Meet the Auckland woman who makes 4000 dumplings a day

*This story was first published in October 2017. It was one of our most popular stories for the year.*

If it wasn't for the crowds of customers spilling out the door, you may easily miss Eden Noodles Cafe.

But the small, red-fronted restaurant has caught the eyes and taste buds of many Aucklanders.


It's all down to Ya Qin Zhang, or as she is known by the restaurant staff, 'The Dumpling Queen'.

Everyday, Ms Qin Zhang single-handedly makes between 3000-4000 dumplings.

On weekend nights the lines at the restaurant are out the door, as customers wait for a chance to sample the dumplings that have made Ms Zhang a minor celebrity.

"I feel very happy, because my Kiwi customers are so kind," she says.

"Sometimes, they even ask me to take a photo with them - it makes me feel good."

Today, New Zealand has more ethnic groups than there are countries in the world, according to Statistics NZ.

By 2038, Asians will become New Zealand's second-largest ethnic group, surpassing both Pacific Islanders and Māori. They bring with them a rich culture and cuisine that owner Ping Xiao says Kiwi customers are keen to immerse themselves in.

"I only wanted to make a living, when I started my noodle restaurant business," he says.

"But I found Kiwis not only enjoy my noodles, but also want to know the Chinese culture, such as the origin of the famous Sichuan cuisine, dan dan noodles and zhong dumpling.

"When I feel my English is not good enough, I will ask my waiters to tell them the story."