Martha Sherpa Cooking School, Hong Kong

Recently I took myself on an indulgent 30th birthday food tour of Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. Besides eating (and drinking) myself stupid, my trip involved learning how to cook local dishes properly – from a local, and of course from scratch.

I’d read about Martha Sherpa’s Cooking School and liked the idea of being taught by someone who took her food seriously and wasn’t going to pussyfoot around. That’s Martha!

I chose the Dim Sum Intensive (they’re not joking!) Course, Menu C as it seemed to have a nice selection of both fried, steamed and boiled dumplings.

The first dish we finished was boiled pork and vegetable dumpling in homemade spicy Szechuan style dipping sauce. It was smothered in a spicy red oil soy sauce, made from infused soy and chilli oil, which I looooved.

Boiled pork and vege dumplings with spicy Szechuan style dipping sauce

I’d never had dumplings like these before, and the sauce with Szechuan pickles was incredible – subtly fragranced with star anise and chilli. If I ever see this in a Sydney restaurant, I’m ordering two serves! If anyone knows where I can eat this let me know!

Next came Choy Yuk Bao: steamed buns with pork and Chinese chives.

Choy Yuk Bao

Then, a new dumpling sensation, Sound Jean Bao: pan-fried pork buns with ginger and spring onion filling. The crispy bottom contrasts beautifully with the delicate, fluffy dough and fragrant juice inside.

My favourite, good old pork pot-stickers, came next. These were the easiest to make which was a happy surprise – I’ll actually make these at home!

Kneading the dough

Kneading the dough

Pot-stickers ready to fry (mine are the pretty ones)

Crispy pot-stickers

Martha informed us that the black vinegar we are used to here isn’t what the Chinese use to accompany their potstickers. Instead, they serve theirs with lychee vinegar, a slightly more sweet yet refined taste.

Lychee vinegar

Lastly, we made Siao Lung Bao (steamed mini dumplings stuffed with pork and soup) which have become very popular with the recent arrival of Din Tai Fung in Sydney. (Of course, I’ve loved them for years. I’m a foodie hipster.)

Here are mine – I’m so proud! Check out my perfect little nipple tops!

Xiao Long Bao steaming on cabbage leaves

Xiao Long Bao, with a whisper of soaked shredded ginger

Soooo you probably want the recipes now, right? Well out of respect to Martha, I’ll send you the recipe for the filling and cooking of the dumplings if you email me. The dough, while best freshly made, is really only worth making yourself if you’re doing loads of them – otherwise just pop into your local Asian grocer.

Eight hours of hot, sweaty, labour-intensive beating rolling and throwing (no joke!) while Martha shouts “Wrong! Do again!” is exhausting so I don’t recommend it if you’re just off a plane of only have a couple of days in Honkers. But if you have some time before and after to relax and recuperate, you love your food and have some decent cooking skills already (so Martha doesn’t sigh and shake her head at you), I highly recommend a day or two at Martha’s!

47 thoughts on “Martha Sherpa Cooking School, Hong Kong

  1. Pingback: HuTong Dumpling Bar, Melbourne | Scoff & Quaff

  2. Hi

    Thank you for the beautiful photographs of your lesson at Martha Sherpa cooking school.

    I would like to try out the recipes and would appreciate it if you could email me the recipes.

    Thank you.


  3. Sure, will do! I’ll include some of the special techniques she taught us which are imperative to making proper dumplings. Be prepared to use your arm muscles till they ache though 😉

  4. Hi Liv,
    I read your post after seeing your comment on Lorraine’s site… I would love the recipes (even the dough) if you could send them to me?

    Would love to learn the special techniques as well!

    Many thanks!

  5. Hi Liv,
    The food looks really delicious! Thanks for posting! Would eally appreciate it if you could send me the recipes! Thanks lots in advance!

  6. G’day Liv,
    I’m a retired old Aussie guy and I’m doing two days of those intensive courses mid 2011. Already booked, so I hope I can handle it.

      • Hey Liv,
        Sorry I took so long to reply. I spent two full days in Martha’s Cooking School in MongKok and it was fantastic!!
        We did the Chinese Roast Crispy Skin duck course with several other dishes on the first day. The second day we did 6 assorted dishes.
        The first day’s classes have just four students (myself from Australia, a man from Germany, and two women from Canada and Thailand)
        The second day was just me and a lady from France and this included the morning wet market visit.
        I would just thoroughly recommend this school to anyone with a passion for Asian cooking. You don’t have to be an expert, but just follow the rules and it’s truly a wonderful experience.
        Kind regards,

  7. Hi Liv,
    I tried Xiao Long Bao for the first time at HuTong Dumpling Bar a couple of days ago and now I’m obsessed! Now after reading your post Martha’s cooking school is going straight on to my list of must-have experiences but in the meantime I’d really appreciate the recipes and info on the special techniques.
    Many thanks in advance!

  8. I checked out your website after looking on lorraine’s webpage. I love your pictures. Can you give me the recipes too? I would have love to go to the school like you but I can’t because of family obligations. Good luck with your blog. I’m bookmarking you.

  9. Hi Liv,
    I found your site as I’m considering a class (the Vegetarian one) at the cooking school as well. Would love to have a copy of your dumpling recipes, and thanks so much for sharing your experience and beautiful photos! 🙂


  10. I’d love to get my hands on the boiled pork and vegetable dumpling in homemade spicy Szechuan style dipping sauce recipe. I had some while travelling in Laos in a Chinese restaurant that was divine. I’m looking at taking Martha’s Lesson A and Lesson G in October and would appreciate any advice you could provide.


  11. Hi Liv, the food you posted looks so yummy, makes me hungry! Ooooh wud you please share your recipe before I eat up my computer screen? 😀 Thank you in advance!

  12. Looks delicious! it would be fabulous to make the best dim sum at your own home. Your dim sum recipes are most welcome. Thanks in advance!

  13. I’ve very much enjoyed reading your post about the Martha Sherpa cooking school and it triggered me wanting to make my own dim sum! Can you please send me the recipes? Thank you very much!

  14. Hi Liv, I was searching for info on Martha Sherpa’s cookery school and stumbled on your blog. I love your food pics! I’m drooling! Did you really made them all! Looks professional! 🙂 Can you pls pls send me the recipes for all the different types of dumplings you made here and also the special techniques? I would like to try them out. Am I late? Not sure if I can make them as well as you! There’re not many good dim sum restaurants in my area and I really miss these Hong Kong dim sums. Thank you very much in advance! Regards, Chan

  15. Hi,
    Impressed by the variety of dim sums that you have tried making. May I have the recipes please?

    Thanks in advance.

  16. Great post and review! I’d love to get a copy of the recipes, hoping to take these classes next time I’m in HK. Thanks in advance!

  17. Pingback: Zheng Hao Chinese Restaurant, Enmore « Scoff & Quaff

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  19. Hi Liv 😊 The pictures looks so delicious and mouth-watering.I used to go to chinatown just to eat these dimsums. Now, I’m thinking of giving it a try and make it myself. I would really appreciate if you can email me the recipes, including the dough and techniques. Thanks very much. My email address:

    • Glasgow hey? How is it getting Asian ingredients there? I used to struggle getting them when I lived in Dublin, but that was ten years ago… Email on its way!

  20. Hi I was wondering if you could please email me the recipe for the boiled pork and vege dumplings with spicy Szechuan style dipping sauce. Looks amazing!

  21. Hi, I am writing from Singapore. I was googling for the Cooking school in HK where I saw your site. Interesting info. Did you try any other Tim Sum School eg. Dickson Institute? Is Martha very committed in sharing technical skills of Tim Sum Making b/c her class is more pricey than other community schools? I am planning to visit HK end of the year for 3 weeks and hope to attend some intensive short TIm Sum Technical workshops to sharpen my basic Tim Sum skills Meanwhile, could you please email me the dumpling recipes to me for reference? Your Tim Sum pix look authentic & professional! Thank you. Mrs. Tan (mid-forties Community Baking Trainer).

    • Thanks for reading Mrs Tan! I only got to try Martha’s class as I was in HK for just a few days. Martha is extremely committed, careful and exacting – I can highly recommend her. It’s an intense day’s work but well worth it. Recipes on their way!

  22. Hi i was searching for some reviews about martha sherpa then i came upon your site. would you mind emailing me the recipe of xiaolong bao and Boiled pork and vege dumplings with spicy Szechuan style dipping sauce. This is my email ,can’t wait to make one. thank you 🙂

  23. Hi i was searching for some reviews about martha sherpa then i came upon your site. would you mind emailing me the recipe of xiaolong bao and Boiled pork and vege dumplings with spicy Szechuan style dipping sauce. This is my email ,can’t wait to make one. thank you 🙂

  24. Hi. I would love to get the recipes! I’m currently in Hong Kong and I’ve signed up for one if Martha’s classes.

  25. Hi Liv, I was googling cooking lessons and came across your blog. – your dumplings looks so good and pro! Would love it if you could please send me the recipes including the dough and techniques. Will be much appreciated! Thank you!

    Btw – I found something similar to the pork and veg dumpling with spicy Szechuan sauce. If you’re in sydney there’s a prawn and pork wontons in shanghainese spicy sauce in chef’s gallery –
    Also Shanghai Stories looks like they have those dumplings too –
    They have several restaurants across sydney. Hope it helps 🙂

  26. Hi, would you mind sending me the recipes please? I’m a dim sum nut and am keen to try these at home! Did you do any of her other classes? Thanks 🙂

  27. Hi, I took Martha’s class too and loved it even though it was very difficult. I have her recipes but was wondering if you have notes regarding how to make the dough. The dough-making was the majority of the class yet her recipe does not describe her process in much detail. We weren’t allowed to touch pens & phones while working with the dough so my notes from memory are rather dismal, hoping for something to help jolt it. Thanks!

  28. Thank you so much for posting this! Would you be so kind to send me the recipes? Especially for the dough amd the dipping sauce? I would appreciate it very much. I recently attended a class with Martha but had only time for one day and chose a wok class. But I do love dimsum… 🙂

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