I came across The Rolling Pin last summer when I was down at Silo Park cinema. While navigating my way through the food trucks, there was one that had a line 20 deep – I knew that if people were willing to line up and risk missing the start of the movie for 6 dumplings, then they must be worth waiting for. So I joined the queue. Paper plates full of colour and texture were flying out of their window and appearing on Instagram feeds within seconds.
The Rolling Pin has since established itself permanently in Wynyard Quarter, with a little dive-in dive-out eatery that can steam over 2,000 dumplings a day for the office workers in the surrounding business district. Now while I always appreciate food in its most traditional form, I equally enjoy the adaptations made to create something a little unexpected. Gordon, their head chef, has taken the art of fusion and applied it to the way they play with colours, textures, and smells to create a complete fusion dumpling dish – a dish that has drawn in the likes of Peter Gordon as returning customers.
Dumplings: Steaming hot dumplings sit on a bed of cold, crisp coleslaw. The soft texture of the pastry contrasts perfectly against the crunchy sprinkling of peanuts, and the dense vegan jerky is drizzled with their chili oil. All the oils are made in-house, a secret Rolling Pin creation, which they sell individually. The Tsingtao Spicy Pulled (vegan) Pork Dumplings was one of their originals. Slow cooked vegan pork with Tsingtao beer, Sichuan fermented broad bean chilli paste, and cabbage. The Penang Pulled Beef dumplings (these ones are not vegan) are made with 12 hour braised beef, with sweet Sambal, mixed vegetables, and green peas.
“If people ask if they can have their dumplings without coleslaw, I say no. It’s not the way we want to serve our food. If we sell out of coleslaw, I stop selling dumplings and close up” – Gordon
Baos: Colour is injected throughout the menu. Their mustard orange home-made five spice chili mayo is swiped across their Pulled Pork and Apple Bao. Dou Ban chili slow-cooked pork, caramelized apple, five-spice chili mayo, and green apple slaw. The vegan mayo adds a pop of pink to their Vegan Zha Jiang Bao Zha Jiang, a vegan pork mince, sprinkled with vegan pork jerky. It turns a blush pink with a drop of pickle juice from the bright pink pickled cabbage that sits on top. The fresh coriander adds a punch of green and the hints of cabbage in the slaw bring out shades of purple. They also add pumpkin puree to give the pastry a soft yellow glow.
Beijing Zha Jiang: I’ll go ahead and say the winner on the day for us was the Beijing Zha Jiang, a cold noodle salad, because… well look at it! Jared has a big appetite and a vegan noodle salad would not normally be on the top of his list. So to see his hands wrapped around that bowl as if it was his last supper, had me intrigued. Vegan pork mince, rice noodle, smoky corn, peanuts, pickled pink cabbage, and a green apple slaw created a rainbow bowl of goodness. This dish was incredibly moorish, rich in fresh flavours. We pretty much licked the bowl clean to enjoy every last drop.
Great for: Quick, healthy, filling weekday lunch. Or pick up your order and park up under the stars on the waterfront for a cute cheap date night in the city.
Location: G04/141 Pakenham Street West, Auckland CBD, Auckland