After being away from home-cooking for over a week, I found myself hunting down a Chinese restaurant. Claypot King sits on Swanston Street and immediately grabbed my attention because… well, how often would you find a Chinese restaurant with alfresco dining?

Claypot King Chinese Restaurant, Swanston Street Melbourne - entrance

Alfresco dining

With appetites which had been expanding over the duration of the flight down from Sydney, we decided to start with plenty of entrees. The xiao long bao (steamed mini pork bun) was enormous and meaty. No sight of soup at all though! The har gow (prawn dumpling) were pretty average as well and I was fooled into thinking the pandan dumpling was a savoury entree! The pandan essence and sweet mung bean filling were delectable, nonetheless.
Then out came the peking duck; crisp skin on a thin slice of meat, cucumber, hoisin sauce and a shallot stick were wrapped inside steaming hot pastry sheets.

Claypot King Chinese Restaurant, Swanston Street Melbourne - xiao long bao (steamed mini pork bun, or, soup dumplings)

Xiao long bao a.k.a. steamed mini pork buns a.k.a. soup dumplings

Claypot King Chinese Restaurant, Swanston Street Melbourne - har gow (prawn dumplings)

Hargow a.k.a prawn dumpling

Claypot King Chinese Restaurant, Swanston Street Melbourne - pandan leaf dumpling

Pandan leaf dumpling

Claypot King Chinese Restaurant, Swanston Street Melbourne - peking duck entree

Peking duck

Its pretty hard to find traditional herbal soups in Summer so we were thrilled to find a whole menu full of authentic variations.

Claypot King Chinese Restaurant, Swanston Street Melbourne - herbal soup of dried scallop with watercress and duck kidney

Herbal soup of dried scallop with watercress and duck kidney

I decided to play it safe and had the chicken and mushroom claypot rice which seemed to be their hero product. If you’ve never had claypot rice, it’s a bit like getting a warm Korean bimbimbab or eating overcooked rice (but this is somehow more pleasant). The soy and ginger based marinate was so hearty and comforting.

Claypot King Chinese Restaurant, Swanston Street Melbourne - chicken and mushroom claypot rice

Chicken and mushroom claypot rice

Claypot King Chinese Restaurant, Swanston Street Melbourne - combination seafood claypot rice

Combination seafood claypot rice

We finished off with a ice kacang. There was plenty of peanuts, corn kernels, grass jelly, rose syrup, red beans, condensed milk, lime jelly and a mountain of shaved ice.

Claypot King Chinese Restaurant, Swanston Street Melbourne - dessert of ice kacang

Ice kacang

Claypot King Chinese Restaurant, Swanston Street Melbourne - ice kacang with sweet corn, peanuts, grass jelly, rose syrup, condensed milk, shaved ice, lime jelly, red beans and more

Inside the ice kacang

Claypot King Chinese Restaurant, Swanston Street Melbourne - the bill, tax invoice

The small damage 🙂

Then off we went to discover the back streets of Melbourne.

Claypot King Chinese Restaurant, Swanston Street Melbourne - outdoor seating with view of tram and yellow cab

View of street from our table

Claypot King
209 Swanston St, Melbourne, VIC
Phone: (03) 9662 3222
Trading Days: 7 days, 10 am – 11 pm

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.
  • Yay you’ve got comments back! That place looks good. Two of my favourite things are in this story: XLB (they look quite big, how were they?) and Ice Kacang. I had that last night and was so happy 🙂

  • Luis Aranguren

    The restaurant looks very good, but it’s your blogging style what struck me the most. Good work!

  • hehe how often do you find a chinese restaurant with alfresco dining? err dude, chinatown, every night.

  • Jen

    haha, that’s such a good point! It’s different in chinatown though, coz it’s a pedestrian strip and not really a road?

  • Jen

    they were the biggest soup dumplings i’ve ever had! i’d say they were about 75% of the size of a woman’s palm?

  • Jen

    Thanks so much for the words of encouragement 😉 *giggles*

  • True its not on a road, hey did you try Gill’s Diner while you we’re down there? That was my fav eatery, oh and robot bar was cool as heck, had old school 60’s robot boxes and figurines everywhere.
    Oh and Tunnel Club has transformed from asian hip hop gangsta crud to a cool house club called Sorry Granma, it’s got old portraits on every wall with googley eyes stuck on them, hilarious!
    Cakes in St Kilda were a complete let down though, I’d rather go to Papa’s @ Haberfield any day, Go Sydney!
    Anyhoo I better go do real work now.

  • one more comment! The claypots look pretty dang ordinary to me, should try hotpot rice at huong huong 😉

  • Trung

    hmmm not my favourite place to eat but definitely a place that is considered cheap to eat.
    The clay pot theme have been growing quite popular in Melbourne the last few years.
    The best thing about this blog was the stir fry, ice kacang and your bill 😉