Over the last year, Ray Ma and Chris Lerohl of Honest Dumplings have worked hard to build up their brand. The philosophy behind their dumplings sets them apart from anything you’d find at a conventional grocery store – not only are they committed to purchasing local and refrain from using preservatives or artificial additives, but they also focus on unique flavour combinations. In addition, they’ve had a consistent presence at the City Market, as well as at a variety of food festivals and events, including the Mercer Summer Super Party and Hawkers Market. And based on the response to their first-ever pop-up, I’d say they’re in store for an even bigger year in 2015!
Mack and I headed over to Drift’s storefront on 124 Street after work tonight, and encountered a line nearly twenty deep when we arrived. Thankfully, it wasn’t too cold out, and combined with a visit to Duchess across the street to pick up dessert (while Mack held our place in line), the hour long wait wasn’t too bad.
Given it was their first pop-up, things were really smooth. We paid up front, were directed to a table, and our food was brought out in due time. For $15, diners were treated to an order of eight meat or vegetarian dumplings, a rice hashbrown, lemon pepper tofu, Reclaim Urban Farm sunflower shoots, and a slice of dragon fruit.
One of my favourite things about Honest Dumplings is the fact that they always offer a number of tastes with every order – each plate subsequently feels more substantial and value-laden. On this occasion, we were able to sample eight different varieties.
Our favourites included the short rib & apple pear and maple pork belly dumplings on the meat side (wonderfully deep flavours in two-bite form), and the mixed mushroom & truffle oil on the vegetarian side. I also really enjoyed the crispy rice cake – I loved the texture, though Mack would have preferred a slightly thinner patty.
You can find Honest Dumplings at the City Market every Saturday, or order their product one from SPUD. With party packs for sale ($40 for 32 dumplings plus a dipping sauce), they would be an easy and colourful addition to any appetizer platter this holiday season.
Given the popularity of this pop-up (and the successes of the Prairie Noodle Shop), this form of dining is definitely alive and well in Edmonton. Here’s hoping this is the first of many for Honest Dumplings!
Learn more about Honest Dumplings in this Journal article.