It doesn’t look like much from the outside — but then, that’s the case with many of Glasgow’s best Chinese eateries.
Forget fancy restaurants — if you want a clear indication of quality then the number of Chinese students frequenting the place is often the best marker.
Situated near Glasgow University’s international student building, Dumpling Monkey is clearly well placed to attract those making a new home in Glasgow while looking for a taste of home comforts.
Still, it’s not just the students who are flocking to the place. The word around Glasgow’s ever-growing food scene is that dumplings and bowls of steaming soup are where it’s at — and it’s been whispered that you’ll find some of the best at Dumpling Monkey.
The other half and I stumbled in recently in need of the restorative combination of chilli and bottled Irn Bru (full fat, if you please). It was last month, the day after the general election (it all seems so far away now) — so stumbled is all too accurate.
Having both been on the late shift the night — and morning — before, we were in need of fuel, and plenty of it.
Dumpling Monkey is a functional, no frills kind of restaurant; clean, sparse tables decorated with only an array of chilli condiments and basic wooden chopsticks.
It’s not a criticism — the food is the star attraction here, and those condiments only help to make traditional dumplings, bao zi buns and noodle soups come alive.
Perhaps a bit groggy from the night before, the OH and I ordered far too much; a plate of pork and chinese leave dumplings and another of the special — both pot sticker; the fried, rather than boiled, variety.
With a close Chinese link in the family (somewhat disguised by the name Loney), I consider myself, rightly or wrongly, a bit of an expert on dumplings. These were excellent; just-out-of-the-oil hot, crisp on the outside and packed with savoury pork or sweet prawn on the inside.
If you’ve never tried dumplings before, then here’s where to start.
The OH opted for a soup noodle dish with brisket, and was presented with a sizeable bowl of clear broth, green veg and tender beef. More aromatic than all out spice, it was more of an acquired taste than the chilli and pepper spices you’d expect — but tasty.
On my side, hot and sour wonton was a hefty bowl of heavenly soup; soft pork and ginger wontons falling apart to the touch, complemented perfectly by that savoury, tangy broth. After a night of highs and lows, and plenty of caffeine, it was just about enough to restore me to full strength.
It may be all the way over in the westend — but a trip to Dumpling Monkey is heartily recommended, whether you’re in need of a catch-all cure (that Sunday afternoon hangover perhaps?) or just in search of authentic Chinese food, no frills attached.
121 Dumbarton Road
0141 583 8300