• Dumplings are humble and homey. They make people smile. I have loved them since childhood, and this site focuses on cooking and finding the tastiest morsels. It's also the companion to my cookbook, Asian Dumplings.

    Andrea Nguyen
    Author & Teacher

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I am a cook who sometimes runs all-dumpling brunches at a pop-up restaurant I cook for. Because we are serving dozens of people with a very small staff and because the nature of the pop-up restaurant means that we don't have the infrastructure of a traditional restaurant, we have to strategize our dumpling menus very carefully.

My advice, in addition to all of Andrea's extremely good points above:

-- Choose at least one dumpling that is very forgiving of being cooked in advance and reheated. (Steamed bao are great in this role.) Make them in advance, steam them off, then resteam them as you need them.

-- Choose at least one dumpling that does not have to be filled/folded. Meatballs that are rolled in rice or tapioca, for instance, are enormously quicker to produce a la minute than a dumpling that has to be pinched and pleated.

-- Decide in advance whether you plan to serve multiple dumpling types at the same time, or serve each dumpling separately as it is cooked. Be warned that people will eat larger quantities of whatever they are served first. If you serve each dumpling type as it is cooked, you will probably end up with a lot of leftovers of whatever dumplings come later in the game. (Plan ahead: make sure it's something you can reheat.)

Last, consider your portion sizes carefully. The menu you have proposed is larger than you may think -- dumplings are small but they add up quickly. Even if you're only planning one or two dumplings of each type per person, you're looking at a pretty substantial plate of food by the time you put it all together. Between you, me, and the wall, I'd narrow it down some. Har gao *or* siu mai, not both; and as Andrea says, taro puffs *or* spring rolls, not both.

Have fun!

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