Bunbob "Chicken Leg Dumpling" Chhun says he wants to bring "rock 'n' roll Asian food" to the Twin Cities. Heavily inspired by San Francisco/New York City rock 'n' roll chef Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food, Chhun and his partner James Munson are the team behind Dumpling Minneapolis.
The two are currently in search of a space for their upcoming restaurant in either south Minneapolis or Northeast, and they've been testing out product at pop-ups from Cook St. Paul to farmers markets to selling their premium, impeccably sourced banh mi to local coffee shops Caffetto and Matchbox Coffee. Once they pin down a space, hopefully sometime in early 2016, they won't be as limited in their offerings — Chhun says he hopes to run the gamut of the pan-Asian experience, from Chinese to Japanese, Cambodian and other Southeast Asian. Chhun is Cambodian, and his "Bunbowl" with egg rolls, rice vermicelli, carrot, cucumber, herbs, peanuts, and a savory dressing takes inspiration from his upbringing.
What sets Dumpling apart is its impeccable product sourcing — Beeler's antibiotic-free pork out of Iowa, handmade noodles for their ramens from local Canton Foods Artisan Noodlemakers, and P.F. Select dumpling wrappers — Chhun said he tried every single thing he could find on the market until he settled on this premium brand. Naturally, filling ingredients come from the farmers market and bread for banh mi is sourced from University Avenue institution La Francaise French and Vietnamese Bakery.
Chhun and Munson hand-roll their dumplings to order at farmers markets, and they say theirs are the "freshest dumplings you can get."
When I press him to explain why they decided to devote their culinary lives to dumplings he confesses:
"My girlfriend's nickname for me is 'Chicken Leg Dumpling.' So that's how our name came to be Dumpling. And then we decided — we'd better have a kick-ass dumpling."
Try their kick-ass, Japanese-style, pan-seared pork gyoza with orange-sesame-lemongrass vinaigrette at this Wednesday's Nokomis Farmers Market from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.