The City Magazine Since 1975

Pot Luck

Pot Luck
December 2012
Red Orchid’s owners, Kelly and Tony Chu, share a classic Chinese dish

Pot stickers are a symbol of good luck served during Chinese New Year (coming up on February 10) and family celebrations. But at Red Orchid’s China Bistro, every day is lucky for diners, as a team of chefs churn out five dumplings per minute. “In Chinese culture, making them is a family project that you start to join in on as a child,” says owner Kelly Chu. She is quick to point out to would-be pot sticker-makers that crafting these delicious treats can take a lifetime of practice. “Don’t expect your pot stickers to look perfect the first time. Just keep trying.”

Chu knows a thing or two about determination. She was born in China, moved to Brazil with her family, then arrived in Charleston when she was 16. After learning English and graduating from the University of Maryland, Chu and her husband, Tony, decided food was their passion. They opened Red Orchid’s nine years ago, and their pan-fried pot stickers have been an enduring favorite.

To serve them at home, Chu suggests a shortcut. “Don’t make the dough yourself—it’s too hard. Buy Twin Dragon brand at the grocery,” she says. For the filling, make a simple blend of pork or beef with onion, cabbage, and oyster and soy sauces. Fill each dough wrapper with a quarter-size ball of filling. Gently fold the dough like an accordion, brush egg wash onto the seam, and seal it into a half moon. In a wok, fry them in soybean oil, then steam them for a tricky but delicious dish.