One of my all-time favourite categories of food is dumplings. Especially pork dumplings. I like them fried, steamed, boiled… you name it, I’ll eat it. My two favourites are gyoza and xiao long bao. Neither S nor I have made the (from what I gather) rather monumental effort of trying to master the latter, but fortunately, a number of years ago, a Japanese friend taught us how to make amazing gyoza.
Our friend, Kumi, like many Japanese ladies, has impeccable taste and is also rather obsessively meticulous. Which means she’s always fabulously turned out and can knock out a fantastically complex multi-course menu while insisting the whole time, “oh, this? It’s nothing special. Just simple home food.” My very first taste of mentaiko pasta and nikujaga (whose name she helped me remember by telling me, “think of Mick Jagger”) were at dinners that she and her husband hosted. Her husband, I might add, mixes some pretty mean drinks and is one of only two people that has had the honor of getting S drunk in the past decade–something even I haven’t been able to do.