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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do you know the Dumpling Girl?

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  • The Dumpling Girl

"Locavore" and home-cook Lanie Vu knew that something was missing in Atlanta. The well-kept secret that was Buford Highway had gone mainstream and ethnic Asian cuisine became Atlanta's "it" food. Elsewhere, the street food movement was gaining popularity, along with farmers markets and the farm-to-table trend. But amidst a rapidly evolving culinary landscape, Vu realized that there were no options for popular Asian dishes made with grass-fed beef, pasture raised pork, or other local ingredients. "I couldn't find what I was looking for," Vu says, "so I decided to do it myself."

Vu, who was born in Vietnam and raised in the South, began experimenting with family recipes using local meat. "I was already friends with Charlotte of Riverview Farms [and Farm Mobile] after buying their meat at the Morningside Farmers market for years," Vu says. "I asked them if they were interested in selling my food through Farm Mobile, and they said yes with one condition; I had to make my dumplings."

Vu's dumplings were an instant hit. "I tried different varieties," Vu says, "'but the pork and ginger dumplings were hands down the most popular." Word of Vu's exceptional dumplings began to spread among the farmers market crowd. "Everywhere I went people called me 'the dumpling girl,'" Vu says, "and the name stuck." Currently, Dumpling Girl's frozen food menu includes: chinese pork and ginger dumplings, Vietnamese lemongrass pork meatballs, and Vietnamese lemongrass beef meatballs.

The positive reception prompted Vu to add Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches to her repertoire. "I started selling the sandwiches in front of Farm Mobile, and people went crazy over them."

For now, you can find Dumpling Girl Products/Food/Meals at Riverview Farms' Farm Mobile, and The Atlanta Underground Market, but starting in April, the Dumpling Girl is proud to report that she will have her own stall at the Grant Park Farmers Market.

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