Tianze Dumpling House
I seem to have developed something of an addiction to northern Chinese food. The variety of flavours and ingredients used is wonderful and there just seem to be more and more places you can get it now, so I can’t be the only one.
A recent opening of this genre was Tianze Dumpling House (end of last year) on Sandringham Road. We were keen to check it out and finally made it there.
It was 6pm on a Sunday night and the place looked pretty empty. That soon changed with a steady flow of takeout orders and dine ins coming through the door. The interior is basic but cute with some nice little flourishes. It’s not The Grove or French Cafe but it is a pleasant little space to eat – more than we can say for many of the places we’ve dined in for this blog.
We ordered some of our favourites: Pork and chive dumplings ($10 for 20), Deep Fried Calamari with Spiced Salt ($14.80), Kung Pao Chicken ($14.80), Steamed Buns ($8 for 10 little ones) and Broccoli with Garlic Sauce ($9.80).
As you can imagine this was a feast for a family of four (although our boys are still only 5 and 7) and there was enough for a full meal for us both the next day too. Value for money – tick! The dumplings were great, full of flavour, heavy on the chives and wonderfully juicy with a great full, rich pork taste.
Unfortunately, as hit and misses go, the calamari was a bit of a miss. I was looking for the light crispiness and wonderful salty/spicy flavours I’ve had in so many places on Dominion road but this was a bit soggy and oily.
The Kung Pao Chicken was tasty with spicy chicken, celery, carrots, peanuts in a slightly sour, slightly salty spicy sauce peppered with dried chillies. But I have had better in other places. I couldn’t really fault it on any particular area but I like it slightly heavier on the vinegar and the peanuts slighty more cooked. It was good, but not a total flavour and texture bomb, like I have tasted.
The kids loved their steamed buns. They were more like bigger, upright dumplings than the fluffier ones I’ve had elsewhere, but I’m not enough of an expert on northern Chinese cuisine to know what I should have been expecting. They had a seasoned pork filling, were tasty and our little men devoured them – always a win!
The Broccoli was wonderfully garlicky and perfectly firm without being under cooked. I was left once again wondering why I can never get my greens to taste that good at home. I swear I would eat broccoli and choy sum for every meal if I could.
Would I go back again? Yes. the dumplings were tasty and everything else was well enough executed for me to want to try other options. It’s not a patch on Barilla, Eden Noodles or Panda Noodle Express but it’s nice food and certainly a lot better than what you can get in many places. Maybe we are just getting too spoiled for choice in Auckland?
Check it out for yourself and see what you think.