Cai’s Steamed Dumpling

Cai’s Steamed Dumpling, in the Henan cuisine category, is a traditional snack among Han Chinese in Henan. Its founder was Mr. Cai Shijun from Changyuan County, Henan Province. Mr. Cai worked as a cook in the imperial palace in Beijing in his early years. In the wake of the 1911 revolution, Cai Shijun brought his family along with him and, taking pauses here and there on the trip, finally arrived in Zhengzhou.


In 1919, Cai Shijun resumed his former profession on Xi’er Street with a restaurant named “Beijing Cai’s Wonton Restaurant”. After Cai Shijun's passing, his son Cai Yongquan inherited the business and relocated the restaurant on Dehua Street in 1949. Cai Yongquan was well versed in the family business. He put quality first and foremost, and preferred long-term turnover to big profit per sale. As a result, Cai’s steamed dumplings and wontons became famous local specialties in Zhengzhou, selling well for nearly 80 years.

Preparation Technique

Cai’s Steamed Dumpling requires special attention to the preparation. To make the meat stuffing sticky, water is added while the minced meat is being starched. Spices are also indispensable. They are mixed with the meat stuffing in fixed ratio. To make steamed dumpling wrapper, dough is kneaded repeatedly. When the dough becomes tough enough, it is rolled thinly, filled with stuffing and sealed with a “willow-leaves” fold to give it the shape of a crescent moon. In a thin wrapper, Cai’s Steamed Dumpling therefore is yellowish lustrous, full with stuffing, translucent, beautifully shaped, and overflows with soup and oil. For the past several decades, a set of traditional operation rules have been at work, and diners praise its quality by saying: "the flavor lingers on even after we are already out of the restaurant". In 1989, the restaurant selected Zhang Yuzhi and others to participate in the Foods with Stuffing Competition held by the Ministry of Commerce, who won out at the "Jinding Awards". In 1997, Cai’s Steamed Dumpling won accreditation from the Chinese Cuisine Association as a “Famous Snack in China”.


Copyright by Zhengzhou Municipal Tourism Administration