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17 Catt. 1: In re Yumpling

2013 February 6

CATTLEYA, J., delivered the opinion of the Cart. JEREMY, C.J., wrote a separate concurrence.

We granted cartiorari to Yumpling, which describes itself as “DC’s first and finest dumplings coming fresh out of [a] tricked out truck.” This Cart has previously tried dumplings from a food truck, one based in Arlington, VA. At the time, I wished (to no avail) that the food truck, called Hot People Food, would change its menu to focus exclusively on dumplings—steamed dumplings, fried dumplings, and soup dumplings. See In re Hot People Food, 6 Catt. 4 (2012) (Cattleya, J., concurring). I wanted a dumpling truck on our streets then, and almost a year later, I’m still looking for a dumpling truck. Is Yumpling that dumpling truck?



I. Street Food

Our first order of business is to determine whether Yumpling’s dumplings are “street food” as the Cart has defined the term. This is an issue of who bears the burden of proof in this case. Street food, defined as “the kind[] of food[] that can be cooked in front of you and [is] meant to be eaten with your hands, without forks, while standing up,” In re Eat Wonky, 2 Catt. 5 (2011), is entitled to the presumption that it should be affirmed by this court, unless we can show that the food suffers from a significant flaw. See In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012). It is the well-settled case law of this judicial body that dumplings are street food. See Hot People Food, 6 Catt. 4. Thus, we have the burden to prove a flaw or else we must conclude that Yumpling’s dumplings belong on the streets.

Beef Dumplings

Beef Dumplings

II. Yumpling’s Beef Dumplings

When we visited Yumpling, it was serving beef, chicken, and vegetable steamed dumplings. It has since added pork and shrimp dumplings to the menu. You can get six pieces for $5 or 10 pieces for $8. Any order can mix and match the different fillings. We opted for six beef dumplings. For the New Year’s calorie counters among us (which includes me), Yumpling advertises that six dumplings are less than 300 calories. You also have the option to pair your dumplings with a side of lobster bisque or edamame. As we were looking for dumplings as an appetizer to start off a long day of oral arguments, we passed on the add-ons. (Plus, our palates—prepared for Asian-style dumplings—were a bit confused by the inclusion of a creamy French-style soup.)

As we explained when we granted cartiorari to a dumpling meal in a previous case, there are two principal considerations of a dumpling: (1) the skin and (2) the filling. See Hot People Food, 6 Catt. 4. In Yumpling’s case, the skin was done well. It was chewy and not too thin. For the most part, it held up to the steaming process (only one dumpling in our container of six was not intact). The beef filling was mild but nice. The problem was that there was so little of it inside each dumpling. I wish there had been more so that the beef flavor came through in every bite. Overall, the dumplings were like the dumplings from your everyday cheap takeout restaurant. Not amazing, but not bad.

In the end, Yumpling is not the dumpling truck of my dreams. I’m still waiting for a food truck to pull up in front of the court with a menu of steamed, fried, and soup dumplings. Dumplings of different textures and different flavors. Dumplings to fill the stomach and warm the soul.

III. Conclusion

For the reasons above, the case is

AFFIRMED in part and REMANDED in part to Yumpling for revision.

JEREMY, C.J., concurring.

I agree with every line of my sister’s well-reasoned opinion. I write separately only because it would pain me not to have the last word.

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