Dumplings take star billing

By Zhao Yanrong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-26 09:30
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Dumplings take star billing
A dumpling restaurant run by the mother of pop singer Han Geng attracts
 fans of traditional Chinese food as well. Wang Jing / China Daily
Dumplings take star billing
Dumplings served at the Meihua Jiaren restaurant.
An Olympic torch has pride of place in the middle of the room, photos line the walls and hundreds of notes cover the middle pillar of the Meihua Jiaren (Plum flower Family) Dumpling Restaurant. A small restaurant that is a must-go place for many young Korean girls visiting Beijing.

Dumplings take star billing

The owner of the restaurant is Yu Xiaoyun, the mother of Han Geng, a Chinese pop singer and actor who is a superstar in South Korea. Many of her son's fans visit the restaurant, and some even work as volunteers. As they never ask for payment, Yu treats them to meals.

"I am very moved by the enthusiasm of the fans. But I think managing my restaurant well and taking care of my costumers are the most important things for me," she said.

Despite being a superstar's mother, Yu is extremely down to the earth. She takes orders, serves dishes, and even cleans the tables.

"This restaurant is part of my life, and it keeps me busy," Yu added. "Han Geng does not stay in China often. But in Beijing I get a chance to see him if he comes to perform."

Many of the young women who visit the restaurant frequently say Han Geng is no longer the only reason they go there - they also go for the delicious homemade food.

Dumplings take star billing

"I will definitely miss the food here after I leave," said Xu Wenjing, a 19-year-old woman who is going to Australia to study in couple months.

She said she first visited the restaurant because she was a big fan of Han Geng, but that her frequent visits since are more about the cheap and tasty food.

"The food is not expensive at all, comparing with the other restaurants in this area," Xu said. "Sometimes, we have to wait for seats. It is always full house during the weekends."

"Dumplings are easy to cook and taste good. We serve homemade dumplings and hope the customers feel at home when they come," Yu said.

Besides dumplings the restaurant also serves many other popular homemade dishes and Yu recommends: Dongbei Lapi (northeast vermicelli with vegetables), Chanzuiwa (chili frogs' legs) as well as her egg and tomato dumplings.

The Chinese vermicelli is one of the local foods from Yu's hometown. It is different to Italian vermicelli, as it is made of potato and looks like yellow crystal after cooking. The topping is green cucumber slices. Dressed with some rice vinegar and salt, it is a tasty and refreshing entre.

Dumplings take star billing

The chili frogs' legs are made with mushrooms and chili sauce and cooked in the South China style, which is quite spicy and uses pepper seeds. Be warned it can make your tongue numb. If you like the famous Sichuan dish Water-boiled Fish, you will not want to miss the bright red chili frogs' legs.

Egg and tomato is one of the most common Chinese dishes, but I never knew that you could get egg and tomato dumplings. The dumplings are a quite small, but very beautiful, you can see the red beneath the white dumpling wrappers, which makes them look like new buds waiting to appear in the spring.

If you are a fan of Korean pop culture or in the area and craving the taste of homemade food Meihua Jiaren Dumpling Restaurant is definitely worth a visit.

Only 500m north of Pinganli Station on Subway Line 4, you are guaranteed to feel the love of all those adoring fans.