at least one night a week on the second floor of a cozy condo in EaDo, you’ll find a serious dumpling-making set up—large tables with stainless steels bowls full of flour, rolling pins, and cutting boards and jars of juices and powders ready to turn dumpling dough into vivid colors. This is the home of Dumpling Dudez, a creative series of “dumpling experience” workshops founded by Chih Lin and Mike Dorsey.
In each dumpling workshop, attendees learn multiple dumpling folds (from simpler, traditional folds to elaborate, multicolored rose-shaped dumplings), how to dye dough in vibrant colors using natural ingredients, and more, all while socializing in the welcoming vibes of Lin and Dorsey’s home.
The couple, who met in 2007, both come from corporate oil and gas backgrounds. After years of throwing dumpling-making parties that brought together family and friends, they finally made the leap last April to run their dumpling experiences full-time.
I first discovered them through a friend’s joint birthday party: Our group drank glasses of bubbly and sampled the appetizer dumplings while Lin and Dorsey demonstrated how to mix and dye our individual dumpling doughs. I landed at a station with a mason jar full of Chinese spinach juice that turned my dough a vibrant green—the perfect hue, it turned out, for making baby Yoda-shaped dumplings, aka the cutest food I’ve ever made.
“We had made the baby Yoda dumplings for fun to post on Facebook, but we kept having people who’d seen the dumplings online ask to make them. So now we teach everyone,” Lin says.
Dumpling fillings are as carefully tailored as the dough hues—the traditional pork filling was tweaked from Lin’s family recipe—but over time the couple has developed additional creative flavors, including a chicken filling, a popular bacon cheeseburger filling, and even vegan fillings. To accommodate my pescatarian requirements, they created a super tasty medley of mushrooms, crystal noodles, and egg.
After a chunk of time to “freestyle” with our dumpling folding technique, we cooked our dumplings in batches before sitting down to enjoy our creations with a rainbow of dipping sauces. A round of ube-flavored, dark chocolate Rice Krispie treats were offered out for dessert before we headed upstairs to hang out around the fire pit on the rooftop patio.
The three-hour class is worth the $70 cost. Even coming from a Chinese-American, wonton-making household, I still learned a ton of new dumpling-making techniques. The price also includes a generous appetizer, a glass of bubbly, leftover dough you can take home, and an apron and tiny rolling pin—plus semi-professional photos and boomerangs (Lin and Dorsey have a full lighting set up to capture your dumpling skills in the most flattering light possible).
It’s one of the most creative, festive, and thoughtfully curated cooking classes I’ve ever taken—great for date nights, corporate team-building, birthday parties, you name it. And I still can’t get over making baby Yoda dumplings—what a time to be alive.
Dumpling Dudez will host a dumpling-making class and dumpling-beer pairing at Saint Arnold Brewing Co. on Feb 28 at 6 p.m. For more information and to register, visit here.