So you fancy yourself a street vendor, and you want to know how to make a rickshaw dumpling bar. This article will help you on your way with tips and instructions.
To make a rickshaw dumpling bar, you will need:
- A pushcart with a built-in steam table
- Fresh supplies
- A vendor's license
- A good pair of shoes!
- Get started. The thing to start with is the cart itself. Despite the name of the famed eatery, it would be very difficult to use an actual rickshaw, for reasons of stability, the need for a built-in steam table, and the difficulty and expense of obtaining one. Your best bet for the bar is to get a street vendor's pushcart and decorate it in an Asian style. Give your business a catchy name. You should find instructions on how to set up the steam table if you purchase a pushcart. Also, it would be wise at this time to decide the market you want to reach with your rickshaw dumpling bar. You might want to specialize in Chinese dumplings, Thai dumplings, Indian samosas, or you might decide to sell the dumplings of several cultures. Make this decision based on your personal preferences and also local resources. If there is already a place in town which sells lots of Chinese dumplings, try another style. The third necessity in this stage is to obtain a food vendor's license. Consult your local courthouse or do research online to determine the procedure in your area.
- Obtain fresh ingredients. For your rickshaw dumpling bar, you could always order in frozen or otherwise pre-made dumplings. However, there is no substitute for freshness and quality. In a review of the Rickshaw Dumpling Bar in Flatiron, New York, "New York Restaurants" writers Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld tell us, "It takes longer to peruse the selection of dumplings and accoutrements than it does, seemingly, to cook them." Dumplings are relatively quick and easy to make; using egg roll or spring roll wrappers, mound the filling ingredients (generally a combination of ground meat, chopped vegetables and seasoning) in the center, wet the edges of the wrapper and fold over into a triangle shape. There are more complicated recipes, but this is the basic idea. Boil your dumplings until just barely cooked, then load them into the pushcart. Depending on how elaborate your cart is, you may be able to steam or boil them on the spot, which is preferable. Offer at least three or four styles of dumpling, including one vegetarian option.
- Decide on sauces. The dumplings are the meat of the dish, to make a bad pun, but the sauces are what make dumplings special. You can do a basic Chinese-style dipping sauce with cooking sherry, soy sauce, a little stock and chopped scallions. Thai sauces are more complex, and often feature ingredients such as fish sauce and curry paste. It would be a good idea to offer at least three or four different dips with the dumplings, of the customer's choice. That way, those who want a vegetarian dumpling with a Thai dipping sauce can get what they want, and your rickshaw bar will do more business.
- Make the final preparations. You will want to have serving containers on hand for your dumpling bar. Small take-out boxes are the standard form of conveyance, but there are other options which are more ecologically-minded. Don't forget to have small containers for the dips. Most restaurant supply stores carry salad-dressing cups with snap-on lids which are perfect for this purpose. Wear a nice white uniform every day with a cook's white hat (the plain kind, not a chef's hat), smile and call out your wares as you push your rickshaw bar: "Dumplings! Dumplings here! Fresh, hot dumplings!" This adds a quaint, old-fashioned touch that appeals to many people.
Now you know what you need to make your own rickshaw dumpling bar. Get out there with your delicious product and hit the bricks!