dumplings with soy sauce (only)


I have discovered that even though I have been eating jiaozi (饺子 jiǎozi, dumplings) since I was a wee one, I have been eating them wrong. I know that some people use a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar as dipping sauce for jiaozi, but I thought this was a variation, not the standard, since my family always uses a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil or soy sauce by itself. Apparently this is extremely abnormal.

Story time: In Beijing, I was a bit peckish and went down to the hotel restaurant, where I ordered a plate of jiaozi. The waitress brought a bowl of soy sauce and vinegar and I asked her if I could get plain soy sauce instead. With the look on her face, I might as well have asked for ketchup. She looked really confused and asked me three times if I was sure I didn’t want any vinegar mixed in! When bringing my bowl of soy sauce, she was like, “And here’s your soy sauce … with no vinegar. Are you sure?” Ha. Then she went and told a fellow waitress about the silly Southerner (jiaozi are more common to the north of China than the south) and they had a good laugh … at my expense. Sigh.