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The Frozen Dumpling Delivery Empire Built During The Pandemic

Chances are that if you’ve been in California for the past year or so and are a dumpling fan, you’ve heard of Cali Dumpling. Started in Southern California during the pandemic, the frozen dumpling delivery service has since expanded its reach to as far north as Sacramento, effectively selling dumplings across most of the Golden State.

Born as a way to help keep local restaurant employees paid, Cali Dumpling has since become its own operation, with an exclusive factory churning out over 30,000 handmade dumplings every day.

Co-founder Allan Tea, who’s also behind SoCal restaurant brands like Capital Seafood and the Hello Kitty Cafe, initially used the dumpling delivery business to keep his restaurant employees paid. Now, most of them have returned to their normal jobs, he told Foodbeast, and the dumpling factory has an entirely different set of staff.

It’s a strong testament to how Cali Dumpling has grown in the past year and a half. Initially available in just a few cities, weekly delivery is now available across Southern California, and there’s even a few farmer’s markets you can pick the dumplings up at as well.

Where Cali Dumpling stands out most is the quality of their dumplings. Almost everything in the factory is scratch-made, down to different dough types for certain dumplings and hand-butchered pork butts, the bones of which are saved to make meat jelly for the xiaolongbao.

In terms of price, they’re also pretty competitive with high quality dumpling houses. A bag of 30 comes out to $16-$19 depending on which variety you order, averaging 50-60 cents per dumpling. (There’s also a flat $10 delivery fee, all of which goes directly to the company’s drivers.)

For those looking for a new frozen dumpling option that intersects quality and price, Cali Dumpling hits all of those marks and does a lot to help support its employees. They’re also available for wholesalers to purchase, and Tea hinted to Foodbeast that they’re looking to eventually sell the dumplings in grocery stores.

By Constantine Spyrou

Constantine's life revolves around eating, studying, and talking about food. He's obsessed with eggs, gyros, and the future of food.