Just for fun

The Best Frozen Dumplings from Asian Grocery Stores in Australia

dumpling g434de2ef1 1920

Back in 2020 during the first wave of COVID and lockdown here in Sydney, Australia, it was uncertain when any normality would return to day-to-day life. When would we be able to go back out and enjoy meals with friends at restaurants? What am I going to do now with all this extra time? Frozen or take-away food became a natural outlet to spend my time & money.

One product I always went back for was frozen dumplings from my local asian grocer. But it was always a gamble which brand to pick! There’s so many, all at similar price points, and you just end up grabbing say the cheapest bag, or the last bag that you grabbed that seemed “alright”, or one your friend recommends because they’ve always had that one as well. To move beyond just picking a particular dumpling brand that seemed “alright” last time, I decided to go through and purchase every single dumpling brand from my local Tong Li Supermarket.

To keep things consistent, I only purchased frozen pork and chive dumplings, only prepared them pan-fried, and only looked at dumplings available at my local Tong Li store. I choose to enjoy my dumplings with some Chinkiang Black Vinegar and Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Style Chilli Oil.

Note that I tasted and rated all these dumplings back in mid-2020 so they may have changed their dumplings since!

Each of the brands were compared against each other by Taste, Juiciness, Skin and Size. I’ve explained a bit more below what these mean to me, and how important they are.

AttributeWeightingDescription
Taste30%The dumpling itself needs to taste good! My own personal measure for how “delicious” this is which factors in seasoning, meaty taste, how pronounced the chives are, and how well it all goes together.

Perfect delicious taste would be a 10/10
Juiciness30%Let’s face it, a dry dumpling is a bad dumpling. Too much juice and we’re moving into Xiao Long Bao territory as well. I’m not expecting a bucket load of soup, I’d want there to be some and the meat itself to be not dry.

Striking the right balance would be a 10/10
Skin25%If the skin of a dumpling is too thick, it’s going to feel really doughy and ruin the whole dumpling experience. If the skin is too thin, it’s likely going to tear apart easily and there’ll be little structural integrity. The taste of the skin also shouldn’t be too doughy as well but nicely complement the filling. The skin also affects the cooking process too – it should hold up! For these reasons it’s nearly just as important as Taste and Juiciness!

The skin fully complementing and enhancing the dumpling, and holding up during the cooking process would be a 10/10
Size of dumpling15%Less important as flavour is king. But I’d want each to not be too small or too big.

Not too small & not too big (good size for 1 or 2 bites) would be a 10/10.

At my local Tong Li Supermarket, there were 7 different brands to compare.

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ABC Pastry

ABC PASTRY PORK n CHIVE DUMPLINGS 600G – Trin's Asian Mart
ABC Pastry Shanghai Pork & Chives Dumplings. Unfortunately I couldn’t find my own picture for this one!
TasteJuicinessSkinSizeWeighted Final Score
88857.55

A solid dumpling. A bit on the smaller size, but pan fries and boils well as well!

This was my go-to dumpling brand before this experiment – and it came down to a respectable score of 7.55 out of 10.

天津食坊 (Tianjin Restaurant)

image 8
Tianjin Style Pork & Chives Dumplings
TasteJuicinessSkinSizeWeighted Final Score
45675.25

Way too salty which overpowered the flavour of the dumpling.

This wasn’t that juicy and thinking about it makes me thirsty!

I would steer clear of this – coming down to a score of 5.25 out of 10.

全家福 (JQF)

image 9
JQF Chives & Pork Dumplings
TasteJuicinessSkinSizeWeighted Final Score
68885.25

Taste was delicious but erring on the saltier side. Meat portion inside was decent. The skin was pretty thin, but it was decently sized.

The taste really pulled the score of this one down to a score of 5.25 out of 10.

北京韭菜水饺 (Beijing Dumplings)

image 11
Peking Chives Pork Dumplings
TasteJuicinessSkinSizeWeighted Final Score
78877.55

The taste was quite nice, but mouthfeel of meat wasn’t very meaty – was a bit on the softer side.

The skin also cracked a bit during the cook. Not sure if this is because of the skin or because it was slightly defrosted from the travel home from Tong Li then immediately cooking it.

Another respectable dumpling with some slight areas of improvement coming down to a score of 7.55 out of 10.

Sun Circle

image 12
Sun Circle Pork Chive Dumplings
TasteJuicinessSkinSizeWeighted Final Score
64575.30

The taste was just OK, and it didn’t feel meaty at all.

Not juicy, the skin burnt really easily when cooking which was odd, however the size of each dumpling was decent.

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The packaging was relatively nicer on this relative to the others. Does this mean fancier packaging is compensating for a worse than average dumpling?

A disappointing dumpling coming down to a score of 5.30 out of 10.

Hakka

image 13
Hakka Pork Dumplings with Chives
TasteJuicinessSkinSizeWeighted Final Score
75987.05

Hakka is one of those famous brands that would usually be a go-to for people so I had relatively high expectations going into this. These were also the most expensive dumplings costing about 50% more by weight!

The skin crisped up perfectly and was nice and thin – easily the best skin I’ve had so far!

The meat has a good mouth feel, could taste the meat and chives which were seasoned to perfection.

Lack of juiciness was a big let down. It wasn’t dry in the middle, just not juicy which affects the savouriness and enjoyment of the dumpling filling.

Overall a solid dumpling coming to a score of 7.05 out of 10. As the price is 50% higher than others, the value just isn’t there when the rating has already been beaten by others!

Fu Yuan Food

image 14
Fu Yuan Food Chive & Pork Dumplings
TasteJuicinessSkinSizeWeighted Final Score
76876.95

Unfortunately I forgot to type in comments for this one 🙁 Would be a bit of a stretch if I tried to remember now about 1.5 years later!

Final score comes down to 6.95 out of 10.

King of Buns

image 15
King of Buns Chives & Pork Dumplings
TasteJuicinessSkinSizeWeighted Final Score
89788.05

The filling was seasoned really well with an excellent mouth feel. Delicious.

This was by far the most juicy dumpling! It struck the right balance and definitely enhances the overall experience.

The skin was a bit fragile and tended to break a bit when being fried. Size wise, it hits the sweet spot of 1-2 bites per dumplings.

Coincidentally, this was the last set of dumplings I had and it came out with the highest final score of 8.05 out of 10.

Conclusion

The winner from all this is the King of Buns Chives & Pork Dumplings. They’re my favourite and I’ve been loyal to this brand and their dumplings since!

For this experiment I’ve only cooked them all pan-fried – perhaps they’d rank differently if I were to boil them instead.

Let me know your experience with the dumplings or if there are any other brands that you think are really good!

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