These Restaurant-Grade Frozen Dumplings Are My Go-To for Easy Weeknight Dinners

published Mar 12, 2024
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Credit: MìLà

My freezer is jam-packed with frozen meals from Trader Joe’s. Sue me! I love convenience and speed, and unlike refrigerated items that seem to go bad before I can even use them, they last forever. Plus, it’s more economical than takeout. For all of their pros, however, there are admittedly some cons. The biggest one? It’s not often that they taste quite as good as a “real” meal that you make from scratch or grab from a restaurant. 

However, “often” is the key word there. If you do a bit of research, you’ll find that there are a few companies out there that offer frozen meals that taste like they came from a top-tier eatery — you don’t even have to make a run to the grocery store! — and DTC brand MìLà is one of them. I had the chance to try out their mega-popular pork soup dumplings, and believe me, they put Trader Joe’s dumplings to shame.

What are the Pork Soup Dumplings?

I’m jumping onto the MìLà train a little late, but it’s better late than never. After launching as a brick-and-mortar shop called Xiao Chi Jie in 2018, the brand pivoted during the pandemic, rebranded as MìLà, and started offering DTC, frozen Chinese food nationwide. In addition to their soup dumplings, they also make noodles (which I loved), sauces, and ice creams that can be delivered right to your door. Co-founders (and husband and wife) Jen Liao and Caleb Wang’s mission is to bring restaurant-quality Chinese food into shoppers’ kitchens. Through food and their new name — which means honey and spice — they also celebrate third culture, being second-generation Chinese Americans.

Their popular — as in sold-30-million-to-date kind of popular — bite-sized soup dumplings come in packs of 50. (So, at $40, the brand says it averages out to only $6.50 per meal.) You can go for the ground pork option like I did, but shrimp and chicken are also up for grabs. It’s paired with pork- or chicken-based broth, flavored with fresh ginger and scallions, and wrapped in high-protein flour. They store in the freezer, and no defrosting is required when you want to whip up a batch. After only 11 minutes of steaming, they’re ready to go.

Credit: Morgan Pryor

Why I Love the Pork Soup Dumplings

We were already fans of these dumplings pre-rebrand, so we wanted to try them out under their new name to see if anything changed, for better or for worse. I’m happy to report that they’re just as flavorful and easy to make as they were before. It’s not hard for a dumpling to cross into too-mushy or too-firm territory, but after following the brand’s guidance, they came out just right. I ended up steaming them for 11 minutes in a bamboo basket, which you can grab for $30 on MìLà’s site like I did. (A metal steamer basket would work just fine, too.) The basket fit 12 dumplings — they really are sized perfectly for snacking — and they smelled so delicious that I could hardly wait for them to cool off. As soon as I tossed the first piece into my mouth, I was instantly impressed by the explosion of flavor and the ratio of soup to pork. I wolfed down the rest in record time.

I’m ready to subscribe and get these babies delivered monthly (which actually ends up costing 15% less). MìLà has spoiled me from all other frozen dumplings — Trader Joe’s isn’t even in the same stratosphere — and considering how good their noodles also are, maybe even all other frozen food brands. Trust me, these will become an instant staple in your freezer.