Special Sauce: Dumpling Master Helen You's Inspiring Story

20170404-Helen-You-Ed-Anderson.jpg

[Photographs: Ed Anderson]

You probably won't be able to hear it, but I was moved to tears by my interview with dumpling queen Helen You on this week's Special Sauce. Helen is the owner of Dumpling Galaxy, the finest dumpling shop in NYC, and coauthor of The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook, written alongside former Serious Eats editor Max Falkowitz. Her dumplings, as good as they are, weren't what got to me, though—it was her remarkable personal story. Before Helen was born in mainland China, her father was sent to a labor camp, where he remained for 22 years. His crime: writing critically about the government, a transgression for which Helen was ostracized in school. She found solace in her mother's kitchen, where her mother and grandmother made dumplings every day, and when Helen was 12, she embarked on a 20-hour journey to deliver dumplings to her father.

The rest of Helen's story is just as harrowing and inspiring. I won't reveal any more of it here, but my guess is you'll be reduced to tears as well. It's okay. We all need a good cry, especially when it comes with a happy ending.

Special Sauce is available on iTunes. You can also find the archive of all our episodes here on Serious Eats and on this RSS feed.

You Could Be on Special Sauce

Want to chat with me and our unbelievably talented recipe developers? We're accepting questions for Special Sauce call-in episodes now. Do you have a recurring argument with your spouse over the best way to maintain a cast iron skillet? Have you been working on your mac and cheese recipe for the past five years, but can't quite get it right? Does your brother-in-law make the worst lasagna, and you want to figure out how to give him tips? We want to get to know you and solve all your food-related problems. Send us the whole story at [email protected].