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
(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
- 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!