We first ate dumplings on our third date at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. That restaurant is no longer in business, but nine years later our love for dumplings is still going strong.
Since that pivotal date, we’ve eaten dumplings around the world including soup dumplings in Taipei, steamed dumplings in Hong Kong and gnocchi in Bologna. Wherever we go, we always seem to eat dumplings in some shape or form.
Dumpling Perfection and History
The dumpling may well be the world’s most perfect food due to its simple structure of dough wrapped around a savory or sweet filling. Perfection may be debatable, but there is no debate that dumplings are a global phenomenon.
Dumplings appear in various versions from Asia to Africa and every continent in between. With ethnic food becoming more accessible, the dumpling is more popular than ever.
This is pretty amazing when you consider that dumplings have been around for many centuries. In fact, dumplings can be traced back thousands of years to the Han Dynasty in China.
Our Dumpling Love
Even when we’re not traveling, we love to eat dumplings.
Despite the many dumpling options spanning every cuisine, our favorite dumplings are xaio long bao or soup dumplings. There’s just something about the doughy mounds filled with hot soup and meat. It’s fun to nibble a hole in the soup dumpling and then slurp out the liquid gold before devouring the remaining dough and meaty filling.
Of course, we always dip the dumplings in vinegar and chili sauce for an extra kick. Sometimes, once the hot dumplings cool, we go crazy and eat an entire soup dumpling in one bite, creating an explosion of juicy, porky flavor.
The soup dumpling may be our favorite dumpling, but we enjoy eating other dumplings too. Sometimes we get fried soup dumplings, a crispier version of the xiao long bao.
We like shao mai dumplings for their doughy, meaty texture. We also like the more delicate shrimp dumpling. Seriously, we have never met a dumpling that we haven’t liked.
2015 Chef One New York City Dumpling Festival
So, in light of our dumpling love, we were absolutely delighted to properly celebrate the first National Dumpling Day on Saturday, September 26, 2015.
The 2015 Chef One New York City Dumpling Festival celebrated dumplings from cultures all over the world. In addition to Chinese dumplings, the festival served dumplings from countries like Italy, Poland and Korea.
Other than offering a variety of dumplings to taste, the festival featured a dumpling eating contest. The previous winner, Molly Schuyler, ate over 90 pieces in two minutes! Other fun activities included cultural performances, a dumpling-making class, raffle drawings and much more
Admission to the 2015 Chef One New York City Dumpling Festival was free. Tickets to try four different dumpling tastings cost just $20 with all ticket proceeds going to the Food Bank for New York City.
- Location: Sara D. Roosevelt Park at E. Houston Street
- Date: Saturday, September 26, 2015
- Time: 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm (Dumpling Eating Contest starts at 1:00 pm.)
- Cost: FREE Admission; $20 for four tastings
For more information, check out the festival’s official website and search the twitter conversation at #dumplingfest2015.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.