This June, John and Yee Li’s Dumpling Shack will return to Hackney but this time for the opening of their debut bricks and mortar restaurant.
Returning with their signature dishes of shengjianbao, wontons, and dan dan noodles, this marks a homecoming for the duo who opened their first street food stall eight years ago on Broadway Market.
Although known for creations such as Hong Kong milk tea cream doughnuts, pastry puffs and succulent French toast, Dumpling Shack will be branching out with the Sichuan Fry, which brings together their love of fried chicken and bold Sichuanese flavours. These fried sandwiches will be filled with crispy layered chicken, coated in numbing, spicy sauces and oils.
Husband and wife John and Yee, alongside development chef Haydon Wong have come up with three staple sandwiches. The Sichuan Classic is made with spicy Sichuan peppercorns and chilli, coated in a sauce made from doubanjiang, and topped with pickles using the Shack’s iconic smacked cucumber marinade. The Vegan is any plant-based lover’s dream - a fried, panko-coated aubergine with Sichuan sauce, honey mala sauce, pickled cucumber and slaw on a vegan brioche bun. The final instalment is a chicken burger coated in mapo sauce, taking inspiration from Chen Mapo in Chengdu.
And the sides are predicted to steal the show. The fries take inspiration from a McDonald’s concept in Asia known as ‘shake shake’ fries, with the option of various seasonings, including seaweed powder, salt and pepper, salted egg and chilli.
Working with Mr Lee Lives - an artist who has collaborated with Hypebeast and Nike - to design the interiors for the restaurant, the Hackney location is set to be a culinary and visual delight.