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We call this the ultimate win-win.
Legend says the more dumplings you eat on Chinese New Year, the more money you’ll make in the coming year—which sounded like a pretty good deal to me. So I was certainly looking forward to enjoying Peaceful Restaurant‘s Northern pork dumplings at a special lunar new year feast, and hey, I wasn’t going to complain if I got a little wealth out of it, too.The only catch? The dumplings were the sixteenth tapas-style dish to be served during a 17-course (!) meal, following Woodear mushroom salad, Sichuan Thousand Chilli Chicken and Xing-Jiang cumin lamb. I was nearly noodled out by the time the dumplings came around, but I took a deep breath and raised my chopsticks high: I’m not a quitter.And the perfect porky pillows did not disappoint. The doughy shell was soft but sturdy enough to withstand a hearty dip in a light vinegar sauce and rather than being a homogenous mystery filling, every ingredient (minced pork, cabbage, chives, ginger and green onions) served a purpose, the different flavours working together without collapsing on each other. Another bonus: eating dumplings is fun. Thousands of years of evolution haven’t done much for my ability to shovel noodles into my mouth with a pair of wooden sticks, but even I have enough dexterity to pick up a dumpling—and I popped those babies into my mouth with the enthusiasm of a Hungry Hungry Hippo (flattering comparison, right?). I don’t know whether it was the taste, the fun or the promise of money, but I consumed enough of them that I’m pretty sure I’ll be a billionaire before the year is up.My mom loves talking about how, as a child, I cried when I found out I was born in the Year of the Rat. Well, according to the ribbon-wrapped booklet given to me at the end of dinner, along with some leftover dumplings to take home (score!), this year is going to be “mixed” for me, and I will have difficulty in my “private life.”We rats have it hard. But at least I’ll be rich.Northern Pork Dumplings, $8, peacefulrestaurant.com Northern Pork Dumplings Throughout the meal, Master Chef Charlie Huang and his son, Eugene, showed eager diners how to make blade-sheared and hand-pulled noodles. I was lucky enough to be one of the few who got to try making dumpling and, let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it looks.