On my second to last evening in Australia, V had asked me where I wanted to go for dinner for the last day of my visit. I originally wanted to take V and K out to thank them for their fabulous hospitality but they didn’t want me to buy them dinner. Since I wasn’t going to win the fight-for-the-bill battle, I picked a stay-at-home dinner with a special request for V’s homemade dumplings.
After our visit to North Wollongong Beach (previous blog post), we went grocery shopping to pick up the ingredients for dumplings. V mentioned there were some ingredients that should be purchased at the local Chinese grocery store so we made an extra stop there as well.
When it comes to food and photos, V is familiar with our drill…. All the ingredients on the counter (strategically placed for the photo by V) for a “before” picture. Afterwards, she gave me some simple tasks to assist with while she dealt with the more complex preparations. My first task was to prepare the ginger-green onion-oil combo. Lots of fine-cutting and chopping for me but I left adding the hot oil part to V. I secretly think V was trying to help me practice my knife skills….
After assembling and blending all the ingredients together to make the filling (chicken in the bowl at the top and shrimp in the bowl on the lower left corner), we settled at the table to wrap dumplings. V wraps dumplings in a very cute and presentable way. They all look like edible yuanbao. Mine, on the other hand… looked like corner-to-corner folding… which, in fact, was exactly what I had done.
I was thoroughly impressed with V’s dumpling skills. When I asked for dumplings, I was only expecting the typical wrapped and boiled dumplings. I didn’t envision pan-fried dumplings as well. I must also add that these dumplings tasted way better than those served in many local food establishments (hole-in-the-wall and/or posh).
Without a doubt, this meal was one of my favourite meals of the trip.
Although I know it was extra work for V to prepare the meal and then clean up afterwards, there were many benefits to staying in for the evening. First of all, V cooks delicious and healthy meals. Not only was I able to learn some cooking skills from her but I was also able to help her with the meal. While V and I prepared the filling and then wrapped the dumplings, K was able to tend to other things in and around their home. Finally, after satisfying our tummies with a delightful dumpling dinner, I was able to get to, without further delay, get back to the task at hand… packing all my stuff back into the suitcases. Eating-in was a fabulous decision!