When I think of a Melbourne dish, the first thing that comes to mind is a dim sim. From Wikipedia:
A dim sim is a Chinese-inspired meat or vegetable dumpling-style snack food, popular in Australia and to a lesser extent in New Zealand. The meat variety dish normally consists of small amounts of pork or lamb, cabbage and flavourings, encased in a wrapper similar to that of a traditional shumaidumpling. They are usually deep-fried, though can be served steamed. Vegetarian-style dim sim normally contains cabbage, carrot, vermicelli, or other vegetable fillings, along with spices. Dim sims differ from typical Chinese dumplings in that they are often much larger, have a thicker doughier skin and are shaped more robustly. They are primarily sold in fish and chip shops, service stations, corner stores and some Chinese restaurants and takeaway outlets in Australia. Chinese Yum Cha wholesale outlets and Asian frozen food companies also commonly sell this snack frozen for home cooking. They can also be found at Chinese food outlets in New Zealand.
Chinese diners view dim sims as Westernized food, however many Australians see the snack as being primarily Chinese in nature, due to its origins in local Chinese restaurants. The term dim sim dates as far back as 1928, although it is widely believed the modern recipe of the dish was developed in Melbourne’s Chinatown in 1945 by chef William Wing Young (father of TV chef Elizabeth Chong) for his restaurant “Wing Lee”.
A dim sim, or ‘dimmy’ can be found in any fish and chip shop where they can be ordered steamed or fried but unfortunately they’re not vegan. I used to have a love-hate relationship with dim sims because the fried versions made me feel a bit sick but the steamed versions seemed to lack oomph. Word on Melbourne vegan street is that we will have some vegan dim sims available to us soon courtesy of a new business called Woking Amazing– I can’t wait to see what they serve up! I believe there are also vegan dim sims available at a restaurant or two somewhere in Melbourne (or may have been in the past).
And after all that explanation, I’m not actually going to present a dim sim for today’s Mofo.
Sausage rolls will always be found in bakeries across Australia and at many a party. They’re sold in individual size, jumbo size and party size. Pre-vegan I was a bit mehhh about sausage rolls and all those processed pies because of the whole gristle ‘n’ gravy factor, or as my friend used to call sausage rolls, high fat offal tubes. But sausage rolls really are part of our culture here and veganising them is really easy. I have two favourite recipes to share. One is from the Melbourne blog Where’s The Beef? I’ve had a lot of success with these and switch up the recipe a little, using oats instead of breadcrumbs and throwing in some cauliflower. Here’s a pic I took ages ago:
My other favourite recipe is from Australian vegan cookbook author Leigh Drew. I’ve been recipe testing for Leigh’s latest book so I can’t share the exact details of the recipe here, but there’s a very unique combination of flavourings here that are fantastic. I made them for a family lunch and my relatives loved them. Unfortunately they got a bit burnt…