Young and Hungry

The Winner of Y&H’s RAMMY Awards Contest: In Search of the Perfect Dumpling

yang's fry_opt

Yang’s Fry-Dumpling in Shanghai

Last month, we ran a RAMMY Awards contest in which we asked you, the reader, to submit your best dining experience from the past year. We had a number of good submissions, but your semi-friendly Y&H had the honor of picking the winner and the runner-up, who will both receive tickets to this year’s RAMMY Awards.

The winner is Barbara Sacks Singer, who does government affairs work for a telecom trade association. She's also a newlywed who wrote about a meal she shared with her new husband during their honeymoon in China. What Barbara's story lacks in proper punctuation, it more than compensates with a compelling narrative on Shanghai dumplings. Barbara's obsessiveness about the humble dumpling was enough to make me want to head straight to Rockville and gobble down a dozen of them.

You can read her story after the jump.

I’ve had many great dining experiences this past year given that I got married last June, our honeymoon was in China and my husband had a work trip to Italy in the Fall! We consider ourselves foodies (in that we love to eat) so we also love to try new and interesting foods close to home. The best of all though is from China during our honeymoon. You might think it would be from one of the handful of expensive, trendy or new restaurants we went to while visiting. Yes, we loved our “low-fat” Peking Duck at the trendy Da Dong restaurant in Beijing and the fancy schmancy meal we had atop the Pudong Shangri-La Hotel at Jade on 36 overlooking the Bund in Shanghai. But the best dining experience we had was standing up and devouring the dumplings at a take-out joint on the bustling streets of Shanghai. The “restaurant” was called “Yang’s Fry-Dumpling” and they remain the standout from the trip and one of the most talked about parts of our honeymoon, at least the parts we share with our friends. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing Mao’s tomb and the Terra Cotta Warriers in Xi’an at the excavation site, but the perfectly fried deliciously juicy dumpling won out!

Yang’s Dumplings are not the usual fare, they are filled with a hot and juicy broth so you must be very careful on that first bite, very careful not to dribble all the juicy goodness down your chin. And you must resist the urge to take a huge bite since the dumplings, never having a chance to sit around and cool before being served, are smoking hot! We learned the hard way that you have to bite just a bit of the dumpling dough first, then slurp lightly, all the while dipping in the vinegary dipping sauce that, along with the dumplings, we’ve been unable to recreate since being back home.

We stood and watched them being made with the idea that somehow we’d be able to recreate these at home in our little wok. We took photos of the entire process which seemed so simple. They have a pork filling, dough rolled out and sesame seeds and scallions tossed on top at the end of the frying process. So I don’t understand how they come out so tasty, the perfect balance between the caramel-colored fried crunch on the top and the dough only lightly-fried on the bottom which makes taking that first bite easier. All I know is that these were (are) not only the best dumpling I’ve ever had, but also the best dining experience of the past year. If someone wants to help me try to perfect the recipe and join me to start our own dumpling cart I’d quit my job tomorrow!

Photo courtesy of scaredy_kat via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License

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