Friday, December 20, 2019

Local online dumpling biz, Sarah's Dumps, pops up at Fatty's Beer Works this Sat. with traditional, vegan, and buffalo dumplings

Handmade mandu for your mouth

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Fri, Dec 20, 2019 at 10:56 AM

  • Keely Laughlin/Provided
Sarah Williams-Scalise and her husband Nathan say they haven't spent this much time talking in years. For the past few months, late at night and on the weekends, they've spent hours and hours in the kitchen, gently folding dumplings filled with ground beef, cabbage, onions, kimchi. They've got a few dipping sauces up their sleeves, too, though Sarah says you certainly don't need them. The dumps are delicious on their own.

Sarah's online dumpling business, appropriately named Sarah's Dumps, started in October of this year after Sarah brought some of her Korean dumplings to a potluck. The people who tried them wanted more — lots more. Sarah put out a query on Instagram, "If I started taking orders for my dumplings, would you be interested?" It wasn't a few friendly "Hell yeahs!" either. "There were more than 50 comments," she says.

  • Keely Laughlin/Provided
Born in South Korea and adopted when she was five months old, Sarah grew up with white parents in a predominantly white community in Upstate New York. Her parents sent her to two different Korean camps from when she was about 5 or 6 until she was 12. "Both had all kids adopted from South Korea and taught the basics about Korean culture," says Sarah. "Taekwondo, writing our names in Korean, fan dancing, counting in Korean, and food — most notably mandu, or Korean dumplings."

Typically risk averse (she works in insurance), Sarah pitched the idea to Nathan, who is a small business consultant at Bank of America. Growing up in an Italian/Polish family in Pittsburgh, Nathan was familiar with pierogies. He knew a thing or two about starting a small biz; she knew what kind of paperwork they'd need to get in order if and when they grew.

So they created a website, pumped up their social media, and started taking orders. They're now sending out 400-500 flash-frozen dumps weekly (orders can be picked up at Local Works, 1630 Meeting St.). Each order comes with instructions on how to cook the dumplings plus notes on how to make a dipping sauce (Nathan, unlike Sarah, is a condiment hound).

Sarah says traditional (ground beef, ground pork, cabbage, onion) is the most popular flavor, but they also make vegan with shiitake mushrooms, vermicelli rice noodles, cabbage, and onion; kimchi and pork with ground pork, kimchi, and panko; and Buffalo "dumpwings" with chicken, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, celery, panko, and hot sauce.

A pack of 10 is $10, and a variety pack (five of each flavor) is $20.

That last flavor is an ode to her upbringing —"Anchor Bar is where the Buffalo chicken wing was invented so we ship down their Hotter sauce and use it in our dumpwing. Being from Upstate New York, I grew up going to Buffalo football games."

The couple is bringing their vegan, Buffalo, and traditional dumplings to Fatty's Beer Works this Sat Dec. 21 for their first-ever pop up. They'll be selling orders of five for $8, and frozen take-home orders of 10 for $10. They'll also have kimchi, white rice, and a variety of dipping sauces, including the Hotter sauce.

If you can't make it to the solstice event, be sure to check out their website for upcoming pop ups — they've already got three slated for 2020.

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