Oooof. It’s nowhere near lunchtime yet and I’ve got food on my mind, and particularly on…
potstickers, wontons, siu long bau, din tai fun, mandu, gyoza, ravioli, tortellini, maltauschen, perogis, momos, pelmeni, mantu, kreplach, vareniki, steamed, fried, deep-fried, boiled, sauce, no sauce….the list goes on.
All of these lovely filled pockets of goodness are dumplings and good god how much do I love them. I associate dumplings with home. My family always had a bag of frozen Chinese dumplings in our freezer. A huge variation of them too so we could have the pan fried ones or the boiled ones filled with pork and Chinese leeks on a cold winter’s day. In fact, I think I would light up if I saw potstickers simmering away. Warm, filled with something amazing and savoury…perfect to melt the heart! And as my mom’s cuisines (she was the resident chef) diversified from the standard Asian and Western fare my family consumed, we soon had frozen perogis available too! YUM!
And when I lived in Cambodia from 2007-2010, they still were that source of homey goodness for me. We had this hole in the wall, owned by long-term Chinese residents of Cambodia (the ones who left China because of the People’s Revolution and scattered themselves across southeast Asia). It was simply called Chinese Noodle (check out the above pic) and I loved it oh so much. $1 for a bowl of dumplings! $1! I think they may have raised the price to $1.20 after the economic meltdown of 2008, but still!!! And delicious! And the noodle soup…they hand pulled those noodles right on the street! And there was even a surly lady of the house!. Perfection! Then we discovered another amazing dumpling house in PP…but after a trip home for a month, I returned to have discovered that it was turned into a goat-stew restaurant. Sigh.
I also remember discovering momos, a Nepalese dumpling, while I was living in Cambodia. A friend had worked in India and had declared those her addiction. I think momos are the perfect blending of east and south Asias…the dumpling itself and the way it’s cooked (pan fried or steamed) – very East Asian; the filling – straight outta Kathmandu, Delhi, Rajasthan – yup all of the region’s flavours. And they’re even from the nexus of the 2 Asias…Nepal!
And for those of us in London, you can get your frozen dumplings in the grocery stores in Chinatown, or you can have them served to you at places like Dumpling’s Legend, Leong’s Legend…the list goes on. But I’ve actually got my eye on a tiny little blink and you’ll miss it place called Jen Cafe on Newport Place. They handmake the dumplings right in the windowfront! They are cheap and are dumplings the way they should be!
And when back in Toronto, I plan on making my way to Mother’s Dumplings for her amazing diversity in those steamed, stuffed, pan-fried goodies. Though I hear they’ve moved and jacked up their prices.
And now I’m hungry…oh no….it must be time to crack into that guiness-ganache-d chocolate goodness I just baked…..