On a whim last night, the husband-man and I decided to make a break for it and eat somewhere that wasn’t wither next door or Mexican food (yes, I know, gasp) – so we decided to brave a little traffic and head into the city to munch. Unfortunately, we had no idea where we wanted to eat. After a little searching on the internet and take Nan’s irrevocable craving for 24 hour yum cha into account, we decided to head out to Happy Little Dumplings at The Barracks.


The Dumpling Junkie Pack

The Happy Little Dumplings store at The Barracks is actually the newest of the existing four stores – and is absolutely adorable. Serving up handmade dumplings made from free-range and premium produce, we knew we were in the right place when we rocked up to their friendly looking counter. After a little scouting on their website, we found that their menu actually differs from other locations – there’s quite a wide variety of dumpling, soup and bun choices – but when we ordered, we decided to stick with three of their dumpling packs since our minds seem to be set on Dumpling Mode.



I’ll Shu Mai If You Shu Mai Yours Pack

1.    Dumpling Junkie Pack $12.00 1 each: chili duck, pork belly, chick shu mai, pork shu mai, pork chive and chili chicken

  • Chinese Chilli Duck Dumpling – duck, shallots, carrot, chilli
  • Pork Belly & Bok Choy – slow cooked pork belly, bok choy
  • Chicken Shu-Mai – chicken, shallots, carrot, mushroom, water chestnut
  • Pork Shu-Mai – pork, shallots, carrot, mushroom, water chestnut
  • Pork & Chive – pork, garlic, chives
  • Chilli Chicken – chicken, chilli, garlic, thai basil

2.    I’ll Shu Mai If You Shu Mai Yours Pack $13.00 3 chicken, 3 pork (gourmet dim sim)

  • Chicken Shu-Mai – chicken, shallots, carrot, mushroom, water chestnut
  • Pork Shu-Mai – pork, shallots, carrot, mushroom, water chestnut

3.    Seafood…& Eat It Pack $13.00 3 prawn, 3 prawn & coriander

  • Prawn Har Gow – plump prawns & a hint of bamboo
  • Prawn & Coriander Har Gow – plump prawns & a hit of coriander

The dumplings, shu mai and har gow were delicious and moist – and in the larger part, the shu-mai actually reminded me of my mother’s own pork shu-mai. The flavours were quite similar – especially with the prodigious use of chinese mushrooms. The chilli-based versions of the dumplings were a refreshing take on flavour. To be honest, I’ve never tried anything like them before  and was duly impressed by the spiciness, however found the skin on the dumplings, in general, to be a little on the thick side.


Seafood…& Eat It Pack



A legit prawn!

Surprisingly, unlike yum cha versions of prawn har gow that are like gelatinous pile of mystery prawn encased in a sticky casing, there were plump full prawns inside the har gow. Nan was in his own prawn heaven. Just a little reminder though – the seafood options will take a little longer to prepare, since they like to keep them fresh (fair enough) – and they steam them up for you while you wait.


We also wanted to pick up and try some of their super cheap and delicious-sounding soup options but they had sold out for the day. Which was a shame since it was actually mighty cold. Those who are familiar with The Barracks will know that it consists of a few medium-large restaurants, a movie cinema, Coles and an alley-way filled with smaller eateries that spill out into the main area. Unfortunately, this main area is a little like a funnel of cold air –  so to say it was chilly last night was a bit of an understatement (but then again, I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to cold weather).


Happy Little Dumplings can be found in four different locations and also do take-away and in some cases, take phone orders (for those on the go). While we were there, we found that many customers were looking for a quick munch before heading to watch a movie. This sort of food is definitely designed for that sort of game plan – we finished off our meal quickly and then found ourself hanging about The Barracks with not much else to do but suddenly decide to purchase a new loaf pan.

Overall, the little hole-in-the-wall eatery was delightful and a great place to grab a snack. The staff were friendly (and posed a little for one of my shots of the store) and the tables around us were cleaned up promptly. They also have vegan options and an impressive range of sweets to top of your meal if you are so inclined. An added bonus? Delicious dumplings and open seven days – so you can get your fix any day of the week!

Happy Little Dumplings

The Barracks
16A, 5-61 Petrie Tce
7 days 10:30AM-21:00PM
So new, it doesn’t even have a phone line yet! (so no eftpos yet)

Will add an Urbanspoon link once it exists!



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