Celebrate the Year of the Pig at Passel Estate

While the world celebrates Chinese New Year, Teesh Law and Matt Godfrey are working double time to meed demand for their divine handcrafted dumplings.

Along with their MaLa Dumplings food truck, the couple have put dumplings at the top of South West diners’ list appearing at markets, twilight events and everything in between.

Mr Godfrey had moved to China for work, and Ms Law soon followed, the duo notching up six years in Beijing.

“I set up a Western-style deli-cafe catering business from scratch in China, but we had fallen in love with mainland Chinese food,” Ms Law said.

“There were these little hu tong dumpling places, tiny little places with people eating, drinking, smoking… and they’re making these beautiful handmade dumplings in front of you.”

Inspired by the flavours and quality, the couple decided to introduce the same to their South West customers through their distinctive blue food truck. 

“It was quite difficult to find decent dumplings in Perth, let alone in regional areas – there are some dubious ingredients out there, so we try to source our ingredients from around the State, whether it’s the Perth hills or up north for seafood at certain times of the year,” she said.

Jiāo’ means “exchange” and ‘zi’ is the hours between 11pm and 1am. Put together, jiāo zi is the exchange between the old and new year, and eating dumplings represents this exchange.

“We hadn’t lived in WA for quite some time, so the food trucking was the perfect way for us to get out and explore a bit of the place while we worked.

“It is a great way to establish the brand, test the menu and get feedback from diners directly.”

The MaLa dumplings are now in such demand that the team are in the kitchen during the week, preparing product for wholesale customers between Albany and Exmouth.

“We do quite a lot of wholesale business, which is great for us, it is more of a week day, nine to five workload although this week it’s been a bit hectic keeping up with all the orders for events!”

After a whirlwind 2018 which saw her serenading Tokyo cocktail crowds, South West songstress Cassandra Charlick is back with another jazzy performance for her Margaret River fans.

“Jazz in the Vineyard is a really cruisy, relaxed way to spend the Lunar New Year,” explained Charlick, who will perform alongside musician Kevin McDonald at the event this Saturday afternoon. 

“It’s a lovely opportunity to bring the picnic blanket and share the celebration with some friends and enjoy some beautiful food and wine.”

Alongside the Passel Estate wines, MaLa Dumplings will be cooking up a storm, turning out their northern Chinese-style dumplings during the event.

Dumplings are eaten at every special occasion in Chinese culture, but the Lunar New Year holds even more importance, with the food shaped to represent ancient Chinese coins.

“Dumplings – jiǎo zi – sounds like jiāo zi,” explained Ms Law.

Jiāo’ means “exchange” and ‘zi’ is the hours between 11pm and 1am. Put together, jiāo zi is the exchange between the old and new year, and eating dumplings represents this exchange.

“It symbolises wealth and prosperity – basically the more you eat, the better off you’ll become over the year.”

It’s a lovely opportunity to bring out the picnic blanket, share the celebration with friends and enjoy some beautiful food and wine.

Cassandra Charlick

Jazz in the Vineyard starts at 2pm on Saturday February 9 at the Passel Estate Tasting Room and Vineyard, 655 Ellen Brook Road, Cowaramup.

Tickets ($50pp) include your first glass of wine, alongside a delicious helping of dumplings from the MaLa food truck. 

Tickets are limited – visit www.passelestate.com for information and to book.