One of my favourite shops, in the whole of Cape Town, is Live Mart Taiwanese Bakery. This tiny shop holds very many treasures and I could spend my whole salary there.

I first discovered this place when I asked Tina, the owner of my favourite Taiwanese food restaurant, Chuck Yang’s, where she got all her wonderful cold drinks and she directed me there. I didn’t go there until, Ming from Butterfingers wrote about Bubble Tea and that it could be found there. I had been searching for Bubble Tea for years after The Tea Tree closed in Canal Walk.

I discovered a wonderland of ingredients, some I had never heard of before and other’s I still don’t know what they are. They became my default shop when searching for ingredients for Chinese or Taiwanese cooking, even Thai and Japanese if I am honest.

After a particularly hot parkrun, with no breakfast available at the club, I decided to have Bubble Tea for breakfast. While waiting for them to finish cooking the pearls I did a bit of shopping (not a great idea when you are hungry). I normally grab a few packs of the frozen Dim Sum for quick dinners when I crave the pillow bite size treats. This time I spotted the pastry too and decided to try my hand at making them myself.

I got some advise from the ever friendly guy at the store. I don’t know if he owns the place or just manages it but he knows me so well he know what my standard bubble tea order is. He is always happy to share ideas for ingredients they sell or to translate packaging.

Armed with his knowledge, some googling and the ideas in my head I headed for the kitchen and started the process. I had mince at home defrosted with no clear plans for it and my mom had given me a whole bunch of chard she was gifted by Oranjezicht Farm. These ingredients, spiced up where the filling for my dumplings.

I will say this, it was fun and it was delicious but it is a lot of standing around and repeating action. This is not a “quick” dinner, I assume if you do it often you will get quicker at it but I think for now I will let others do the work…most of the time 🙂

Beef mince and spinach dumplings


For the dumplings:

  • 1 pack dumpling skins
  • 500 lean beef mince
  • 2 cups spinach wilted and drained of liquid
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried corriander
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the dipping sauce (optional)

  • 1/4 terriaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • water to adjust strength


For the dumplings:

  • Set up your skins and a small finger bowl of water
  • Mix together all other ingredients by hand until well incorporated
  • Take about a 1/2 a teasoon full of filling and place it in the midde of the skin
  • Wet the pastry all around the edge and fold over
  • Pinch the skins shut
  • Set up your steamer (I used a bamboo steamer over boiling water)
  • Make sure the dumplings are not touching and steam until tender.

For the dipping sauce (optional)

  • Mix all the ingredients except over a very low heat until the brown sugar is dissolved.
  • Add water a litte at time until you get the right balance of flavour, rememer it's a dipping sauce the flavour needs to be strong.


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