Dumpling fans unite, these fresh and tasty dumplings have gone mobile

Dumpling fans unite, these fresh and tasty dumplings have gone mobile

Words by Mackenzie Pennycook

If you’re a lover of all things dumpling this one’s for you, prepare to get your dumpling fix from the comfort of your own home.

They are so simple and yet so scrumptious – dumplings are surely one of man’s greatest inventions ever. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as dipping these little pockets of amazingness into sauce and then stuffing your face!

Realising the satisfaction and pure happiness that these little parcels bring, Emma Ma saw a space in the market for fresh, healthy and delicious dumplings that you can get delivered to your very own home, leading to the creation of Geelong’s first dedicated dumpling food truck, The Li’l Dumpling Van.

The Li’l Dumpling Van was hatched in February 2020, just before the lockdowns hit, and was initially planned to serve up dumplings mobile style at festivals and events. However, as the lockdown loomed, The Li’l Dumpling Van had to adapt and began offering home delivery of frozen varieties to fill that dumpling shape void in your life.

“All events were cancelled, and we had to think quickly on what to do. Everyone had to adjust to working from home, with kids doing schooling from home. It was a big change and a lot of pressure. We thought, how can we help?,” business owner Emma explains.

“We quickly switched to a new business model – from freshly cooked dumplings at events to home delivery of frozen dumplings so people could cook in their own home. Our dumplings are easy to cook – even kids can cook them! We focussed on Geelong and also the surrounding areas such as Bannockburn, Lara and Ocean Grove. These areas are often forgotten with home delivery and we didn’t want them to miss out.”

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While the business model changed, it’s the initial idea that kept Emma grounded throughout, with The Lil Dumpling Van being born out of a love for all things dumplings, promising fresh, handmade, healthy dumplings made with love from Emma’s mum’s special recipe.

“Growing up, we always had dumplings. In Chinese culture, dumplings are enjoyed at all times of the day, breakfast, lunch, dinner and all in between! They are such a big part of our lives, and we are big fans.

Being dumpling lovers and frequent visitors to events such as festivals and markets with our kids, we were always on the look-out for good dumplings. While there are great dumplings out there, we were searching for a special kind of dumpling that had the depth of flavours like my Mum would make.”

Ensuring she does the little parcels of joy justice, the dumplings are created using a top-secret recipe taught to Emma by her mum, using super fresh ingredients and making everything by hand.

“Mum’s own recipe is delicious and full of flavour – and all made by hand. She makes everything from scratch, including the chicken stock, and uses vegetables blended with water to add to the flour to get the bright colours in the dumplings.”

Perhaps the most beautiful and colourful dumplings we’ve ever seen, Emma’s dumplings come in four regular flavours to choose from, chicken, beef, pork and veggie. The vegetable dumplings are also vegan, which is a big win for all plant-based dumpling lovers.

With every single dumpling made by hand, the appeal is not only in the fresh taste but it’s also that these frozen dumplings are super easy to cook (like Emma said, even kids can cook them) and promise to be always delicious.

And while authentic lovingly crafted dumplings are at the heart of the business, The Li’l Dumpling Van offered a reprieve for the local community in some of the harder moments, quickly becoming less about dumplings and more about helping out local community members.

“We really focused on our customer service and creating a dumpling community. Customers were helping by sharing with their networks and local groups on Facebook,” Emma explains.

“People were telling us what a big difference it made to their lives not having to worry about what to make for lunch and/or dinner and for us, it was so much more than just selling dumplings. It was about helping the community.”

The Lil’ Dumpling Van isn’t just delivering frozen dumplings to your door, they also take the van, food truck style, to festivals and events. If you’re a hardcore dumpling fanatic, hire is also available to have The Li’l Dumpling Van at your events, including birthdays, weddings and work events. Did we mention that if you’re planning on getting hitched with The Li’l Dumpling Van in tow there is also a special prawn dumpling offered for weddings?

Events that The Li’l Dumpling Van attend are regularly updated on their socials, so you can always keep up to date with where they’re headed next to ensure you don’t miss out on your next dumpling fix.

The delivery locations are also regularly updated on their Instagram, so be sure to follow their socials here to keep up to date with when they’ll be dropping off frozen dumplings in your area! They deliver all over the Geelong, Golden Plains, Bellarine and Surf Coast areas so you can count on your next dumpling feast never being too far away.

To suss events and see more about The Li’l Dumpling Van head to their website here.