to the homemade. I am still dreaming about it but Netta thinks it could use a bit more garlic.
NE: It’s not just the dumplings that are important, the sauces and the salads are what make the dumplings great. I like foods that go well with condiments. It’s like tacos. Simple ingredients, but heaps of salsas. The thing I like about this place is that it has quite a modern set-up, but the dumplings and sauces are quite traditional.
The back of the booths are made of bamboo and the menus hang above with paper lanterns. These dumps have got a lot going on. Mushroom, green onion, tofu, leafy greens. The ingredients are fresh and delicious. These are definitely the biggest dumps, twice the size of China Kitchen and three times the size of Welcome’s.
TT: Do you think that bigger is better when it comes to dumps?
NE: I think you want to get two bites per dump, especially when using chopsticks, so these are probably the biggest you want to go.
They serve the magical trio of sauces (vinegar, garlic chilli oil, and soy), and with bowls for the best mixing and dipping. This alone puts them above and beyond any other place we visited.
NE: It’s all about the sauce.
Netta points out that I’ve mislabeled the vinegar and soy sauce. Once again proving her worth as guest expert.
We were hoping to give the supreme veggie dumpling prize to some yet undiscovered dumpling den, some hole in the wall secret spot deep in the heart of Chinatown. In the end we couldn’t do that because we didn’t visit any undiscovered dumpling dens, and also Pot Sticker really is doing the best veggie dumps in town.
Last minute contender and honorary mention goes to the dumpling bar at Re-Start Container Mall. Their dumps are the perfect size, filled with mushrooms and tofu and veg, and served on a fresh crunchy cabbage salad with the obligatory trio of sauces.
If you want a quick lunch and it’s a sunny day head to Re-Start and eat your dumps on the banks of the Avon River. If you’re out in town and want a cocktail with your dumps, head to Pot Sticker Dumpling Bar. You will not be disappointed either way.