Who doesn’t love an authentic Chinese and Pan-Asian feast? Luckily, Dumpling Monkey has come into our lives.
Dumpling Monkey, located at the head of Dumbarton road in the heart of Glasgow’s West-End, has only been around since 2013. Yet already, the Chinese and Pan-Asian restaurant has become something of an institution, well known amongst both the local Chinese community and students of nearby Glasgow University alike.
As the name suggest, Dumpling Monkey specialises in juicy and fresh Chinese dumplings, inspired by the cuisine of the north of the country. If you’re visiting for the first time, you need to order these. On any given evening, you can expect Dumpling Monkey to be packed. The atmosphere is bustling and raucous, which is part of the charm. You order at the till (no fumbling about trying to catch the waiter’s eye) and the service is exceptionally quick.
So quick, in fact, that you’ll have hardly returned to your seat when a plate of 10 fresh dumplings, priced at little over a fiver, will be planted in front of you. Combine this with a side dish (rice in a variety of styles, miso soup, wontons, noodles etc.) and a pot of tea (the Oolong is my particular favourite) and you’re all set to sample the authentic experience.
And authentic it is. Only two years after it opened, Dumpling Monkey was voted the 30th best restaurant (of any kind) in the UK and the food is true to proper Chinese cuisine. The dumplings come with a variety of fillings and you can have them fried (known as “pot-stickers”) or boiled (which is a little healthier). There are six different fillings to choose from including a vegetarian option and an enticing “special” filling of prawns, chives and pork (which is simply too good for words).
Dumpling Monkey’s very name indicates the confidence the restaurant has in its signature dish, but the dumplings are far from the only delicious and authentic Chinese food on offer. The restaurant is also known for its steamed buns, which consist of a range of fillings enveloped in exceptionally light and fluffy dough. They’re about the size of a large apple, cost only £1.50 and make for a perfect side dish – you can never have too much food.
Every table provides a little bottle of soy sauce (which goes with pretty much everything) and two spicy hot sauces should you wish to give your meal a bit more of a kick. You can get a pair of chop sticks if you want, but nobody’s judging if you pick up the knife and fork instead. The atmosphere is as relaxed as the food is delicious, it’s really no wonder it’s so popular with students.
But in any case, don’t take my word for it – don’t even trust the heaps of good reviews – just get yourself along. There’s no booking necessary and you won’t be regretting it!
Words: Tom McDonald