Bamboo Basket Portside

It’s been too long since we dug down for yum cha and the ones we usually hit up were either too far or it would be too difficult to find parking. Talk about being lazy. Then we remembered that Bamboo Basket had just opened an outlet at Portside in Hamilton, a much more reasonable drive with better chances of scoring a park than its Southbank location.

Turned out we were right – we arrived at 11am to a relatively empty underground carpark and had our pick of spots. Bamboo Basket Portside opened at 11am, so with no one else to contend with, we surveyed the menu at our leisure and picked a couple of classics to gauge if this Portside outlet has the same standard as their Southbank store.

Bamboo Basket Portside

Bamboo Basket Portside

Bamboo Basket Portside

Yum cha at Bamboo Basket Portside is off the menu, not the more traditional push cart. But that doesn’t mean the food was any less piping hot, fresh out of the steamer or fryer. Portions were as generous and we were definitely not left wanting.

Bamboo Basket Portside - Salt & pepper calamari. AUD$7.90

Salt & pepper calamari. AUD$7.90

Bamboo Basket Portside - Prawn dumplings (har gao). AUD$5.90

Prawn dumplings (har gao). AUD$5.90

Bamboo Basket Portside - Pork and prawn siew mai. AUD$5.90

Pork and prawn siew mai. AUD$5.90

Bamboo Basket Portside - Scallop and prawn dumplings. AUD$7.90

Scallop and prawn dumplings. AUD$7.90

Bamboo Basket Portside - Steamed pork dumplings with soup filling (xiao long bao). AUD$7.90

Steamed pork dumplings with soup filling (xiao long bao). AUD$7.90

Bamboo Basket Portside - Steamed BBQ pork buns (char siew bao). AUD$4.80

Steamed BBQ pork buns (char siew bao). AUD$4.80

Bamboo Basket Portside - Egg and chive flatbread. AUD$12.90

Egg and chive flatbread. AUD$12.90

The prawn dumplings (har gao), steamed pork dumplings with soup filling (xiao long bao) and scallop and prawn dumplings had rather thick skins, though not to the point of being sticky and chewy. If you’re a yum cha connoisseur, you may find this unacceptable and prefer more soup in your xiao long bao, but it’s still a pass for the layman overall.

My favourite has to go to the steamed BBQ pork buns (char siew bao). The buns were light, fluffy and slightly sweet, but they kept the filling less fatty and sweet than commercial bulk prepared char siew baos. I could actually chew on meat in these guys.

I’d argue yum cha should be delicate and fit in one bite (and be easily picked up with chopsticks), but Bamboo Basket Portside portions leaned more towards two bites and it was better to stab the siew mai than have them escape across the table due to inadequate chopstick skills. So be wary of popping anything into your mouth straight away, lest you burn yourself.

 

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