You might say Liping Yang hit the jackpot. For opening day, Everett’s Encore Boston Harbor placed an order for 600 of her homemade dumplings. After they were delivered, her phone rang. Chefs wanted more for the coming week: thousands. Yang runs a small catering business, Yang’s Dumplings, delivering dumplings for house and office parties. They are not old-style Chinese, but airy half-moons, fried or steamed, filled with slices of chicken or shrimp or shreds of pork. Each one pleated by hand. Some are layered with kale, carrot and water chestnuts, others with tofu, mushrooms, Chinese cabbage and dried seaweed. You can taste each ingredient. Yang comes up with combinations that are a spin on family recipes and reflect her experience. She grew up in Wenzhou, in the Zhejiang Province on eastern China’s Pacific coast, and emigrated, settling first in Paris, where she was a dim sum chef at a small restaurant. She moved to Boston with her family two decades ago and was employed as a housekeeper in a Boston hotel, until recently, running the dumpling business on the side. Her husband, LaDuc Tu, who also goes by David, was the general manager at Chau Chow City restaurant in Chinatown, until it closed last year. He marketed his wife’s dumplings to chefs at hotels and now several order them for special buffets and room service. How did Yang get the Encore account? “Chef’s talk.” says Stephane Tu, Yang’s son, 24, spokesperson for his mom. “One hotel chef liked the product and spread the word.” Yang prepares the ingredients at CommonWealth Kitchen, and worked round the clock to fulfill the Encore orders. “I think she really enjoyed it. She enjoys having her own business.” says Stephane. Of course, she had helpers, but he says, “It’s really mom doing the heavy lifting.” To order from Yang’s Dumplings go to www.yangs-dumplings.com.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND