Hello, this site was created and maintained by me -- Andrea Nguyen. I'm a cookbook author, freelance writer, and cooking teacher based in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site is dedicated to one of my all-time favorite foods -- Asian dumplings. No matzo balls here. We're talking pot stickers, sticky rice in banana leaf, stuffed buns (bao), har gow, siu mai, samosas, and the likes from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. I hope to go into Central Asia too!
I've been eating and making Asian dumplings for decades, and recently, I had the great fortune of writing a cookbook on them. I'll be encouraging you to make dumpling wrappers from scratch (you can do it and I will help!). Because you have to do plenty of research to know what a good dumpling is, there are also tips on how and where to find good Asian dumplings. Everywhere I go, I look for dumplings. Why not? They're one of the most wonderful, lovely foods.
Cookbooks and Accolades
2007 Award Finalist
2010 Favorite Cookbooks
Best 10 Cookbooks of 2009
Winter 2009 Gift Guide
You may know me from my site, Viet World Kitchen, and/or my debut cookbook, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, which was published by award-winning Ten Speed Press in October 2006. Into the Vietnamese Kitchen was nominated for three prestigious James Beard and IACP cookbook awards in 2007. I launched the Asian Dumpling Tips site in May 2009 to support my new landmark publication on dumplings from all over Asia. Asian Dumplings (Ten Speed Press, August 25, 2009) is the first book to cover the broad scope of dumpling preparations from all over the region, as well as its manifestations in Asian communities abroad.
In June 2009, the Slate.com food issue listed me among a number of well-respected "recipe detectives" who excel at translating and demystifying foreign foodways for American cooks. I accomplished that with Into the Vietnamese Kitchen and hope to do the same with Asian Dumplings!
In 2011, Asian Dumplings was released as an ebook. There are two kinds to choose from -- depending on what your device will run. One is a digital version of the printed book (a straight ebook) and the other is an enhanced ebook that contains instructional videos to guide cooks through the various shapes; learn more from this page.
To develop and refine the recipes in Asian Dumplings, I traveled to Asia to do research for the book, read many books on Asian cooking and dumpling making, and ate dumplings in major Asian enclaves in the U.S. and Canada. Then, I spent countless days in my home kitchen to perfect the recipes and techniques, and had them tested by a team of recipe testers.
Though you can buy store-bought skins for a number of recipes in Asian Dumplings, I'd like for you to try your hand at making them yourself -- just like a good Asian dumpling master.
As of July 2010, new posts on Asian dumplings are residing on Viet World Kitchen, where I explore Asian food, cooking and culture. I'll post related links on this site but you should check VWK for new content. And, if you love tofu, there are some cool dumpling recipes in my new book, Asian Tofu, to be released on February 28, 2012.
Professional Affiliations and Education
A contributing editor to SAVEUR magazine, my food writing appears in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. I've led a tour of Orange County's Little Saigon for Epicurious TV, which airs on the Travel Channel. A cooking teacher for several years, I've taught classes at Sur la Table in San Francisco, the Institute for Culinary Education in New York, Ramekins in Sonoma, Draeger's in San Mateo, and Let's Get Cookin' in Los Angeles.
I'm a culinary professional and member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR), and San Francisco Professional Food Society (SFPFS). I also am a co-founder of the Asian Culinary Forum, an educational non-profit dedicated to the cuisines and food cultures of Asia, and serve on the advisory board.
I'm a proud alum of the University of Southern California, where I earned my bachelor's and master's degrees. Go Trojans! I've studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong where I honed my Mandarin speaking skills.
My culinary training
Since the age of 10 (when I gained a certain command of English), I've been reading and studying cookbooks. I perused cookbooks, both East and West, as if they were novels. I watched PBS shows by Julia Child and Martin Yan and observed their moves and took in their knowledge. I fantasized about doing something in food but first generation immigrants 'don't do that.' I've been a bank examiner, university administrator, and communication consultant. But in the midst of those careers, I cooked and read the classics as well as new interpretations of food, trying to find cultural and culinary links between cuisines. When reading Asian cookbooks, I tried to figure out how to present the unfamiliar and 'exotic' to a broad audience of cooks. The stuff seemed normal to me, why not others?
To test my determination, I cooked professionally for 1 year in the early 1990s, first at City Restaurant (owned my Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger) in Los Angeles, and then in catering. It was the hardest work I'd ever done. Not glamorous in any way.
My father offered to put me through cooking school -- a bold move on his and my mom's part since they first thought it was crazy of me to get a university degree and then work with my hands! But I demurred and figured that I'd be better off in something more conventional so I went to graduate school and became a communication consultant for clients in education. On the side, I wrote as a freelancer for newspapers and Saveur to hone my writing and research skills. I eventually built a website and won a cookbook contract with Ten Speed Press for my first work, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. It's the book that I've been wanting to write since I was 10, and has since led to this work on Asian dumplings.
I have no formal culinary training. I never went to cooking school. What fuels me is this: A life-long curiosity about food, cooking, and culture. At the end of the day, my aim is to (1) capture the human connections to food and (2) demystify Asian food without dumbing it down.
Feel free to send messages, post comments, and join in the fray. I look forward to 'meeting' you.
Please do not copy and re-post content from this site without getting permission from me first. That's a rights infringement and just plain bad form!