Check out the Latest Posts:

If you ask around for the best dumpling restaurant in Chinatown, Mother’s Dumplings is a name that often comes up.

Mother’s Dumplings

Zhen, the cook and owner from Shenyang, China, opened Mother’s Dumplings back in 2005 and hasn’t looked back since. They started out in a smaller hole-in-the-wall location in Chinatown but later moved to a larger location on Spadina, just south of College.

There’s plenty of seating in the space and like most other restaurants in Chinatown, it’s a no-frills, low-key joint. Mother’s Dumplings is open 7 days a week from 11:30am to 10pm (10:30pm on Fridays/Saturdays). We dropped by on a Friday evening and despite it being quite busy, we only had to wait five minutes before being seated.

The interior

As you’d expect from a place with dumplings in its name, they have an extensive selection of dumplings prepared in three different ways – boiled, steamed and pan fried. In addition to dumplings, they also offer pancakes, noodles, rice, congee and vegetable dishes.

On the tables, you’ll find the usual condiments – soy, vinegar and hot sauce, to create your own dumpling dipping sauce.


First up were the Boiled Shrimp, Pork, Egg & Chives Dumplings ($8.29 for 12/$15.99 for 24). I liked the skin which had a nice chew to it but I found the filling to be lacking in the flavour department. I don’t think I’d order these ones again.

Boiled Shrimp, Pork, Egg & Chives Dumplings

Up next were the Pan Fried Pork & Bok Choi Dumplings ($7.99 for 10 pieces). Maybe I just prefer my dumplings pan fried, but these fared much better than the previous boiled ones. The plump dumplings had a nice crisp bottom and while they were a touch greasy, they were still quite satisfying. They were also surprisingly juicy – I bit into one and the juice squirted out the other side. Classy, I know. And that’s why Mike says he can’t take me anywhere nice…

Pan Fried Pork & Bok Choi Dumplings

We also ordered several types of steamed dumplings, the first being the Steamed Pork & Chives Dumplings ($7.49 for 10/$14.29 for 20). Like all the dumplings here, they didn’t skimp on the filling. I’m a big fan of chives and while they aren’t the best chive dumplings I’ve had, they still hit the spot.

Steamed Pork & Chives Dumplings

The other steamed dumplings we ordered were the Steamed Juicy Pork Dumplings ($7.29 for 8) aka xiao long bao. Unfortunately, these fell a little short. The skin was incredibly thick and not at all delicate. I could pick them up without using a gentle hand and wouldn’t pierce a hole in these bad boys.  As for the filling, it was decent but I felt there could’ve been more soup in them.

Steamed Juicy Pork Dumplings

We were looking for one other type of dumpling to order and decided on the Lamb Shui Mai ($8.39 for 6). As I’ve already mentioned, all of the dumplings here are quite sizeable and the shui mai were no exception. They had a very gamey taste which I didn’t mind but if you’re sensitive to this you probably wouldn’t enjoy them very much. Overall, they were solid but not particularly memorable.

Lamb Shui Mai

To supplement our dumplings, we also ordered a Green Onion Pancake ($4.19). It had a nice crispy fry on both sides and good amount of chew. It’s hard to go too wrong with a green onion pancake!

Green Onion Pancake

Another non-dumpling dish we ordered was the Garlic Fried Bok Choi ($8.99). The veg was well cooked – still retaining some of their crunch. They used a good amount of garlic and topped the bok choi with Chinese mushrooms. All in all, a good veg dish.

Garlic Fried Bok Choi

Having heard such high praises about Mother’s Dumplings, I couldn’t help but feel a little let down by my experience. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a bad experience, but I was expecting to be wow-ed. Overall, good but not great.

At a glance:
• Serving up an extensive selection of boiled, pan-fried and steamed dumplings
• Located in Chinatown on Spadina (just south of College)
• Plenty of seating; very casual and low-key
• Open 7 days a week from 11:30am to 10pm (10:30pm on Fridays/Saturdays)
• Overall, a decent experience but not particularly memorable

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 2.5 stars
• Service: 2 stars
• Atmosphere: 1 star

Mother's Dumplings on Urbanspoon

  1. Janet (Reply) on Tuesday 12, 2013

    I was also disappointed. The quality was ok but not for the price. Maybe my expectations were set too high but to me, it was not a place for cheap eats 🙁

    • Jess (Reply) on Tuesday 12, 2013

      Good to know I’m not the only person who was disappointed. I think my expectations were also set a little too high and I was surprised at the price as well. Thought it would be cheaper given it’s location…