Five Years Ago This Week, When Vancouverites Crushed Thousands of Dumplings Outside

For this edition of #ThrowbackThursday we go back to a much simpler time when we could crowd into parking lots with chopsticks in hand and feast upon chefs’ efforts to win the Golden Dumpling…

On a hot day five years ago this week I stuffed my face to capacity while judging the Dumpling Festival, which I (and presumably many others) miss dearly. Here are Michelle Sproule’s words and photos from that especially filling day…

The highly anticipated and always super fun Dumpling Festival went down yesterday, piggybacking gracefully next to Food Truck Fest just off the False Creek seawall west of Olympic Village. Though the festival focuses on the creative dumplings made by many of Vancouver’s best restaurants, it’s also for a good cause, with ticket sales going to support The Chinese Elders Community Kitchen, which seeks a weekly gathering of Chinese Elders getting together to cook and share a meal in a safe space at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.

Ticket holders are given a vote that determines the people’s choice winner, with their scores being added to the weight of the judges, who ultimately determine the winner of the Golden Dumpling, a beautiful trophy previously won by the likes of Pidgin (2013) and Maenam (2014). This year, it went to Le Mezcaleria, a great Mexican restaurant on Commercial Drive. Their little Pork Cochinita Pibil jobs were fantastic. Bonus: the dumpling derby saw a record broken — the winner in the male category was something of a mad man, having crammed over 30 dumplings into his face in record time.

It goes without saying that we can’t wait until events like this return. Sigh…

  • Ken Tsui fondles the coveted Golden Dumpling
    Ken Tsui fondles the coveted Golden Dumpling
  • Wildebeest | Duck Confit Billettes, Smoked Duck Liver Parfait
    Wildebeest | Duck Confit Billettes, Smoked Duck Liver Parfait
  • Golden Dumpling winners - Chef Armando of La Mezcaleria holding the Golden Dumpling
    Golden Dumpling winners - Chef Armando of La Mezcaleria holding the Golden Dumpling
  • Golden Dumpling offering from La Mezcaleria
    Golden Dumpling offering from La Mezcaleria
  • Gyoza Bar | Golden Dumpling 2015
    Gyoza Bar | Golden Dumpling 2015
  • Golden Dumpling 2015
    Golden Dumpling 2015
  • Acorn / Squash Blossom Dumpling | Golden Dumpling 2015
    Acorn / Squash Blossom Dumpling | Golden Dumpling 2015
  • Golden Dumpling Crowd
    Golden Dumpling Crowd
  • Au Comptoir does a crepe
    Au Comptoir does a crepe
  • Golden dumpling
    Golden dumpling
  • Crowd watching The Dumpling Derby
    Crowd watching The Dumpling Derby
  • Crowd watching The Dumpling Derby
    Crowd watching The Dumpling Derby
  • Dumpling Derby Winner - obviously still jacked
    Dumpling Derby Winner - obviously still jacked
  • IMG_0440
  • Women's Dumpling Derby Contestants cheer winner
    Women's Dumpling Derby Contestants cheer winner
  • Dumpling Simplicity
    Dumpling Simplicity
  • Derby Line-Up
    Derby Line-Up
  • Women's Dumpling Derby winner
    Women's Dumpling Derby winner
  • Dumpling Derby Just-in-case buckets
    Dumpling Derby Just-in-case buckets
  • Dumpling Derby
    Dumpling Derby
  • Golden Balloon
    Golden Balloon
  • Braised Pork Cheek Egg Dumpling from Maenam
    Braised Pork Cheek Egg Dumpling from Maenam
  • Sai Woo / Seafood Dumpling in curry sauce
    Sai Woo / Seafood Dumpling in curry sauce
  • Chef Rob Clark Preparing Squash Blossom 'Dumplings'
    Chef Rob Clark Preparing Squash Blossom 'Dumplings'
  • Cinara
    Cinara
  • Golden Dumpling Crowd
    Golden Dumpling Crowd
  • Golden Dumpling Crowd
    Golden Dumpling Crowd
  • Golden Dumpling Crowd
    Golden Dumpling Crowd
  • Dumpling prep
    Dumpling prep
  • Golden Dumpling Crowd
    Golden Dumpling Crowd
  • Nico ponders her next move
    Nico ponders her next move
  • Alexandra at Dumpling Fest
    Alexandra at Dumpling Fest
  • Ready to stamp passports
    Ready to stamp passports
  • Dumpling Derby Contestants
    Dumpling Derby Contestants
  • Tasty
    Tasty
  • Derby winner (47 dumplings?)
    Derby winner (47 dumplings?)
  • Dumpling fest
    Dumpling fest
  • Crowd watches as Derby contestants stuff their faces
    Crowd watches as Derby contestants stuff their faces
  • Dixon gives the crowd the scoop on Derby rules
    Dixon gives the crowd the scoop on Derby rules
  • Derby crowd
    Derby crowd
  • Ken and Dixon ready for the Derby to begin.
    Ken and Dixon ready for the Derby to begin.
  • Womens Derby Contestants
    Womens Derby Contestants
  • Dumpling Crowd
    Dumpling Crowd
  • Cotton candy to finish
    Cotton candy to finish
  • Nico and his helpers...
    Nico and his helpers...
  • Acorn staff
    Acorn staff
  • Scott (Acorn) stands out in corn costume
    Scott (Acorn) stands out in corn costume
  • Plates of dumplings ready for contest
    Plates of dumplings ready for contest
  • Chicha Dumpling - so tasty
    Chicha Dumpling - so tasty
  • Dumpling Fest Crowd
    Dumpling Fest Crowd
  • Chad, always looking impossibly dapper.
    Chad, always looking impossibly dapper.
  • Dumpling Festival Crowd
    Dumpling Festival Crowd
  • Pat, Lizzy & Andrew
    Pat, Lizzy & Andrew
  • Chicha prep
    Chicha prep
  • Prepping dumplings at Acorn
    Prepping dumplings at Acorn
  • The Champ
    The Champ
  • Andrea (Harvest)
    Andrea (Harvest)
  • Squash Blossoms
    Squash Blossoms
  • Dumpling Festival Enthusiasm
    Dumpling Festival Enthusiasm
  • Tiny judge
    Tiny judge
  • Judges Table (Joël Watanabe)
    Judges Table (Joël Watanabe)
  • Acorn
    Acorn
  • Catching the Derby action
    Catching the Derby action
  • "What did I get myself in to?"
    "What did I get myself in to?"
  • Did not look quite as composed 2 minutes 30+ Dumplings later
    Did not look quite as composed 2 minutes 30+ Dumplings later
  • Get in there...
    Get in there...
  • Working on getting the dumplings down
    Working on getting the dumplings down
  • months of training lead to this moment...
    months of training lead to this moment...
  • Dumpling Fest Crowd
    Dumpling Fest Crowd
  • Fred Lee checking in with Dumpling Derby Winner
    Fred Lee checking in with Dumpling Derby Winner
  • Derby official counting dumplings.
    Derby official counting dumplings.
  • Past champ returns to try her luck...
    Past champ returns to try her luck...
  • Dumpling Fest
    Dumpling Fest
  • Dumpling Derby
    Dumpling Derby
  • Dumpling Derby
    Dumpling Derby
  • Dumpling Fest
    Dumpling Fest
  • Dumpling Fest
    Dumpling Fest
  • Shelome Bouvette: Owner/ Executive Chef Chicha
    Shelome Bouvette: Owner/ Executive Chef Chicha
  • Tannis and Alexandra
    Tannis and Alexandra
  • Brandon (Pidgin)
    Brandon (Pidgin)
  • Au Comptoir
    Au Comptoir
  • Steaming
    Steaming
  • Pidgin
    Pidgin
  • La Mezcaleria
    La Mezcaleria

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