Burlington, Vermont - August 1, 2011
Mrs. Hong's Chinese Dumplings have been a staple on the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington for a dozen years.
Reporter Gina Bullard: You're clearly not made in Vermont. Where are you from?
Hong Yu: I'm from China.
She learned to cook her famous dumplings from her grandmother in China, but she had to alter them a little to cut it in Vermont. Maple dumpling-- check.
Bullard: So your grandmother didn't like cheese? So you like the cheese-- or the Americans like it?
Yu: Yeah, Americans like cheese (laughs).
Bullard: So you make the dough, too?
Yu: Yeah, hard to make.
Mrs. Hong is a one woman operation-- rolling, stuffing, frying, taking orders-- she does it all.
"It's very hard for one person cooking, making, so I just like people nice make you happy," Hong Yu said.
Bullard: They make you happy?
Yu: Yes, they have big smiles.
Asked how many times he has gotten Mrs. Hong's dumplings, customer Paul Hagar replied, "I don't know, I can't even count, actually. I come here quite a bit."
Repeat customers are a tradition for Mrs. Hong.
Bullard: What do you know about here?
Customer David Glidden: I actually don't know that much except she makes really, really good dumplings.
One thing becomes apparent pretty quickly about Mrs. Hong-- she loves people and they love her.
Bullard: You seem pretty happy waiting for these dumplings.
Customer Jessica Strasser: Yeahhh, they're so good.
"We don't really chit chat too much, but she has a humbleness and happiness about her that comes across that makes it part of the experience. I like supporting her as much as getting really good dumplings," Hagar said.
Dedication for her dumplings really becomes apparent when you see the line.
Hagar: It's worth it. You just count it like when I walk down I just know I'm going to be in the line, out in the sunshine.
Bullard: So, you don't mind it?
Hagar: Not at all, part of the experience.
Bullard: Even if 20 minutes is spent in this line?
Hagar: They're that good.
Bullard: You're making a lot of money.
Yu: No, just making a living. Pay bills. You don't need money. You enjoy life. I'm a hobby. No need too much money.
Bullard: You don't need money; you need smiles from these dumpling customers.
Yu: Yeah, so nice smiles.
A Made in Vermont specialty served everyday with a smile.
Mrs. Hong only sells her dumplings on Church Street during the warm months for now. She did say she's thinking about opening a restaurant or selling them in stores soon.
Gina Bullard - WCAX News
PO Box 4508