Dumplings might be just another dish in any Asian cuisines, but it can hook to something every modern human being cares about: the “f” word. We call that “fashion”.
Yet it’s not about referencing any stylish or extravagant Chinese or Japanese restaurants that offer tiny plates of delicate-looking thin-skin dumplings, with a resplendent ceramic sauce boat filled with special vinegar on the side; instead it’s the real elements of the dumplings themselves, the skin, filling, cooking methods, dressing and taste, that create the subject matters for this food-and-fashion metaphor.
A regular dumpling consists of the skin and filling and it’s usually the latter that people spend most time working on. The filling is a mix of vegetables and meat, very often it’s made of napa cabbage and pork meat. To cook the dumplings you can stream, boil, fry or even deep-fry them. Steaming and boiling creates a more subtle, juicy and al dente taste; while drying and deep-frying make a dry and crispy texture.
No matter what cooking method you choose, you wouldn’t get to grasp the real pleasure until you reach to the inner part of the dumplings – the filling. Just like fashion, regardless of what dresses you wear outside, it’s the mind, soul and attitude inside those pretty dresses that determine whether one can pull off the outfit. There must be confidence, passion and pride inside a woman so that she wears the dress, instead of the dress being hung on a soul-less body.
When it comes to dressing (dipping sauce) of dumplings, some simple soy sauce or vinegar would already work the wonder. Of course you can always try to add more elements for some more complicated style sauce like the Sichuan (the spicy Chinese style) one. But then again once the taste of the dipping sauce fades into your stomach, what draws your ultimate attention is still, the filling. If we put that in fashion, dressing of dumplings is like the accessories of an outfit, you can put as many accessories as you want and in different styles. Silver, gold, pearl, leather, or anything. However, what matters most is still the dress, and what controls the spirit of the dress is the filling of the dress: the passion in a woman.
Yves Saint Laurent’s impeccable quote has proved that,
Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.
Next time when you make dumplings, pay attention to the filling, don’t over-boil or over-fry them as the texture of the filling would turn stiff, and it would break the skins, just like an overly-confident woman would ruin the spirit of a cute dress.