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About Me

As a Chinese teacher at a private school, I love to see how much my students, friends, and colleagues enjoy Chinese food, especially Chinese dumplings. Dumplings are an important part of Chinese culture and a common meal. We make them for special holidays such as Chinese New Year and other festivals when the family gathers. Dumplings are also a common meal at home and at restaurants for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I have noticed that some American use the same name (dumplings) for different types of Chinese food, although the Chinese have different names for different kinds of dumplings. There are three main kind of dumplings: jiaozi 饺子,shumai烧卖,and buns 包子. The stuffing inside all three kinds of dumplings is widely variable and can be purely meat, meat combined with vegetables, or a combination of vegetables. Tofu, glutinous rice, red beans, purple yam, taro and other authentic traditional ingredients are also added to make our diet healthier. The taste can be savory or sweet. You can enhance our family recipe with a chili dipping sauce of your preferred flavor. You will be never tire of Chinese dumplings because in addition to the wide variety of flavors, there are different ways of cooking them (pan fry, steam, boil, or make dumpling soup). I am passionate about bringing the popular Chinese food to the American dining table. Most importantly, we use the locally grown resources from farmers’ markets. While we have authentic Chinese food, we are also supporting local farmers.

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Learn & Share

We taste culture through food. We connect to each other by learning and sharing. Here, we provide a great opportunity for children and families to get together and make Chinese dumplings, eat the dumplings, sing karaoke, and be a family together. We love to hear your stories about Chinese food, watch you enjoy the food that you made with your own hands, and be inspired by Chinese culture, language, and food.

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Bethesda Magazine May/June 2024
Best Seller

FOR POTOMAC RESIDENT LAN JIN, 50, teaching Chinese to children for the past 11 years at Bethesda's Norwood School has been one way to introduce people to her native culture. Making and selling dumplings has become another.
"All Chinese people know how to make dumplings. It's very social for us," she explains. "I'd make and freeze them for friends and colleagues so they could make them at home, and teach my students how to make them for Chinese New Year." They were such a hit that Jin started selling them as Jinlan Wenhua Dumplings(wenhua means "culture" in Mandarin) at the now-closed Central Farm Market in Falls Church in October 2020, and then at Bethesda Central Farm Market three months later. Now she's at eight farmers markets, including Bethesda on Sundays and the Freshfarm market in Silver Spring on Saturdays. She produces the dumplings in a commercial kitchen in Gaithersburg, but will be moving the operationto White Flint Station in North Bethesda this summer, when she anticipates opening a 30-seat restaurant there called Jin Lan Dumplings. She plans to open another location in Georgetown in October.
On the market menu are varieties of frozen beef, pork, lamb, chicken, shrimp and vegetarian dumplings, such as pork and chive; pork and bok choy; chicken and cabbage; egg, shrimp and chives; and lamb and carrots. The dumplings are raw and come with directions for pan-frying and microwaving. All are $13 for eight dumplings, except for lamb dumplings, which are $15. Other items include Sichuan wontons ($15) and Shanghai scallion pancakes ($15).
Jin, who now only teaches part time,sources many ingredients from other farmers market vendors. She has 14 part-time workers, two drivers and four dumpling makers. "I like to give jobs to immigrants, especially mothers and grandmothers. A lot of Chinese grand-mothers came here to help with their grandchildren; once the kids are grown, they have nothing to do at home," she says. "Now they have something to do with their hands and a way to socialize."

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