Dumplings in Victoria and At Home

A man may build a complicated piece of mechanism, or pilot a steamboat, but not more than five out of ten know how the apple got into the dumpling – Edward A. Boyden

No matter how you serve them (fried, baked, steamed or stewed), dumplings are delicious and diverse. In almost every cuisine you will find some type of dumpling with a variety of fillings.

Typically, dumplings are little pillowy balls of dough made from flour or potatoes and often stuffed with sweet or savoury ingredients.

In West Africa, dumplings are called banku and kenkey. These doughy balls are made from cornmeal flour and eaten steamed with soup or stew.The British and Irish make dumplings from flour, water and fat (butter or suet) and drop them into stew or soup. In America, a classic comfort dish is Chicken and Dumplings, where the dough is cooked by being immersed into a chicken broth with vegetables until they rise and become fluffy.

Asian dumplings are a popular and traditional food — in China, the stuffing ingredients carry specific and symbolic meanings. For example, cabbage stuffing signifies a wish for a hundred kinds of treasure, mushroom stuffing expresses best wishes for being successful,meat stuffing expresses a hope for talent, while fish expresses a wish for receiving more than needed each year.In Japan dumplings are called “gyoza,” in China, “Jiao zi” (JOW-za) and while the Japanese dumplings are traditionally pan fried, Chinese dumplings are eaten both steamed and fried.


If you want authentic Chinese (Mandarin) dumplings go to Johns Noodle Village.This family run restaurant makes their dumplings from scratch and they are excellent; light, flavourful and fresh. They offer several varieties: pork and Chinese cabbage, beef and onion, chicken and bok choy, vegetarian, shrimp and pork, squid with pork and lamb with ginger and green onions (20 for $10). The dumplings are served with a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and soy sauce and, if requested, the house made hot chili oil.

Dumplings, says owner and manager Dylan Wang, have been part of Chinese cuisine for over 1800 years. The shape of dumplings varies from flat to round to fan-shaped like the ones from Johns Noodle Village. This particular shape says Wang, resembles ancient Chinese currency known as Yaun Bao [see photo].
“On Chinese New Year, says Wang “we make dumplings filled with dates to bring good luck, or we put coins in some of them for prosperity, and peanuts for growth.”

Italian dumplings fall under the category of ravioli, tortellini or gnocchi. These little pockets of pasta are filled with anything from spinach to cheese, meat to seafood. Gnocchi are made from a mix of potato, egg, flour and/or cheese then boiled in water and served with cheese or pasta sauce.


Brown Butter Gnocchi with Butternut Squash (serves four)


• ½ Medium Butternut Squash
• 1 Small Yellow Onion, roughly chopped
• 2 Tbsp Butter
• 1 Pkg. Gnocchi (or make your own!)
• 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
• ½ Tsp Dried Sage
• ½ Tsp Dried Thyme
• ½ Cup Chicken Broth
• ¼ Cup White Wine
• Salt and Pepper to Taste
• Optional Garnishes: Jalapeno, Parsley, Toasted Butternut Squash Seeds
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Scoop the seeds out of the squash and fill the cavity with the chopped onion. Place cavity side up on a baking sheet and roast until soft, 30 mins to 1 hour. Allow to cool.
2. Once the squash is cool, peel it (close counts) and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Reserve onions.
3. Meanwhile, heat up a large skillet over medium low heat and add the butter and the onions that you roasted with the squash. Without stirring, allow the butter to melt and then to lightly brown.
4. Add a package of gnocchi. Stirring occasionally, allow the gnocchi to brown on both sides.
5. Add minced garlic, dried sage and thyme and stir to coat evenly. Add the chicken broth and white wine and cover. Allow the gnocchi to simmer until the liquid is almost gone, about 5 minutes.
6. Remove the cover and add the diced butternut squash. Stir to coat in the liquid and cook just long enough for the squash to get warm, season to taste and serve. Top with jalapeño, chopped parsley and cooked butternut squash seeds (or pumpkin seeds).

Recipe source

Where to find dumplings in Victoria

Almost any Japanese or Chinese restaurant will have dumplings on the menu. Here are a few unexpected places to enjoy excellently made dumplings.

Ferris Oyster Bar & Grill
536 Yates Street
(250) 360-1824
Ferris’ classic chicken penne soup, a local’s favourite, is served with house-made rice dumplings. Extra dumplings are $.50 each. You’ll want extra for sure.

I Kyu Noodles (Facebook)
564 Fisgard Street
(250) 388-7828
Located in the heart of China Town, this Japanese noodle house makes their own dumplings with the freshest ingredients — the dough just melts in your mouth. They can be served pan fried or served steamed in soup.

Irish Times
1200 Government Street
(250) 383-7775
Find yourself comforted with this Irish classic; traditional Irish stew served with boxty potato dumplings and soda bread.

Johns Noodle Village
823 Bay Street
(250) 978-9328
Traditional house-made Mandarin style dumplings — 20 for $10.

Lotus Pond [Facebook] 617 Johnson Street
(250) 380-9293
The Lotus Pond is a Buddhist vegan Chinese restaurant serving well over 100 different dishes. Their dumplings are house-made and reasonably priced at 6 for $5.95 and 12 for $11.50.

Noodle Box
Available at the following Victoria locations:
818 Douglas Street
(250) 384-1314
626 Fisgard Street
(250) 380-1312
Due to their popularity they are now a permanent feature on the menu! BBQ pork dumplings with house made kimchi puree – 5 for $6.

Stage Wine Bar
1307 Gladstone Avenue
(250) 388-4222
This is a must-try dish: tender house-made gnocchi with foraged mushrooms, pancetta and piave shavings – $13.75

Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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