Despite the fact that Asia is the most expansive continent on Earth housing many different cultures, it’s fascinating to think that there are many similarities in cuisines. This is thanks to the many adventurers and explorers who brought spices and other ingredients back home and inspired their own culinary scene. One of the most beloved dishes in Asia is arguably the dumpling. This dish is at its core dough and filling – but the endless fillings and the various methods of cooking and serving it varies greatly as you travel through Asia.

Thankfully for us, we don’t have to travel too far to experience different countries and their take on this popular dish – in Richmond, we have the Dumpling Trail. This recently created self-guided tour focuses on highlighting Richmond’s best places to experience various kinds of dumplings. The Dumpling Trail features 15 eateries that fit every budget – from high end restaurants to unassuming food court stalls. The number of choices are growing as more restaurants participate on the Dumpling Trail.

When most people think of dumplings, they think of the traditional pot stickers – dough and meat. However, things like the glutinous rice flour pastry with red bean paste or even the deep fried taro melded with tender bits of duck inside are considered dumplings!

Over the next couple months, I will be profiling a variety of different dumplings right here on the blog. To get us started, I wanted to share some dim sum staples that I experienced at Jade Seafood restaurant that you can go enjoy this weekend:

Har Gow (also known as Shrimp Dumplings)

Har Gow from Jade Seafood Restaurant. Photo Caption: Dee de los Santos
Har Gow from Jade Seafood Restaurant. Photo Caption: Dee de los Santos

Shrimp dumplings are enjoyed by everyone during dim sum. The indication of a great shrimp dumpling is the elasticity of the wrapper and it’s translucency and a nice, firm shrimp inside without it being overcooked and rubbery. This may seem like a very simple dish, but it’s much more enjoyable when made properly.

Siu Mai (also known as Pork and Shrimp Dumplings)

Siu Mai from Jade Seafood. Photo Caption: Dee de los Santos
Siu Mai from Jade Seafood. Photo Caption: Dee de los Santos

Another popular dim sum choice, there are many varieties of this dish available, depending on what part of China you travel to. The most popular siu mai comes from Guangdong province (also known as Canton province) and primarily consists of pork, shrimp and mushrooms. The dough wrapper is yellow and the dumpling is often topped with fish roe.

Wontons

Wonton Soup 4 Stones Vegetarian Cuisine. Photo Caption: Dee de los Santos
Wonton Soup 4 Stones Vegetarian Cuisine. Photo Caption: Dee de los Santos

Another great stop is 4 Stones Vegetarian Cuisine. Their dishes are – as you guessed – vegetarian. But, if you brought in a meat loving individual and neglect to mention the fact that their dishes are comprised fully of vegetables, you could fool them easily. I’d definitely recommend trying their Kung Pao chicken, but when visiting the Dumpling Trail, you’ll want to try their delicious wonton soup. It’s an enjoyable, healthy version of the popular wonton soup. It is not too salty and has good flavour to it.

Xiao Long Bao

Delicious Xiao Long Bao from R&H Chinese Food. Photo Caption: Dee de los Santos
Delicious Xiao Long Bao from R&H Chinese Food. Photo Caption: Dee de los Santos

A must try when in Richmond comes in the form of an unassuming food court stall in Lansdowne Mall. R&H Chinese Food is a small family-owned stall that many regard as one of the best places to enjoy Xiao Long Bao. Xiao Long Bao (or XLB) is a steamed soup dumpling hailing from Shanghai. The charm of these dumplings is the soup that pool inside them. The best way to enjoy Xiao Long Bao is to bite a little hole in the side, sip the soup and then take a bite into the meat.

I hope this gets you started on your way to enjoying the great eats along the Dumpling Trail! While exploring Richmond, don’t forget to enter the two contests Tourism Richmond has running:

Share Your Dumpling Trail Visit:

  1. When you’re at one of the Dumpling Trail restaurants, open up your Google Maps app
  2. Drop the pin on the location (you can do this by holding down your location on your map)
  3. Share your location via text (swipe up on the white bar to see the options)
  4. Share via text message and send to them at 604-330-0808.

You can also enter their Instagram Contest:

  1. Share a photo or video of a dumpling on the Dumpling Trail
  2. Tag @visitrichmondbc and use the hashtag #dumplingtrail
  3. Every month a winner will be awarded a $100 restaurant gift card.

For more information on the Dumpling Trail and the contests, check out the Dumpling Trail site: http://dumplingtrail.com.