Just a short walk away from the bus station you can find Manchurian, Dundee’s first ever dim sum restaurant. Dim Sum is a style of Chinese cuisine similar to the layout of Spanish tapas, where small dishes are served to share. Usually dim sum is accompanied by hot tea, and it is usually served as a morning to mid-afternoon meal. Here you can order various types of dumplings, steamed buns and other dim sum specialties. If you’re lucky, you can be seated in one of the tables with a rotating tray, or which has recently been brought to my attention known as a Lazy Susan, where you can have easy access to every dish!
I brought two friends along to Manchurian last weekend, and it had exceeded my expectations. The atmosphere was unlike any other restaurant in St Andrews. It was a fast paced and very busy. Waiters were running around with bamboo steamers, noodle dishes and many more curiosities. Although we did have to wait a bit to order, the food was undoubtedly worth it. We decided to order a couple of our dim sum favorites –amongst them the chive and prawn dumplings and shanghai buns (soup dumplings!) However, a big part of the fun was trying new things entirely, such as the char siu cheung fun. This is a rice noodle roll filled with barbeque pork, served with a gracious amount of soy sauce. It was a little bit of a struggle to eat, but it made for good fun with friends. In addition to their dim sum menu, they offer a traditional Chinese menu with full sized portions. We decided to order a stir-fried chow mein and some egg fried rice in addition to the dim sum dishes. Naturally, we were stuffed by the end of the meal. For this literal feast, we only paid 12 pounds per person! One thing that I noticed was that each table around me had entirely different meals. From a glance I saw sizzling stir-fried beef, oodles of noodle soups and golden tofu dishes. I was definitely making other guests uncomfortable by staring at all the different foods they ordered. There is just so much variety and so much to try. I decided right there and then that I would return.
So why is this a big deal? What is being offered here is more than just a meal – it is an experience. It is a gateway to another culture, a change in scenery and an opportunity to try incredible food. It is a great occasion to bring a group of friends to try new flavors and give a little variety to the routine. Whether you have had dim sum or not, you are welcomed to countless tastes and a new atmosphere different to that of St Andrews, all for a very affordable price. For such a fast paced environment, the meal did not feel rushed at all. It was a great time to catch up with friends on the latest drama while escaping the bubble through good food. I already know that when I come back it will be with a larger group of friends, so we can all enjoy the countless options Manchurian has to offer.
Not only that, but your “Dim Sum Dundee Day Trip” offers you the chance to change up your cooking routine. Connected to the restaurant you can find an Asian supermarket attached, where they offer countless Asian food products. It is difficult to find Asian food products that I grew up with here in St Andrews, and I am sure I can speak for many students when I say that. Usually I end up buying from Amazon online, but now I know I have access to much more! One thing that my friend and I took advantage of was the frozen section, where you can find dumplings galore. You can easily throw a dinner party with various dumplings to choose from, and all you have to do is steam them! I came back with two bags of groceries of my favorite food staples. I even impulsively bought a bamboo steamer! It truly was a beautiful site to see.
If you want to walk off the fullness from your meal, you can easily walk over to the new V&A museum. They have constantly changing exhibits that can appeal to a range of different audiences. I had the privilege of seeing the exhibition on Ocean Liners: Speed & Style. Initially, I had a feeling that this would be dull. However, I actually had a great time looking into the lives of cruise ship fashion, technology and society. To my surprise I saw the iconic piece of wood from the Titanic (The boat and not the movie)! So a little dim sum trip to Dundee can spiral into seeing the original floating wood from the Titanic. The opportunities are endless. As bizarre as it may seem, food can serve as a gateway for a milieu of opportunities. I urge you to go out and see for yourself.
Dumplings Party with Friends: Recipe and Guide
My “Dim Sum Dundee Day Trip” inspired me to have a dumpling party with friends! Although frozen dumplings from the Asian food store are readily available, nothing beats making them fresh. Making dumplings can be pretty time consuming when done alone, but it is great fun to do with a group of friends! It can be the perfect excuse to hang out with friends while cutting down your workload of cooking. Here I have a simple dumpling recipe along with a killer sauce to go along with it. It may be a little difficult to get the hang of the folding, but with more practice you can be a pro! There are many different techniques for folding as well as many different shapes to create, so feel free to look up all the different styles and techniques. If you want to make this dumpling party into a full-blown feast, I suggest making a large serving of fried rice or stir-fried noodles to go with it! This activity has become a reoccurring and looked forward to event with my group of friends, so believe me when I say it’ll be a great time!
Pan Fried/Steamed Pork Dumplings:
8 ounces of cabbage
500 grams of ground pork
8 ounces of scallions
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of ginger
1 teaspoon of white pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 packet of dumpling skins (available on amazon!)
- Finely chop cabbage, then lightly salt it
- Put chopped cabbage in strainer, and use your hands to squeeze all of the water out of the cabbage – water will make your dumplings soggy and fall apart!
- Combine pork, scallions, sesame oil, ginger, white pepper in a large mixing bowl
- Get ready to get your hands dirty – use your hands to mix meat mixture until soft and well incorporated with the other ingredients
- Now for the fun part: have a bowl of cold water out on the table – dip your finger into the bowl of water and wet the circumference of the dumpling skins
- Using a spoon, take a small portion of the meat mixture and place it in the center of your dumpling skin
- Fold the sides of the dumpling skin so that both sides come together, but do not shut it yet!
- Taking one side, use your fingers to pinch the sides together. You should have a tightly closed dumpling! This can be done with friends in order to speed up the work process, as well as create a great social activity!
- Once you have all of your dumplings, bring a pan to medium head and add the vegetable oil
Pan Fried Dumplings:
- Place dumplings on the pan, checking for a gold layer on the bottom of the dumplings. This should take 5-10 minutes.
- Once this is achieved, add water to the pan – careful it will get steamy – and place a lid over the pan, the steam will cook the rest of the dumplings. This should take 7 to 8 minutes.
- Check to see if the dumpling skins have softened – feel free to test with a fork or chopstick. Once this is achieved, they are ready to go!
- Prepare boiling water in a pot
- Place dumplings in a bamboo steamer (available at the Asian food store!) line the bottom of the steamer with parchment paper or a remaining piece of cabbage, this is to make sure the dumplings do not stick!
- Place dumplings in bamboo steamer, and place steamer above the pot of boiling water
- After 10 to 15 minutes, check to see if the dumpling skins have softened
- Now they are ready to eat!
Dumpling Dipping Sauce
2 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
2 teaspoons of sesame oil (I prefer putting sambal oelek, available at the asian grocery store in Dundee!)
Using a sharp knife, finely mince garlic
Combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil / sambal oelek in a bowl
Use a fork to whisk until sauce is well incorporated
Serve with dumplings!