HELEN YOU is the chef and owner of Dumpling Galaxy in Flushing, Queens. Dumpling Galaxy’s founder has redefined the humble dumpling – from lamb and green squash with Sichuan pepper to wood ear mushroom and cabbage – her creations are simply out of this world.
New York Times critic Pete Wells calls Helen You “a kind of genius for creating miniature worlds of flavor.” Fresh off the press, Flushing’s jiaozi master just launched her new cookbook “The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook” featuring 60 recipes for classic and unexpected dumplings. She co-authored the stunning cookbook with Max Falkowitz, a native of Queens and senior digital editor at SAVEUR.
According to Helen in her cookbook, “For some, dumplings are merely the start of a meal, but in my family they sit at the center of the plate.” She reflects upon the significance and role of this humble food in her life, emphasizing that, “Everything I have today I owe to dumplings, and they have always meant more than just a good meal.”
Helen grew up in Tianjin, a northern port city just southeast of Beijing, China. She grew up during the Cultural Revolution, learning how to roll fresh dumpling wrappers with extra-thin edges, by her mother’s side, while her father was in a labor camp. She moved to the United States in her mid-20s. In 2007, she opened Tianjin Dumpling House, a stall in the Golden Shopping Mall basement food court in Flushing. Her dumplings were made from scratch and with the freshest ingredients in the hearty, rustic style of those found in Tianjin. As word of her delicious dumplings began to spread and her customer base grew more diverse, Helen kept developing new flavors and inventing new dumplings.
Eventually, Helen opened Dumpling Galaxy at 42-35 Main Street Flushing, her restaurant which offers every kind of dumpling ever possible. Her restaurant’s Chinese name literally translates to “One Hundred Kinds of Dumpling Garden.” Indeed, the dumpling menu is 100 items long and the kitchen churns out as many as 10,000 every day. They include classic recipes, like her mother’s favorite ground pork with garlic chive, as well as other recipes she developed, including lamb with summer squash, beef with Indian curry powder, cabbage with snappy wood ear mushrooms, and muscular dried octopus.
On SAVEUR, Helen offers up a complete guide to mastering Chinese dumplings at home and provides tips and tools for creating your ideal one-bite marvel. Watch a video featuring Helen’s dumpling making skills in ‘7 ways to make sure you are making the best dumplings possible’ on SAVEUR here.
Join us at the Flushing Chamber’s Lunar New Year Celebration on Feb 8 for a live dumpling making demonstration by Helen You and sampling of her famous dumplings. The author will also do a book signing of her new cookbook.