In a rare moment of megalomania, I recently crowned myself on Instagram as Berlin’s biggest dumpling fanatic. Sylee of Berlin Reified kindly humoured me and retorted by calling me “the city’s official Queen of Dumplings.” The occasion: I’d just published my second feature-length dumpling article in Zitty magazine. The first, back in January, was about the humble dumpling’s burgeoning status as a trend food. The second, part of Zitty’s 2014 “Essen Gehen” food guide to Berlin, explores the many different dumplings around the world, from Afghanistan’s mantu to Poland’s pierogi and everything in between. I’ve also written about Chinese dumplings before on this very blog.
With great power comes great responsibility. What kind of Dumpling Queen would I be if I let a new gyoza bar in Neukölln go untested?
Open since the end of June, Yume is a small, no-frills eatery serving gyoza and only gyoza. Two handmade varieties are on offer: one filled with minced chicken spiked with garlicky chives, and a vegetarian one stuffed with tofu, cabbage, carrots, and seaweed. The plump little dough pockets are crisped up to greasy perfection in a big, lidded electric griddle contraption, probably imported from Japan.
A plate of six (€2.90) makes a nice-sized snack, while the double serving of 12 golden gyoza (€4.90) will probably fill you up as a main meal unless you’re ravenous. In which case you’re probably better off going to sister restaurant Men Men next door. (Have heard mixed reviews though.) The gyoza condiments run the gamut from traditional (soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and chili oil) to Western fusion (wasabi mayo).
My main critique is that the gyoza were served only with forks, which didn’t do a great job of spearing and transporting the dumplings to my gaping maw. Just like burgers should always be eaten with one’s hands, (East) Asian dumplings should always be eaten with chopsticks, as far as I’m concerned. Also, little cups for the dipping sauces would have been nice, rather than having to slop soy and vinegar directly onto the gyoza heap.
The Dumpling Queen is prepared, however, to lay aside the critique and issue her royal proclamation: Yume’s gyoza hit the spot. Berlin’s dumpling future is looking rosy.
Yume | Pannierstr. 55 | Facebook page