Dumplings + Noodles = my favourite two carb-loading Chinese dishes. And at 1 +1 Dumpling Noodles you can order not only dumplings and noodles but lots of other interesting Xinjiang food, a far cry from your run-of-the-mill Cantonese food that often labelled as ‘Chinese’ food in Australia as if it was one huge, homogenous cuisine.
To whit – the one must-have on the menu are the lamb skewers ($2 each, minimum of 4). Many (Han) Chinese turn their nose up at eating lamb as being too smelly but lamb features heavily in Xinjiang as it is a Muslim Uighur province in north-west China.
Thescharred and heavily cumin-ed chunks of lamb were closer to Middle Eastern shish kebabs than what most of us would consider mainstream Chinese food. You can order them with or without chilli and the long sizzling sticks were very tender and moreish.
Now, back to the dumplings and noodles. The picture menu helpfully indicated all the different dumpling options and we ordered pork steamed dumplings ($10 for 15). They were very juicy morsels, with slippery thick skins which cried out for a dose of DIY black vinegar and chilli. I think next time pan-fried would be a better option, just to stave off a little bit of the wateriness in the dish.
The noodles eaten in Xinjiang are wheaten rather than rice-based and at 1 + 1 Dumpling Noodles they are hand made on the premises. The hand stretching bestowed the uneven, knobbly noodles with a delightfully springy chew and they soaked up the spicy chicken stir-fry nicely. I recommend that you order your noodles separately to the meat to reduce the amount of sauce and oil swimming around your plate (and your stomach).
1 + 1 Dumpling Noodles is casual and unpretentious and the glamour factor is negative thanks to the plastic tablecloths, kitschy Chinese New Year decorations and commercial radio blaring from the corner. Don’t be put off by the vacant tables, particularly at lunch time. The service is friendly (especially if you speak Mandarin – the owner had a long animated chat about Xinjiang with my parents), the food is tasty and filling and the prices are cheap. For little ones they also have a high chair and plastic crockery and cutlery.
1+1 Dumpling Noodles, 84 Hopkins St, Footscray (03) 9687 8988
Mon- Sun 11am – 9:30pm