Dumpling King is a family business steeped in catering experience in Warwickshire since 1976. In 2014, local brothers, Tony and Ray Hung along with Tony’s wife Carol began to explore the idea of providing fresh Jiaozi (dumpling) in the UK. Tony has worked and lived in the Far East for over 20 years and has tasted an amazing variety of foods, from fusion to simple, local, home comfort food. Tony’s wife Carol is a Shanghai native and was disappointed about the lack of tasty fresh Jiaozi in the UK and enrolled into one of Shanghai’s largest cooking schools to learn the fine art of making dumplings from Shanghai’s finest master chef’s. And so the story began to take shape.
After much research with many China expats in the UK, the general consensus was that they longed for home comfort food. In particular, fresh, traditional, authentic tasting foods that you can’t get in your local Take-Away shop or from mediocre frozen dumplings. We are using traditional family recipes given to Carol by her mother and passed down by her great grandmother.
We decided that the recipe should be shared with others so that they can experience the joy of a home style recipe and freshly prepared Jiaozi.
Where do Jiaozi come from?
Dumplings have already become a common type of food in the southern regions of China. However, compared to the north, the dumplings are different because of the dumplings’ skin. The skins of the southern dumplings are made of rice. In addition, the role of dumplings is different in these two regions. In the north, dumplings are an important dish for the Spring Festival dinner unlike in the south where their consumption is not necessary during this occasion.
Even in the Three Kingdoms period, this food was mentioned in Zhang Yi’s book, Guang Ya 广雅 (the author, who is from Wei County). According to research, the food originates from the Northern Dynasty as “crescent moon-shaped ravioli 偃月形馄饨” and in the Southern to Tang Dynasties as “dry meat Jiaozi 燥肉双下饺子”, dating from more than 1,400 years ago.
Around the Tang Dynasty, the dumplings took their present-day form and were separated on a plate as a dish. In 1972, archaeologists in Xinjiang Turpan’s Astana Tombs, found a buried wooden bowl containing a dozen objects shaped like a crescent moon resembling today’s dumplings (which is recognized by experts as the Tang Dynasty’s “prison pill” 牢丸). From this, we know the tradition of eating dumplings had been passed to the Western ethnic minority areas 1,300 years ago.