Every couple of weeks, we’re in Carnegie to visit the library. It’s a great library, with a playground just outside that the kids never seem to get sick of.
While we’re in Carnegie, we inevitably find ourselves at Auntie’s Dumpling Restaurant.
I realised how attached I was to the place when we went there two Saturdays ago.
The place had always had a very lived-in look. Basic and not particularly fab decor, but we didn’t care. It’s certainly not “squalid” or as one would imagine an “opium den”, as another Orientalising fool of a blogger declared.
For Lunar New Year this year, they’d repainted the walls of the whole place. Then, that Saturday, we found that there was all new furniture: wooden tables and chairs that were way better than the old chrome settings.
We sat down, and a guy who’d never served us doled out menus. We probably stared at him too much, all wondering whether there’d been a – *drum-roll* – change of ownership.
Shortly after we got our menus, and were still watching the man suspiciously, our regular server/restaurant manager turned up, hauling groceries and looking harried. We were so glad to see her. SO GLAD.
That’s when I realised how much we liked it, and the familiarity of the staff was fun. They’ve watched our kids grow up over the years, as we’ve divested ourselves of prams, strollers, etc.
We don’t go out much, what with two young kids and living in the ‘burbs. This isn’t a problem, but it does mean that there’s a comfort we derive from fronting up at Auntie’s every fortnight.
We already know we’re creatures of habit there.
We rarely stray from ordering the following (for 3 adults + 2 younger kids):
- Crab + pork mini-buns – steamed, sweetly savoury, plump + moreish.
- Garlic ribs – delectable, crisp, never enough of them, tender + pulling off the bones.
- Spring onion pancakes – flakey, deep-fried comfort food.
- Hot and sour dumplings – big bowl of fab dumplings in a piquant soup that includes shreds of various fungi.
The blend of dishes is entirely satisfying.
Occasionally, I like the idea of a big plate of boiled chicken + prawn dumplings, mostly so I can immerse them in the Chinese vinegar that’s so plentiful in the condiment caddy. But this rarely happens.
I don’t know what we’d do if we visited Auntie’s with people who didn’t want to indulge our habits. We’d probably have to go back and order our usual, just to make up for it.