Dirt-Cheap Dumplings

Empress of China Dumpling House food
Ever wanted to treat yourself to a Chinese feast after cramming for a uni assignment but then realised you only had $15 in your account? Same. Well there’s no need to cry into your empty wallet because I’m about to change your life. I’ve gone out and eaten my weight in dumplings and found the top the dumpling houses in Melbourne’s China Town that will fill your belly but won’t break your bank. 

Shanghai Dumpling House 5/5


All I can say is you need to get the mushroom dumplings. Get them fried, get them steamed, get them in soup and get 15 of them because you are going to want to eat these for lunch the next day. Without a doubt Shanghai Dumpling House is my favourite, the dumplings are to die for and the price is absolutely ridiculous. Another favourite of mine is the fried beef dumplings. For some reason they remind me of sausage rolls; but way better. The coating on the outside of the dumpling is like KFC originally recipe, I have absolutely no idea what I’m eating but I love it. They also do $16 all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet if you’re not really feeling the dumplings. Also a little tip, mix the soy sauce with the vinegar and sweet chilli, seriously, you will not regret it.

Shanghai Dumpling House, Image courtesy of Jetsetting Fools


I honestly don’t know how they make them so cheap but I’m not complaining. The service leaves a little to be desired but I can take it with a grain of salt for the taste of their dumplings.  

Empress of China 4.5/5

Empress of China


I don’t usually get pork dumplings but at Empress they have vegetable and pork steamed dumplings and they are amazing. If you’re wanting to splurge slightly you can spend $11.90 on Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce, it’ definitely the best of all three.


This one is extremely popular with the Melbourne Uni students as it epitomises the meaning of dirt-cheap. They average out to be about 40 cents a dumpling at this place, it’s insane. The service is probably the worst out of all five but the dumplings are great. To add to that, you can always get a table and I swear this place never closes. If you’re wanting a late lunch or an early dinner, Empress is definitely your best bet. If it’s good enough for the Melbourne Uni students *cough cough* it’s good enough for me. 

Here’s a little video of me heading to Empress of China. Full credit to Shaggy and Scooby Doo for showing you what went down once I got inside. 


Shanghai Dumpling Village 4/5


The food is sensational and their fried beef dumplings are my favourite in China Town, just trumping Shanghai Dumpling House. I also like the fried mushroom here as well. This dumpling house has my least favourite food of all three, but it is up against some seriously stiff competition. It is still one of the best dumpling houses in China Town and probably one of the most well known. 


Now you’re probably going to have to line up for this one but the turn around in this place is insane so your wait wont be forever and boy oh boy it will be worth it. The prices here are slightly more expensive and when I say slightly I mean like $1 difference but when your student loan has more zeros than I can stick a fork at these things really matter.  The atmosphere in here is amazing and is one of the biggest draw cards for this particular restaurant. It is your definition of a China Town dumpling house and you will be in awe of how many people they can fit, it just goes on and on and on. You sometimes have to share a larger table with another couple if it’s just a few of you so if this isn’t your style just wait until a group of your friends has time to go with you. Biggest draw back for this place is its opening hours, being that it’s closed on a Sunday and has limited opening times for lunch. It also closes at night earlier than the other two dumpling houses. 

Shanghai Dumpling Village, image courtesy of Yelp


So there you have it. My top three dirt cheap dumpling restaurants in Melbourne’s China Town. Dumpling houses are great if you want to go alone, with your partner or a big bunch of friends, it really doesn’t matter. Do yourself a favour and check these places out, you won’t be disappointed.




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