Dumplings…a girl’s best friend! Well, maybe I’m the only girl that feels that way, but it is in fact one of my favorite foods in the whole entire world because I think it is in fact the best creation ever. I could eat dumplings every day if I had to, that is how much I love them. They are one of my fondest memories when it comes to food as a child. I do in fact have many memories about food, but dumplings were always a special occasion in my home. This was of course before potstickers skins were sold in the markets and everything was made by hand. We would have potsticker parties and invite our friends and family.
One of those families was my guardian, Dr. Mitchell and his family. They would starve themselves all day in preparation for an evening of non-stop dumpling eating. It was always so exciting…all the meat had to be mixed and prepared. Flour all over the table where my mom would be kneading the dough and rolling out hundreds upon hundreds of skins! We would eagerly wait for the skins to be rolled out so we could help wrap each dumpling. The Mitchell’s knew and understood that this was a labor of love for them.
Once the eating commenced and large platters of perfectly cooked potstickers would be expertly flipped onto a platter upside down so you could see the beautiful golden bottoms, I was already digging in along with everyone else. I used to count how many dumplings I could eat in one sitting and the highest I ever got was 35…and that’s as a small kid. WITH three tall glasses of milk too! What is so great about dumplings? Well for starters, they are the perfect food item. You get your starch, meat and veggies all in one little pouch. How can you go wrongs? It’s also really about the skin, the dough that gets so golden and crispy on the bottom while the top stays soft and kind of chewy.
When you take that first bite and it’s super hot and juicy, you’re totally trying to avoid having that tender piece of meat sear the hell out of your tongue. It’s heaven!
My mom started this tradition of potsticker parties and I have continued it throughout my life. Today, when I don’t have time to make my own, I have some favorite places that I like to go stuff my face with these precious little babies. Whether they are fried, steamed, or boiled…or they are Chinese, Japanese or Korean. If it looks like a dumpling…I’m going to shove it in my mouth. I am always on the search for finding the best dumplings where ever I go. Making these little guys truly is an art form…knowing how much meat, fat, veggies and seasoning that goes into it so they create the perfect amount of juice or flavor…that takes experience and skill. Even the consistency of the dough…you want it thick enough, but not too thick or it’ll be too chewy. All these things are part of the criteria that makes a great dumpling. But we all have our own preferences and opinion on what’s great.
Some of my favorite places to go are:
**Supreme Dragon in Rowland Heights: xiao long bao, potstickers, steamed veggie dumplings and green onion pancakes (perhaps my second all time favorite food)
**Mandarin Deli in Monterey Park: boiled fish dumplings(this has chives/leeks in it), veggie potstickers (spinach is incorporated into the skins), wontons in hot chili oil.
**Dean Sin World in Monterey Park (a new discovery): great boiled fish dumplings (filled only with fish and no veggies)
And New Golden City Dumpling House in Rowland Heights: potstickers, boiled fish dumplings.
If anyone ever wants to go on a dumpling crawl…hit me up and let me know…I’m always down to go eat dumplings!
Examiner.com: Doreen Fang – East L.A. Examiner