Dumplings with a flair

Jolie Zhou learned to make dumplings back home in Changchun, which is in China's Jilin province, up against North Korea. But she didn't start selling them until she got to the North Tonawanda Farmers Market.

"For years I fed my friends with my dumplings," said Zhou. "They suggested that I come to [the] market."

Zhou makes every dumpling by hand in an inspected kitchen in Buffalo. Usually assisted by her son Mike, a University at Buffalo student, she sells frozen or freshly boiled dumplings on Saturday mornings. Her stand is on the northern perimeter of the market, which is at Robinson and Payne streets.

Pork and chive are the standards, $7 for 10. Vegetable (cabbage, mushroom, carrot, cilantro) and shrimp and cabbage ($9) are regulars. There's a rotating cast that includes eggs with zucchini, fish with cilantro, ginger beef ($8) and more. She also takes custom orders (call 491-6981).

"People think the same thing is boring," she said. "When people talk about China they think about Chinese dumplings. I walk around all the Chinese restaurants, and they don't have (these). So I want U.S. people to see real Chinese food. This is my purpose."

-- Andrew Z. Galarneau