Dumplings, how I love you! Oh, you make me fat, but last night, you were perfect.
Is there anything better than dinner with old friends over dumplings?
A few days ago a facebook message popped up on my iphone. A friend I went to school with is in town and out of the blue she suggested we meet up. Sure! She messaged 4 of us – one of the girls I hadn’t seen since year 10. Two I keep up with all the time. The girl who messaged – I haven’t seen her for 15 years. Where did the time go?
Facebook is incredible – within half a day we’d picked a night for dinner at my favourite (and one of Sydney’s best) dumpling house.* Dumplings are friendship food, this will be good.
8pm on Tuesday and we start arriving. Excited hugs and nervous giggles. She has an American accent. “Of course, I’ve lived in LA for 10 years!”
The next person arrives – no longer in a 15 year old’s punk phase she’s wearing pastels with light hair, diamond sparkling on her finger. She’s an editor for a craft magazine and has surprised herself learning to crochet and quilt. She just got married last year and grins when she sees us “This is surreal! Hello!”
Two more join soon. One just finished reading a bedtime story to her little girl, the other is pregnant with her third.
“It’s so good to see you. What is life like for you these days? How long are you in town for?”
“I’m starving, let’s order. Man I love dumplings.”
Green tea all ’round. A plate of cold noodles, fried pork bun with shallots, steamed pork & cabbage dumplings, too cute boiled lamb dumplings with soup inside, shallot pancakes. Large please. We can’t eat it all, we pack two containers of leftovers to take home.
The food is fresh and easy to share. Between dumplings we talk about travel, kids, boyfriends, weddings. Work and holidays. Old teachers and slumber parties. Playing with tomogachis under the desk and copying physics homework. The first time we got together to watch foxtel and how we danced to MTV. Year 7 chess club (oh yes we did!) and year 10 dances.
Old friends remembering when mums dropped us off for a party or a visit to each other’s houses. “How are your parents?”
Snippets of conversations we recall from decades ago. That uniform with knee-high green socks. Lunches on the school lawn. “Remember when…?”
After dinner I head back to one friend’s house for homemade affrogatos on the back porch, biscuits and a midnight snack of leftover dumplings. We chat about the night and the big things of life.
Home after midnight only to wake up for work at 6am.
The last of the leftover dumplings were winking at me from the fridge. I eat three for breakfast, remembered to save two for my husband. A quick shower then it’s time to refurn to the office and everyday life.
Man I love dumplings.
Over to you,
* I love love love Shanghai Nights in Ashfield. Fresh hot food and just $36.80 for all 5 of us, including leftovers. Yes, less than $8 each. Best.