When in Chinatown…


As you probably know, San Francisco is home to quite a large Chinese American population. SF Chinatown–the one downtown–is the oldest in the U.S., and a major tourist attraction, but there’s more than just one Chinese neighborhood in San Francisco. Apparently, in the Sunset, there are no fewer than three mini-Chinatowns. Wikipedia attests to this, so it must be true.

The other day, after running to the Pacific Ocean, A and I hopped on the bus back. What can I say? We were getting hungry. But the point to make here is that along the route, we passed by blocks and blocks of Asian shops, restaurants and groceries. I was inspired.

When in Chinatown, eat make dumplings wontons! I went to a Chinese market looking for dumpling skins, but they only had wonton wrappers, so pork-leek-cilantro wontons it was going to be. I had to Google how to fold the wrappers since it was my first time making wontons and the owner did an extremely poor job of explaining this. But just look how cute those little flying-nun hats turned out!

Filling ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 small leek, chopped
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • A tad of ginger powder
  • A dash of soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Sorry, I don’t generally use precise measurements when cooking. As my mom always says when I ask how to make a Korean dish, “enough of this” and “a bit of that” is as precise as it gets. But I like my wontons leeky and cilantro-y, so I put in generous helpings of both, finely chopped. I didn’t add any salt or pepper, but it might not have been a bad idea to do so. I ended up sprinkling a bit of salt on the cooked wontons and using plenty of dipping sauce.


  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Green onion
  • Drop of sesame oil

Cooking instructions:

  • Mix all the filling ingredients listed up top. 
  • Place about a teaspoon of filling in the center of the square wrapper.
  • To fold the wonton [this how-to has handy pictorials]:
    • Wet the edges of the wrapper, and fold in half to make a rectangular shape.
    • Pinch the bottom-middle of the filling bulge to make a fortune cookie-esque shape, and fold up the outer edge of the wrapper.
    • Wet the corners to seal the wonton.
  • Pan fry the dumplings in a bit of vegetable oil.
  • Add a cup of water and simmer until the water evaporates, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Turn the wonton over at some point so it simmers on both sides.

Eat and enjoy!


8 thoughts on “When in Chinatown…

  1. cool! I took a cooking class here in Shanghai and we broke into groups and some of us made dumplings. We used gross ‘fats’ too, so I opted to be on vegetable duty ;) These sound yummy! One of my favourite kinds use celery too. Cooked celery is surprsingly very good!

    1. Hmm — interesting! I can kind of imagine it, as I quite like celery in stuffing. Might be worth trying sometime! What else other than celery would you put in it?

      1. I know they use pork a lot. I can’t remeber what else right now… It has been awhile since I had them. We have them at school once a week, but not so fancy, I haven’t bought school lunch for a long time. Now I am craving them ;)

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