An Ode to the Commons Dumplings

Plate of steamed dumplings with sides and a Tahini chocolate cookie

Hot take: I am a fan of food. You can even say I’m a lover of it! Crazy, I know. Lucky for me, my craze and love for food remains nurtured on campus through all of our dining halls. Each residential college has its own dining hall (14!), and then there are other places to eat that exist in their own realms during lunch hours. If you’re a STEM student, you become very familiar with Steep, whereas people looking to grab and go might be more of a regular at the Bow Wow. My comfort place for lunch is none other than Commons. 

Commons resembles what you imagine a Yale dining hall to look like. It is massive, daunting, and closed more often than I like, but the food is consistent and comforting. Sometimes, that is all you need. There are four mini restaurants within Commons, each with a unique menu highlighting pasta, rotisserie chicken, and vegetarian meals. This is my love letter to the Common Dumplings, a meal I am happy to enjoy on any given weekday. 

Commons Dining Hall! It looks much fuller during lunch

The residential college dining halls occasionally have potstickers, but the only place to certainly find steamed dumplings for lunch is here. These dumplings, available with either chicken, pork, or vegetable, fill you up and leave you wanting more despite barely being able to move after eating them. The kimchi cucumber salad as a side compliments the dumplings wonderfully, making the meal balanced and exciting with each bite. I won’t lie and say they’re the best dumplings in the world, but their sentimental value is hard to compete against. 

The people serving the dumplings might just actually be the nicest people ever. Each Commons meal comes with Tahini chocolate chunk cookies. As a familiar face at Lotus (where they serve the dumplings), I always get an extra cookie. Today, I got four! These cookies put your grandma’s sugar cookies to shame… no offense to you or your grandma(s) but it’s true. The Lotus staff always has a smile on their face, even during the lunch rush, which makes you want to smile along with them. 

These dumplings are always there for me in my time of need and hunger. I am usually in Commons if I cannot make lunch in the other dining halls. But do not be mistaken, as Commons is not a second choice but a quality choice. As a late eater, Commons provides me a fancy-looking refuge for when I want to eat between 1:30 pm and 3 pm.

When I eat my dumplings, I always use the chopsticks provided. When I do so, I am reminded of when I was taught how to use them by close friends in high school, and the times I have taught others to use them with mixed success since then. When I sit in Commons, I remember the out-of-town guests I have welcomed here with their own plate of dumplings. I also get to rejoice in eating with my friends now when I eat here, and all those layers of community comfort me as I eat an already homey meal. These dumplings are a little moment of joy among many others on campus. It is more than just a meal, but it is also a damn good meal in its own right.