How now, pork bao?
I love a good Xiao Long Bao. There’s nothing like squashing a whole one in your mouth (hopefully not burning yourself to oblivion in the process) and having a fantastic pork stock burst out along with the pork mince.
That’s what attracted me to Jolin on Dominion Road. Rather than waiting for the Xiao Long Bao trolley to roll around at Yum Char, I can order it off the menu from these guys.
Now, if you’re used to the flavourings at the likes of China, Grand Park, and North Sea Village, you may be disappointed with these. They’re definitely on the sweet side, the same with the deep fried pork buns and dumplings. While it’s jarring for me too, there’s something endearing about the experience. Mrs Peckish isn’t for it though. Sometimes you’ll get that same sense of line stepping at yum char, like the glazed barbeque pork buns and pastries. It’s like someone took a sprinkling of Baker’s Delight type sweetness and tucked it under the shirt of the savoury so you don’t notice until the last minute. Be prepared to have split juries on these ones. Between the deep fried dumplings (not pictured, we had those on a previous visit) and buns, I’d recommend the buns. They come with this golden sesame crust on the hull, little crunchy barnacles that add an extra dimension of texture and taste to the experience. Be prepared for the heaviness of the dumplings and buns as well. They’ll knock back most regular appetites, and even some more robust ones.
I can more easily recommend the pork and veges won ton soup and dry noodle with pork mince topping. As you’ll be able to see the won ton soup is generous with the won ton, but you can’t see how light and flavourful the broth is. It’s like bobbing gently in an old fishing boat in the South China Sea with some classical Chinese music in the background. A sensation that washes over you and is refreshing and soothing at the same time. I was sneaking spoonfuls of this out of Mrs Peckish’s bowl, and was grateful when she offered up a couple of beached won tons towards the end of the meal.
The dry noodle with pork mince topping was the quiet star of the day for me. I was a little disappointed at first that there wasn’t as much mince as was pictured on the menu, but after mixing it all through the noodles, I discovered how far a little went. It does the job that a good spaghetti Bolognese does, without needing as much meat to do it with, or the cheese. If you’re not familiar with Chinese cooking, it’s a fun game of hide and seek trying to pick out the individual flavours.
At $34.80 for the lot pictured, some of which is chilling in the fridge as I write this, Jolin offers plenty of hearty food for the price. Try as I might, I was forced into that old move from eating martial arts, defeated stance:
Oh, you’re still reading? Here’s a little something for the extra credit hounds, trivia fonts, and lovers of curiosities among you. On the menu below you’ll see a couple of items that were mysteries to us:
Deep Fried Oil Stick – two up from the bottom (for $2.50? So cheap… I imagine?) no idea what this is.
And the last item on the list that’s handwritten and has no English translation. What is this, are we missing out on something?
Jolin Shanghai Restaurant
248 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden.