Pinch pop-up: dumplings with a difference!

Please note that since writing this blog post, Pinch (pop-up) has closed down

Just when I was starting to think pop-ups had had their day, along came one that blew me away. Ok, it’s been a long day, and when a copywriter gets to that tired-and-slightly-hysterical stage, they start doing alliterating headlines and rhyming introductions. Enough already.

So a nice American lady called Megan Vasko invited me to her pop-up the other week. She said she knew a friend of mine who’d worked at MegaCorp, and she’d run into the Honey Badger at a Beer Meet-Up group a couple of years ago (Beer Meet-Up? Isn’t that just drinking?), and she’d spent some time at the same university as me… There were so many connections, I had to say yes.

Pinch sum - spring rolls
Pinch’s fresh spring rolls – my favourite being the Buffalo Chicken!

The pop-up was held at Tunnel37, which is a great little space for foodie entrepreneurs (take note, aspiring pop-up chefs!) – I’d been there before for pho from the Banh Mi Girls, and this time it had been transformed into a veritable dumpling factory. Megan’s concept, known as Pinch because of her propensity to pinch a bit of this and a bit of that from various cultures, essentially serves up two things: fresh spring rolls and dumplings. Fusion-style.

Pinch sum - traditional pork dumpling
Classic Asian-style pork dumplings

When I say fusion-style… think spring rolls filled with smoked salmon, asparagus and dill. Or my favourite: the “Buffalo Chicken FSR” stuffed with chicken in hot-wing sauce and ranch dressing, served with blue cheese on the side. A classic vege Pad Thai was on the menu too, which was also delicious but wasn’t the reason I was there. Everything came with a range of sauces – from the green ‘n garlicky “Crocodile” sauce to a sweet ‘n spicy mango chutney.

Pinch sum - Thai green curry chicken wonton
Megan’s Thai green curry chicken wontons

The dumplings that were up next were even more exciting. While we started with a classic Asian-style pork dumpling, things quickly moved onto steamed parcels of saag paneer. Two crispy wonton-style dishes appeared: one filled with Thai green curry-marinated chicken; the other stuffed with a spicy chicken and corn barbacoa mixture. Each new plate of dumplings took the flavour levels up another notch (kind of a like a wine tasting?!), and I finished by stuffing my face with a spicy, dried-fruit-heavy, South African-inspired, meaty bobotie number.

Pinch sum - chicken barbacoa wonton
Despite the blur, I love this food pic…

So here’s the thing: if you’re a purist, steer clear. But if you’re feeling open-minded about your singular spring rolls and daring dumplings (there I go with that alliteration again), then don’t miss out on potential Pinch pleasure.

Pinch sum - bobotie dumpling
Pinch’s sweet ‘n spicy South-African bobotie dumplings

Megan regularly pops up at Restaurant Day, the monthly Neighbourfood Market, and Tunnel37, but you can also hire the Pinch team for catering gigs. A pop-up dinner (excluding BYOB) would usually cost €25, and individual portions of three spring rolls with sweetcorn salad cost €6.

all the info

Pinch (pop-up) (International)


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