Our Mandarin school set up a dumpling making class for students to learn the art of dumpling making while practicing their mandarin at the same time. Unfortunately for me, I am unable to speak Mandarin and push dough into small formations at the same time. It’s just too much for a brain that’s been fairly pickled every night for the last two decades. Anyway, it was still really fun. When I was finished I walked home and ran into Mr. Zhai in front of our place talking with another driver. I showed him the different shaped dumplings and said with excitement, “Mr. Zhai!!!! Kan kan! Wo zuo zhe ge zhao zi (look, i made these dumplings)!!!”. He inspected my plate and said “piao liang, hen hao! (beautiful, very good)” and then he proceeded to tell me in Mandarin that this one particular shape was indeed called Zhao Zi but the other shape was called something else. The other driver chimed in saying, I believe, that in Beijing they are called Zhao Zi, both shapes. Mr. Zhai, a full bred Shanghainese man, wasn’t having it. They went back and forth for several minutes when all my dumpling pride started to fade, I went inside, carefully placed them in the fridge and counted the minutes until Ken came home.
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