Jun 22, 2008

Potstickers

On occasion, most often in the winter, I like to eat at dumpling joints in Beijing. Dumpling houses are a dime-a-dozen in China. There are high end ones and cheap fast food ones. You can generally get a huge variety of fillings ranging from the basic pork-and-cabbage to mushroom to san-xian (three fresh ingredients). Almost always, these dumplings are served boiled or steamed.

Having grown accustomed to a variety of American fried and oily foods, sometimes the boiled type of dumplings just don't cut it for me. More than once, I've gone to a dumpling place, ordered a few types of dumplings, and then requested that rather than boiling them, they pan fry them, pot sticker-style.

The response from the waitress is always the same: "Can't do it". So then I describe to them how to make potstickers:
  • Roll up some dumplings
  • Heat up some oil in a wok
  • Throw the dumplings in, fry them on one side for a few minutes
  • Dump in some water
  • Steam the dumplings, covered for a while
How hard can it be? Why the intense resistance to pot stickers? Is the cooking oil too expensive? Do they not have a wok? I can't figure it out.

It's like going to a steakhouse that serves home fries as a standard side dish, and the waitress tells you, "No, sorry, we can't give you a baked potato. Only home fries."

I've had pot stickers plenty of places in China, and a dumpling house seems like the place that without a doubt should most definitely be capable of making pot stickers.




[Photo from here]

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