This is my little Christmas (present) post for Dumplingshack (John).
What is Dumplingshack? The answer is the name, it’s a dumpling stall selling handmade dumplings.
I met John on Instagram and found out he had a market stall at the school yard at Broadway Market. I first tried these dumplings back in November 2014. On that day he made lobster dumplings and the sweet option was pan fried banana and chocolate dumplings served with creme patissiere.
Being a trader isn’t easy, the market stalls don’t provide much shelter on wet and windy days. I’ve seen John and May (superstar helper) work through freezing cold weather and strong winds (whilst I was hiding in the car).
What’s so special about these dumplings? Everything is made from scratch using fresh ingredients – the dough is handmade and all fillings are prepared and seasoned by the man himself. All dumplings are made at the stall and cooked when an order is placed. Each piece of dough weighs around 10g and then wrapped around the filling. I have tried helping at the stall but struggled to roll the piece of dough into a circle. I also had difficulty folding the dumplings – each dumpling has 8 pleats. After being shown countless times by May (Queen of pleats) on how to fold them I just could’t get the hang of it …..so I decided to stick to my other skill which is eating and taste testing the dumplings.
What fillings are inside these dumplings? There are 2/3 choices to choose from each week.
Brunch dumplings – a runny quail egg with minced lamb or sausage meat and pan fried till golden.
Cornish crab and prawn dumplings – packed full of crab and prawn and goes perfectly with some XO chilli sauce.
Wontons – These little cute wontons are filled with pork and prawns. I like the crunch because they contain water chestnuts too! Perfect served with chilli oil.
Vegetable dumplings – These contain aubergines, onions, bamboo shoots and shitake mushrooms. Awesome pleat work by May.
Pork and Chinese leaf dumplings – These are the classic pork dumplings, which are either pan fried or steamed. I prefer them pan fried because I like the crispy bottom.
Sheng jian baos – the latest addition to the dumpling family. These little sheng jian baos are filled with pork and jelly – the piece of jelly melts when it cooks and turns into a soup, so when you bite into the dumpling it’s bursting with flavoursome hot soup.
I’m really proud of where he has got to, he puts a lot of time and effort into making these dumplings and is always experimenting to improve them even more. I call him superman because John works Mon-Fri, he also works evenings at the family restaurant – on top of running his stall. No matter how busy and tired he is, this guy still manages to find time to look after me. I’ve never met anyone that hard working – which motivates me to work hard too. Whenever I feel tired I just think about John with three jobs and feeling 10 times more tired than I am – so I shouldn’t complain that I’m tired.
Dumplingshack won’t be trading at Broadway market in January 2016 (taking a short break) but watch this space as he is looking to set up a permanent restaurant next year. Something bigger and better is on its way!
Merry Christmas guys!