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Death of a Dumpling King

Peter Walsh mourns the loss of a King Street monarch.


There are moments, and you can tell they’re them in the middle of their happening, that change things. The Berlin Wall, or… The Berlin Wall falling. On the afternoon of July 14th—or, as I’ve taken to calling it, 14/7—King St’s Dumpling King burnt to the ground.

That afternoon, Newtown closed its roads in a gesture of respect for both the restaurant and the toxic threat of smoke inhalation. Subsequently, a night’s supply of commuters passed slowly, paying their respects from cars and busses, hands pressed against the windows while tears freely flew. “No”, they seemed to be breathlessly whispering, “not like this”.

A girl on a skateboard poured a 40 on the corner of King and Egan. An elderly man doffed his hat in silent mourning. A hipster—taking guidance from Do The Right Thing—shouldered a boom box up King Street, playing Public Enemy. Though unlike the fire that concluded that film (and if that’s a spoiler, then it’s your fault for not seeing the film), there’s nothing to be learned from Dumpling King’s senseless destruction.

The loss of the King St vendor means a power vacuum in the Inner West’s supply of cheap, greasy dumplings. Already, anxious consumers have taken to the black market to sate their desire for parcelled meats. While the USU has looked into providing an interim dumpling vendor, they are also unwilling to offer a serving of six for less than fourteen dollars.

Worse, suspicions already abound about possible sabotage. A reliable Honi source—which is to say, one I made up—said that the proprietors of the spiteful Thai La-Ong II were seen being escorted into Newtown Police Station. You might imagine them being cross-examined beneath a bare light bulb, doors locked, no lawyer, by a renegade detective that disregards the rules. More on this as it develops.

But for today, our focus is not on impropriety or malice, but on the restaurant that captured our hearts and minds. While we’re unsure if Dumpling King will re-open, we know it won’t be the same. Something, either the gauche wood panelling, the wobbling tables, or the cracked plastic chairs, will be lost.

So, for the students who wandered aimlessly in pursuit of MSG with a bottle of $3 red in their hands, we say vale Dumpling King. For the vegetarians who wilted at the dinner table, waiting almost an hour for a serving of mixed greens while the omnivores had their meat dumplings delivered immediately, we say vale Dumpling King. Vale Dumpling King! You died as you lived! Like the most average pan-fried pork and chive, you ended up crispy on the outside, and soggy—water-damaged—within.