[Melbourne, Australia] Dim sim from South Melbourne Market Dim Sims, Emporium

One thing we need to get clear, for the benefit of non-Australians reading this: dim sims are NOT dim sum, not by a mile. If Dr Frankenstein was a dim sum, then dim sim would be his monster.

A dim sim would be 3-4 times larger than an average siu mai (to which it shared a similar shape and construction) and would have a doughier skin which is 2-3 times thicker than a dim sum dumpling would have.

Dim sim is also more often deep-fried, rather than steamed, and often offered as an option in fish-and-chip shops. I absolutely love fish-and-chips in Australia, which I think are consistently better than those in the UK. One would be hard-pressed to find “bad” fish-and-chips anywhere in Australia. But, I absolutely detest dim sims - even when I was a teenager scarfing down meat pies or Vegemite sandwiches every day. To me, dim sims were the height of bad food which looked awful, smelt horrid, and tasted absolutely disgusting.

But then, I grew up in Western Australia. Although the term “dim sim” was used as far back as 1928, the modern-day dim sims were supposed to have been created by William Chen Wing Young of Melbourne in 1945, and served at his restaurant, Wing Lee in Melbourne’s old Chinatown.

The typical dim sim has a thick doughy skin, so thick, one can throw it at a bird and kill it. The filling is usually mutton or beef mince, chopped cabbage, onions, salt and pepper, cooked together till it resembled grey sludge. The same filling also goes into another of Mr William Chen’s invention: the thick-skinned “chicken roll”.

Dim sims today are just about as Australian as the Aussie meat-pie, or the pavlova, or Vegemite.

South Melbourne has its own popular dim sim, the round-shaped “dimmies” popularised by Chinatown restaurateur, Ken Cheng. He’d passed on in 2006, but the famous South Melbourne Market dimmies are still available, in a chain now run by the late Ken Cheng’s sons, Edward and Phillip.

I was at their Emporium Melbourne outlet at lunch during my visit here last year. Despite my misgivings about the dim sim, I had not had one in 40 years, so I thought I might as well see if its nightmarish qualities were inadvertently amplified in my childhood memories.

The verdict? No, it was not a dream (nightmare). Even this famous Melbourne version of the dim sim could not persuade me to go beyond the first bite. :frowning_face::-1:

I then went for the Spring Roll.
It was, if anything, worse than the dim sim.

Sorry, no Aussie-Chinese dim sim or spring roll for me. They were just as bad as I remembered from my schoolboy days. I adore meat pies then, ate them every single day, and I still loved them (perhaps even more) now. Some taste preferences just simply don’t change over the years.

South Melbourne Market Dim Sims
Emporium Melbourne, Level 3 Cafe Court
287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
VIC 3000, Australia
Tel: +61418 340 999
Opening hours: 9am-10pm Mon-Fri, 9am-7pm Sat & Sun


I wanted to try a dim sim in Melbourne last December when I was there but didn’t get around to it. Your post makes me feel slightly less sorry that I didn’t get to sample one :slight_smile:.

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Not for me, at all. I rarely like thick skinned wrappers and doughs. One of the reasons I didn’t particularly like momos when I was in Tibet.

Do Asian-Ozzies eat here or are into this style? I mean as regulars. Are “dim sims” popular with non Asians?

You really need to get out of London on your trips here.

As a northwesterner, it pains me to say this but the consistently best fish & chips I come across are on the other side of the Pennines in Yorkshire. I think it may have something to do with many chippies there still frying in beef dripping.

I’d never heard of dim sim before now. Probably something I’d at least try if ever I make it to Oz. But it would be behind an Aussie meat pie which always look delicious when I see them on TV.

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Believe me, you didn’t miss anything! :joy:

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In Australia, only the non-Asians are into dim sims! I’ve yet to meet a single Asian, Australian-born or otherwise, that liked them.

If I do see another Chinese person eating dim sim when I was there at the Emporium that day, then I would just know that that person is a visitor to Australia, or trying dim sim for the very first time. :joy:

I hear you - the proportions on both of those feel way out of line, even without considering taste

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Oh yes, I fully intend to the next time I come to the UK. :blush::ok_hand:

Dim sim inventor, William Chen Wing Young’s daughter, Elizabeth Chong, is perhaps Australia’s best-known TV chef of Chinese descent. She’s shown here demonstrating the making of dim sims:


The first time I heard of dimmies was on Mr. Inbetween (a great show on Hulu). Thanks for sharing the details.

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I’m pretty sure that in a previous life, I lived it as a Pillsbury Doughboy. So, Dim Sim would be a “come hither” choice for me. :heart_eyes:


You’ve just got to taste it for yourself, Jim. The outer layer of a dim sim is neither shortcrust pastry, nor flaky pastry, nor anything one would’ve ever encountered in any culture. :joy:

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But. It. Is. Dough.

Just kidding, Peter.

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