What would Saturday mornings be without breakfast?

Before I left Adelaide, Saturday mornings would find me at the Central Market in search of breakfast. I arrived at around 8am and would meet up with whichever family members dragged themselves out of bed. While seated at our customary table, friends would often drop by. They knew where to find us.


Fast forward and I relocated to Melbourne for work. Living in the CBD, I had plenty of choice for breakfast and I was keen to continue the tradition, albeit mostly by myself. Occasionally visitors have joined me but mostly I have explored the culinary offerings of the laneways and café’s within easy walking distance. On occasions, I dragged out the car to travel to Port Melbourne or perhaps to Williamstown, searching for new experiences, but mostly I have confined my Saturday mornings to the CBD.

The breakfast ventures are more than just food for me. It’s the social experience as well. I look for a place that has good coffee, the weekend papers, and a certain level of ambience. Today it was Grey & Bliss at Port Melbourne. When you live alone, seeking experiences outside your four walls are important; plus fresh air, stray conversations, things to see, and perhaps good food.

Would you believe, I left my phone at home today. Once I have finished the papers I usually scan the emails or other news. Today I had to look around me. It was noisy. Typically, the floor was polished concrete and grating chairs and chatter bounced off it. Alongside my table, two women watched a video on their phone, with the volume up loud. It matched their shrieks of laughter. I considered frowning my displeasure, but they wouldn’t have noticed.

Outside, a small dog yelped incessantly. The owner had tied it to a pole and left it there while she did her shopping. The yelping ricocheted around my head. The café owner came and shut the adjoining door in an effort to soften the noise. He said that probably someone would steal the dog. That often happens when people leave cute dogs tied up in the street. Eventually, the dog stopped barking, but whether the owner returned or a thief took advantage of the opportunity, I have no idea.

You can overhear strange snippets of conversation. Two other women were discussing their various medical conditions, or perhaps those of their family. I tuned out, not being interested in disturbances in someone else’s gut. Only a few people are reading papers, which is good for me. It means that there are copies available for me to feed my newspaper addiction. I wish tables were bigger to accommodate my coffee, the water bottle, the paper and my breakfast. Most people are reading screens, even those in the company of a partner or friend.

One young couple sat side-by-side instead of opposite each other. He was in dude dress, with his baseball cap turned backwards. She was wearing a simple black shift, teamed with ankle boots and socks that showed above the boots. They weren’t speaking or reading – just sitting with each other.

My usual menu choice revolves around eggs, but feeling the need for change and adventure, today I ordered the ricotta hotcakes with poached pears and whipped mascarpone. It was a good choice.

In Praise of Dumplings

Prawn dumplings have always been a favourite at Yum Cha but there are a variety of these tasty little morsels on offer – some steamed and some fried.  Avoiding fried food as much as possible, I tend to select the steamed variety.

I was delighted when I first found that Asian grocery stores were stocking a variety of dumplings and dim sum and would often take some home to drop into a soup.  On occasion I steamed them but the soup option was the easiest.  In the soup I might combine them with some cuttlefish balls or perhaps beef balls and maybe some tofu puffs.

There are now local restaurants that specialise in dumpling cuisine, and they are currently my favourite ’go-to’ for a cheap meal or perhaps when I want some comfort food.  Dumplings and chicken soup hit that spot for me.  Dumpling King on Grote Street in the China Town precinct is probably the best.  There are the usual options – in soups either with noodles or without noodles, steamed, fried and then with various stir-fried noodle dishes.  The fillings include pork, chicken, beef,  prawn and combinations of those, along with spring onions and other vegetables. 

I love the soups – delicate chicken broth with spring onions, bok choy, and then the wontons or dumplings, depending on choice.  The pastry surrounding the stuffing becomes absolutely silky in the hot liquid and delivers a contrast to the tasty filling.

Just as welcome is the price.  You can get a meal from $8.80 upwards, which is quite economical.  I know that frozen dumplings at home are probably not in the same class as those freshly made and cooked in the restaurant, but I might just have to cook myself some this evening.


This link provides a run down on the various types of dumplings that are available.

Disclaimer:  not my photo (photographer unknown) but I will provide one of my own shortly.