A popular east Asian food pop-up famous in Birmingham for its delicious dumplings is soon to set up a permanent café in Kings Heath. Owner Sabrina Fung, 31, moved from Hong Kong to the UK in 2013 and quickly made Birmingham her home.
She set up her own food business in 2019 in a bid to introduce Hong Kong culture to the city – and quickly gathered a loyal following at her supper clubs and residences at pubs and venues across the city. Regulars loved her dumplings so much that Sabrina even started hosting her own masterclasses, and her family-recipe dumplings are now stocked at the local Borough & Fox greengrocer.
Now, after much encouragement from her followers, Sabrina is soon to open her own east Asian eatery and arts space in the heart of her new hometown. Blow Water Café will sell the meals Sabrina misses most from Hong Kong – taking inspiration from the local Japanese, Korean and Shanghainese restaurants she used to love – and of course, her signature dish.
Sabrina told BirminghamLive: “I started Blow Water because I liked doing dinner parties for my friends and that home-cooked style of east Asian food wasn’t something I could easily find in Birmingham. It was a gateway for people to get to know about Hong Kong food and also arts and culture.
“Since then, I’ve been doing quite a few supper clubs and pop-ups, mainly in Kings Heath and Moseley, and my food started to get really popular, especially during the lockdown. I was seeing a lot of people coming back every week just to eat my food.
“I normally put whatever I want to eat on the menu. It’s a personal reflection of myself.
“I was born and raised in Hong Kong like my dad but my grandma is from Shanghai and my mum is from Beijing, so there’s inspiration from all of those places. It’s something people can eat every day, rather than as a treat like you would a typical Chinese takeaway.
“My dumplings are a family tradition – my mum makes very good ones. We can get through 100 of them in a family gathering. My menus tend to change but I can’t take dumplings off the menu because I know people would be very angry with me!”
Common items on Sabrina’s menus also include rice bowls, Shanghainese stir-fried rice cakes and Hong Kong French toast. She also plans to sell east Asian-inspired cocktails, mocktails and tea.
Blow Water Café is set to open in the old Mirrorstone Crystals shop at 4B Heathfield Road. It will have a botanical theme, creating the atmosphere of an east Asian café.
The eatery will be open for lunch and dinner, as well as hosting dumpling masterclasses. Sabrina is now crowdfunding to help pay for the extensive refurbishment required at the shop, ahead of a planned opening by the end of July. To make a donation, view the Crowdfunder page here.