There's something to be said for New Zealand's commitment to the authenticity of foreign cuisine - we're sticklers for it. When Al Brown decided to open a Montreal style bagelry, he wasn't satisfied with simply following a traditional recipe, but sent his team of chefs to learn from the original masters at St Viateur, Montreal.
Auckland's Dominion Road is another prime example, which has remained popular amongst hungry residents from far and wide thanks to its Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese restaurants, which are often packed with expats eating cuisine that tastes authentically like home, which somehow verifies their popularity amongst the foodie crowd.
It was actually repeat visits to a Dominion Road Chinese dumpling restaurant that inspired Christchurch-born Sam Hooper to leave Auckland and set up shop himself in Christchurch's Sydenham, and much like Al Brown, he insisted on authenticity from the outset. His search for the perfect dumpling took him everywhere from Barilla, Auckland, to Michelin Star Din Tai Fung in Taiwan. When he came across Peimin Luo (known in the restaurant as Norman), head chef of dumplings bars and restaurants in Shanghai for over 30 years, he knew he was on to a winner.
Pot Sticker is the street name for pan-fried dumplings, which is the mainstay of the new venture, though steamed are available, cooked by Norman in traditional equiptment imported directly from China. Locally sourced ingredients and good quality meats make for a delicious half ($8.50) or full dozen ($14.50) of dumplings, in a variety of delicious flavour combinations based on beef, pork, chicken or vegetables.
It's great that people like Sam are going the extra mile to ensure they respect the origins and traditions of cuisine from overseas - it's a trend we hope sticks around.
For more information, visit the Pot Sticker website.