When my dad first started his business, it was just him, my grandma, and my grandpa. Three people running a small shop on Robson street with no knowledge of the food industry in Vancouver. The one thing they were experts in were dumplings. That’s why my dad’s first ever restaurant was called “Gyoza King”.
I remember being as young as 7 or 8, standing in the kitchen and watching my grandma wrap up these dumplings at such a rapid pace. Once in a while, she would hand me some wrappers and a bit of meat for me to have fun with. She always told me “wow very nice” in Cantonese and lined my crooked, mushy, and uneven dumplings right next to her perfectly wrapped ones. As I grew older, she taught me tips and tricks on how to make them better. Of course I still can’t get them as perfect as hers but I still try once in a while! It’s a distinct memory that I will always keep of my grandma with me.
Fast forward to today, my grandma hasn’t stopped. She still wraps up these dumplings flawlessly, going back to fix each one even if there was the slightest difference. Did I mention that she hand wraps each one? She believes in only the best and puts the extra time and work in to make them perfect. It amazes me how she does this each week so that my parents’ restaurants are kept up with stock. Never once have we run out because she is so on top of everything.
A couple days ago, I went over to help out and so that I could spend some time with my grandma and catch up as we live such busy lives and rarely get a chance to. She gets so happy whenever me or my sisters visit and it fills my heart with happiness. I asked her: “how many do you think you’ve wrapped in your lifetime?”. She responded with a quick chuckle and said: “as long as your dad needs them, I will continue to help.”.
Dumplings may just be an asian dish to some but for me, it signifies hard work, commitment, determination, and sacrifice that both my grandparents and my parents have made in order to build this life in Vancouver for me and my sisters. Something that I will be forever thankful for and encourages me to strive for success to show them that everything they have done will be worth it in the end.