And now, for something a little different…Today we’re heading behind the factory doors where your food is being made. We got an invitation to tour the Green Chopsticks dumpling factory, and since we like to know all about our food and where it comes from, we were happy to take advantage of the company’s open-door policy.
Green Chopsticks, (parent company CYR International), is a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of several varieties of Korean-style dumplings (gyoza) along with Korean BBQ meat. It’s a progressive company with an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients and no preservatives or artificial ingredients; the factory is a relatively new and state-of-the-art facility.
Our tour began with a thorough cleaning/sterilization process. Before we could do anything on the factory floor, we had to use a special hand sterilizer mist, don lab coats and hair nets, and then walk through a special sealed air-blower room to get rid of any floating particles. Last we walked through a cleansing bath for the bottom of our shoes, and we were ready to go.
Once we were all safely sanitized, we got to see the first step in the dumpling process, which is making the dough. Here’s a large dough machine that has three rollers to make the dumpling skin flat and thin.
When the dumpling dough is completed, it’s rolled up and ready to go on to the central dumpling-making room.
In the meantime, the fillings need to be made. These dumplings are made with fresh vegetables that are locally sourced and freshly chopped. Here you can see part of the team working on the onions and the cabbage.
Next a big mixer mashes up the filling. Ingredients: chicken breast, leek, green cabbage, green onion, onion, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, evaporated cane juice, salt, oyster sauce, black pepper. That’s it – no preservatives or weird, unidentified additives.
Next this massive, multi-tasking machine serves as the heart of the operation. It cuts out circles of dough, and places the dough circles into little cups. The then machine squirts a dollop of filling into the circle and presses it down. The dumpling is then folded and crimped. The whole process is very magical and could possibly even be considered Willy-Wonka-like, if Willy Wonka made dumplings.
The completed dumplings fall onto the conveyor belt and the workers check for any mess-ups.
The dumplings are then steamed for 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Oooh – here’s one fresh out of the steamer!
But the freshly steamed dumplings don’t stop there; they are immediately sent through a freezer on a conveyor belt where they are frozen for 15 minutes.
The frozen dumplings then tumble down a little sliding board (whee!) into a large vat, from which workers sort them into boxes.
And voila! – They’re all packed up and ready to go.
We don’t necessarily advocate one brand of food over another, but we’re always happy to put a spotlight on a company that makes foods that are wholesome and tasty. Green Chopsticks gave us some samples to take home, and this is a food that we were happy to share with our kids. The kids’ fave? The tiny bite-sized dumplings that make for a tasty little meal or snack.
Green Chopsticks dumplings are available in Gelsons and Bristol Farms stores in the L.A. area, as well as in Costco warehouses in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re not in either one of those areas, you may buy Green Chopsticks products at BBQ Meats and Dumplings – and also look for the Green Chopsticks team at Costco demos throughout the country.
Special thanks to Green Chopsticks for the tour and for its open-door policy!
*Blogger disclosure: We did not receive compensation for this story; however we did receive samples of Green Chopsticks dumplings to bring home.