In this three part series I travel Christchurch in search of the best vegetarian dumplings, assisted by guest expert (and real vegetarian) Netta Egoz.
China Kitchen’s frontage states ‘No MSG’ and ‘Best dumplings in town’. Netta jokes that we might not even need to try them but in the end our rigorous investigation methods win over. No one wins the supreme veggie dumpling award that easily.
Netta Egoz: Oh this place! They used to be down an alley off Hereford St.
Taste Transfixed: Yeah, according to the internet, they’re pretty good.
China Kitchen is one of the many restaurants that relocated from the central city to the suburbs after the earthquakes. The dining room is packed and noisy, lots of tables drinking cheap BYO wine. The front of house staff all have matching apple-print aprons and the waitress double checked that egg would be ok in our veggie dumps. Yes it is, but thanks for checking that we’re not vegans. They provide Hello Kitty chopstick holders. You can even buy them as a souvenir from your meal.
NE: There’s no Chinese people here. That’s not a good sign.
TT: I think these people have all come straight from Northlands Mall.
NE: It’s surprising that they even have veggie dumplings though, so kudos for that, most Chinese restaurants don’t. So I went to the premier of ‘Tickled’ last night.
NE: Yeah. It’s about competitive tickling.
TT: I didn’t know that was a thing.
NE: It is. And it’s actually way weirder than that.
That conversation wasn’t really dumpling related, so you’ll have to see the documentary yourselves. The dumplings come out, and they’re big. They’re a bit too doughy for my liking, although definitely not as doughy as Welcome. I’d say a 1:3 dough to filling ratio. They’ve got tofu, cabbage, glass noodles, and egg; but were disappointingly bland. China Kitchen offered chili and soy with a mixing bowl, but were docked points for lack of vinegar or any other sauces. At least they didn’t expect us to mix our sauce on a plate.
The other dishes we ordered were inconsistent. The garlic broccoli was fresh and delicious, but the curry rice used pre-frozen veggie mix. It was reminiscent of something that I might make if I was hungover and hadn’t been grocery shopping in weeks.
At China Kitchen the atmosphere was pleasant and the service was great, but the food was hit or miss. I won’t dispute the ‘best dumplings in town’ claim until I’ve tried their pork dumplings, but we still have some more searching to do for the best veggie dumps in town.