Wednesday, January 25, 2012

And I also love Jiao Zi 我也爱饺子

Don't we all love watching how jiao zi 饺子 go from random dough shapes, to....

...soft, plump mouthfuls of goodness? I love all forms of dumplings, and in Beijing grew to love the boiled ones the best.

Like bao zi's 包子 , throw a stone in Beijing and you'd probably hit several jiao zi dian 饺子店 (dumpling eateries). Northern Chinese consider them staple food like bao zi, rice, noodles and bread, inside of a side dish. I grew up being fed on guo tie 锅贴, or pot stickers who are the crunchier cousins of shui jiao zi 水饺子, who just get boiled in water briefly to cook. They were a very welcome break from lunchtime food which can get greasy.

Easy to make, hard to master - I look for good juicy filling-to-wrapper ratio, and a springy skin which is not too thick. Dong Fang Jiaozi Wang 东方饺子王 or Oriental Dumpling King is a Chinese chain that does these babies particularly well.

Much care goes into each little parcel, I love watching hands fly from rolling out the skins to placing in the fillings, making sure skins don't burst before boiling. There is endless choice, and even from the smallest jiaozi dian, you'll have at least 20 types. Mini meals-in-one, they are simply the best when dipped in vinegar and soy sauce.

I would recommend these two restaurants anyday:-

Dong Fang Jiaozi Wang (Oriental Dumpling King)
Jin Zhu Jie Branch
No. 14, First Floor, Chaoyangmen Nei Nan Xiao Jie
Dongcheng District, Beijing
010-652 72042
(Best to call and ask for a branch near you)

Baoyuan Jiaozi Wu 宝源饺子屋
Liangma Qiao / Lufthansa Center Area 
North of 6 Maizidian Jie, Chaoyang District
010-6586 4967
  • 朝阳区,麦子店街6号楼北侧,亮马桥燕莎桥
  • City Weekend Listing
  • (Come here for multi-coloured dumplings! Made from vegetable and fruit dyes, these bright orange, green and purple dumplings help you tell apart your pork & chinese chive from your wood-ear mushrooms. A fantastic array of creative fillings.)

Which jiaozi eateries near you would you recommend? And which fillings do you love? To my Northern Chinese friends celebrating Chinese New Year, I hope you had the Dragon share of these for Reunion Dinner!


Sean said...

welcome back to kl (for now)!
gosh, there must be dozens of different types of dumplings all over china, rite. i don't think i can recognize any besides the basic ones that are common in KL :D

Hungry Female said...

Thank you Sean! Well when it comes to fillings, the world is your oyster! I loved these eateries that JUST focused on dumplings!

The Grubworm said...

It's a real treat watching these wee little pot-belied babies being assembled. And a treat I don't get to see that often as I live in London where I can only think of one place where dumpling making is on show.

However, in a visit to HK, i did get to see - and sample - good dumplings of all sorts, my favourite being XLB. I love the umami-rich savoury flllings and contrast with the sharp vinegar dipping sauce. heaven.

Hungry Female said...

Well if Mr Noodles is successful in his DTF campaign, there will be another dumpling-making opportunity for us! I actually don't know why there aren't more like these in London, everyone loves watching and eating dumplings. XLB is the biz indeed:)

missyblurkit said...

i love dumplings. perfect meal anytime and when it comes with a good bowl of becomes a complete meal.

gong hei fatt choy

Hungry Female said...

Happy CNY to you too! Dumplng soup is good too. I noticed that's a very Southern Chinese thing, the wrapper is thinner and more floaty. Beijingers like a heavier dumpling and omit their soup!

Mr Noodles said...

Looking forward to more posts from BJ. I love jiaozi but I must confess to liking guotie more. BTW, did you ever get to Shun Yi Fu during your time in BJ?

Hungry Female said...

Mr Noodles! No I didn't, but you know it never really came up when I was looking around for dumpling places (though the old reviews look good). Maybe it just fell out of f(l)avour?! Things in BJ change fast!

Baby Sumo said...

Hi dear! Welcome back to KL. We shd catch up before u head back to London (if u have time).