Multiple restaurants are down for the dumplings

Proceeds from festival going to help Chinese seniors living in poverty

Last year’s dumpling event in Chinatown was so plump with delicious fun that it’s being held a second year, Aug. 10.
Ken Tsui and Tannis Ling may have decided not to continue programming the Chinatown Night Market, but they couldn’t resist expanding the Golden Dumpling Cook Off and Derby.
“It was a big hit,” said Tsui.
Golden Dumpling passport holders can fill their bellies by travelling to 20 restaurant stations to taste their dumpling interpretations. Competitors include Ask for Luigi, Vij’s, Bestie and returning champion Pidgin.
Tsui recalls Pidgin’s winning dumpling included duck and perhaps foam. He knows chef Andrea Carlson plans to represent Harvest Community Foods this year with a ramen dumpling.
Speed eaters compete for dumpling downing supremacy in the Dumpling Derby. Last year’s winner John Jugovic will return to defend the men’s title.
“The guy was a machine,” Tsui said. “Forty-five in two minutes, maybe 50 in two minutes. And he continued to eat just to show off, he was dancing on stage and eating dumplings, just because, afterwards.”
Tsui is just as excited about the new fundraising aspect of the event as he is about Golden Dumpling’s entertainment value.
He and Ling learned last year many Chinese seniors in Chinatown, the Downtown Eastside and beyond live with poverty and hunger so they sought a way to help.
Proceeds from the Golden Dumpling Cook Off will be donated to the Chinese Elders Community Kitchen, a program of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.
Up to 20 elder women meet with the centre’s Chinese seniors outreach worker Anita Lau at the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House to cook Chinese food and socialize every Thursday morning.
Lau sees four different groups, or 80 seniors, a month. Some of the mostly Cantonese-speaking women live in low-income hotels on and around East Hastings Street and others live elsewhere in the city with their families who sponsored them to move to Vancouver to care for their grandchildren.
Lau says Chinese seniors face racism and language barriers when they line up for food with others in need in the Downtown Eastside.
“There is a misconception of Chinese elders all having money somehow and they just want to come and access free food when that’s not necessarily true,” Lau said. “In every nationality there’s always the rich and the poor… There’s just that misconception of all Asian people have money for some reason and they just are greedy.”
Lau will let the seniors decide how Golden Dumpling money should be spent.
“Maybe with the money we get we can get some nice stuff every week, like maybe some barbecue foods Chinatown,” she said, noting elders want more outings, such us their upcoming bowling day.
A collaboration of the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Association and Bao Bei restaurant, which Ling owns, the Golden Dumpling Cook Off and Derby happens on Keefer Street near Columbia Street from noon to 5 p.m. as part of the weekend-long Chinatown Festival. Entrance to the festival is free.
Advanced Dumpling passports were almost sold out as of Wednesday afternoon, but 100 will be sold on site.
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