Chinese New Year is happening in 24 hours. The 5th of February marks the year of the Earth Pig, and I would like to share what I got up to a couple of days ago.
Canton Road at the Shangri-la at the Fort, Manila offered a 2-hour dumpling making class just in time for the Chinese New Year. I’ve always loved dumplings (any kind, but pierogis I love the most!), so when I received an invite to give the class a go, I knew I wouldn’t miss this.
Dumplings are considered one of the “lucky” types of food served during Chinese New Year. So far I’m loving 2019 (Western Calendar), and I’d want the luck to keep coming in, so dumpling class, here we go!
Together with his team of chefs, Canton Road’s Chinese Executive Chef Wang Wei Qing led our class and through an interpreter, we learned that traditionally, for Chinese New Year, coins are inserted in random dumplings and whoever gets the dumpling with coins are deemed prosperous and lucky for the year. Since the concept of biting into coins poses more of a health hazard than a sign of luck, all the dumplings we made for the day were coin-free.
The two-hour dumpling class had us make 2 types of dumplings and a coconut rice cake. I also received my own apron and disposable chef’s hat.
I soon learned that making dumplings is definitely not as easy as devouring them. Care and attention to detail is very important. Making sure that you pull off the right size of each dough segment, rolling them into a perfect round shape while maintaining the right thickness is important. Also crucial is knowing just the right amount of filling that goes into every dumpling so that it doesn’t burst in the seams, or be hollow that it turns doughy.
If it isn’t evident yet, I haven’t quite perfected the art of ‘folding’ the dumpling. My dumplings looked like empanadas, but hey they passed the taste test!
These Pig-Shaped Lotus Buns (which will be steamed later on) were the most fun to make. Inside them are decadent balls of lotus bean paste. It’s a dessert-type of bun that’s not too sweet.
2 hours go by pretty quickly when you’ve got your hands full making and decorating dumplings. We finished around noon and it was time for a dim sum feast lunch.
The lunch was, if I recount correctly, 12 or 13-course. Don’t be misled, the 1st entry on the menu isn’t one item – they were all separate dim sum dishes. Each of these dishes were selected and considered prosperous to have for the new lunar year.
I can say that all of the dishes were really delectable ( I only tried the vegetable and seafood options) , and my personal favourites are the Crabmeat and Wintermelon soup, and the coconut rice cakes (red plum flavoured). These rice cakes are a staple during Chinese New Year, they are pan fried to a crisp coating but inside is just the right amount of sticky and chewiness.
We finished around early afternoon and I left feeling not just happily full but also with a sense of fulfilment as I took home with me not just boxes of dumplings but also the knowledge of making them.
If you happen to be in Manila over the next couple of weeks, you too can have this dumpling-making / dimsum lunch experience.
From 02 February to 16th February 2019, Canton Road at the Shangri-la at the Fort, Manila will hold 2-hour classes from 10:00 – 12:00 noon.
The class includes a dim sum feast at one of the private dining rooms of Canton Road.
This dim sum lunch and lessons experience is priced at Php 2,988.00 (approx AUD 79.00) nett for adults (18 years and above), and Php 1,888 (approx AUD 50.00) nett for kids aged 8-17 years.
Advanced reservations are recommended. Contact (632) 820 0888 or cantonroad(at)shangri-la.com