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Lesson 55 Dumpling

Chinese Lover





































(opening scene: cousin, Xiaojie and friend meet at the entrance to the square courtyard)

cousin/friend: Haven’t seen you for a long time. How have you been? (small talk)

cousin: This is my cousin’s daughter, Xiaojie. Xiaojie, this is Aunt Wang.

Xiaojie: Hello Aunt Wang!

friend: Such a pretty girl! Come on. Please come inside.

Xiaojie: Aunt, aunt Wang’s courtyard is really interesting; it’s totally different to my house.

cousin: Ms Wang, the kids today have no idea what it’s like to live in a square courtyard.

friend: Yes, what fun we had when we were little. We’d catch crickets in summer, make snowmen in winter, and if anyone had made something nice to eat, we’d all share it.

cousin: Yes, even back then I loved coming to your house for dumplings. I remember your dumplings were especially tasty.

friend: Haha, you still remember. Great! Well today I’ll make dumplings for you.

Xiaojie: Great! I love dumplings. At Chinese New Year, dad makes dumplings for my mum and me.

(at home, on the sofa)

friend: Wait, I’ll go and get something for you.

Xiaojie: Aunt, is she an old friend of yours?

cousin: Yes, we used to be neighbors when we were kids. Later she went overseas, so your aunt hasn’t seen her for a long time.

friend: Here’s some candy, sunflower seeds and peanuts. Help yourselves. I’ll go and make dumplings for you.

Xiaojie: Auntie, let me help you make them.

friend: Oh? Do you know how?

Xiaojie: No, but I want to learn.

cousin: Then let’s make them together. They taste better when you make them yourselves.

(they make dumplings)

cousin: That’s alright, Xiaojie. Just do it slowly. Try another one.

Xiaojie: (says while making dumplings)I think dumplings are shaped like ears. Look! (puts dumpling next to ear)

friend: You don’t say? The older folks used to say, if you eat dumplings, your ears won’t get frostbite in winter.

Xiaojie: That’s why they look like ears. (the two adults laugh)

(dumplings are served)

friend: Come on, Xiaojie, eat up. But be careful. They’re hot!

Xiaojie: They’re so delicious. Look, I made this one. (shots of eating dumplings)

Xiaojie: Hey, this dumpling has a sweet inside.

cousin: Aunt Wang put it in specially, hope your future will be sweet as candy.

Xiaojie: That’s interesting Sweets can make filling too.

cousin: Not just sweets. During Chinese New Year, some people put coins in dumplings.

Xiaojie: Coins? How do you eat them? How dirty!

friend: You don’t really eat them. But if you get one of these dumplings during Chinese New Year, it means you’ll have a lucky year and make lots of money.

Xiaojie: Is that for real? Auntie, did you make one of these dumplings today? Let me try to find one. (they laugh and eat dumplings)


1)V+不清楚the result of the verb is not clear


He could never quite figure out the departure time.


Your writing is too small. I can't see it clearly.

2)惦记 remember fondly, miss, worry


The mother always missed her daughter who has gone to study abroad.


Don't worry. I'll take care of the child.

Sign Posts


A wide variety of different Chinese foods fall under the English term “dumpling”. Of these, 饺子 are most popular in northern China, wher they are seen as a symbol of festivity and served as the main dish during Spring Festival celebrations. In vast areas of north China and especially in the countryside, jiaozi are served throughout the year and especially when there are guests for dinner. As we will discuss in future lesson, some places even offer what is called a 饺子宴, literally a jiaozi banquet, wher you are treated to a sampling of dozens of different types of jiaozi, boiled, steamed, fried and roasted, and containing an unlimited variety of fillings.

Jiaozi are made with a thin pastry wrapper, usually with seasoned mincemeat as the filling. They are usually in the shape of a crescent moon, or, as some say, in the shape of ears. This led to the tradition that jiaozi should be eaten in winter to help avoid frostbite on the ears. Jiaozi are normally boiled, but can also be steamed under cover. Steamed jiaozi are called 蒸饺子.

A great variety of food may be used for the filling. Minced pork, mutton and beef as well as prawn or shrimp are common meats. These are then combined with various vegetables and dried mushrooms.

After cooking, the jiaozi are commonly dipped in a sauce of vinegar and soya sauce. Again, there are many variations to the dipping sauce depending on local custom..

In southern China, another style of dumplings called 馄饨 are common. In English we refer to these as won tons, from the Cantonese pronounciation. Wontons are similar to jiaozi, but have a thinner wrapping and contain less filling. Wontons are also folded in a different way that leaves a loose flap, and are always boiled and served in broth.

In 1969, a Tang Dynasty tomb was excavated in Xinjiang, wher a wooden bowl was unearthed containing a number of dumplings looking just like the jiaozi of today. This indicates that jiaozi have been enjoyed in China for at least 1000 years.

Substitution and Extension

1)你还别说…… show agreement


You know, he actually said something quite reasonable.