Jennifer Russo

There is just something comforting about dumplings. These delicious little morsels are fairly healthy, can be steamed or pan fried to perfection, filled with pretty much anything, and are texturally the perfect bite – tender, chewy, and juicy. In China, they are said to represent prosperity and fortune, because they resemble gift or money pouches. 

Yume Dumplings (pronounced yoo-mee), newly opened in January and is located on Pleasant St, bringing everything we love about Asian fusion right into our backyard. The reception has been wonderful, and the place has been busy so far and the great reviews just keep pouring in.

Owner Samuel Cheng, also known as “Panda,” says cooking is in his DNA. 

“My mother loved to cook and was really amazing at it – I used to watch her all the time. I didn’t get into cooking right away, but it was always something I enjoyed the idea of.”

He met his wife, whose family was in the restaurant business, and he would help out bartending or at the front of house. 

“I ended up meeting my mentor through a business venture, and he started teaching me and put me in the back to learn how to make everything “just in case” I was needed in the kitchen. I realized how much I loved cooking things myself then. Every signature dish needed a sauce and so I would come up with those recipes to pair with them and I liked the creativity,” he shares.

Though he did a short stint working in Real Estate, Samuel realized it really wasn’t what he was interested in and went right back into the restaurant industry. 

“This is definitely my passion,” he says. “I don’t mind staying late to prep for the next day or doing the paperwork and things because this doesn’t feel like work to me. I am doing something I love.”

Worcester residents may remember Cheng as the former owner of Blue Shades, a well-loved café and specialty waffle shop that was a must-stop in the city. Unfortunately, in the wake of the pandemic, they needed to close their doors back in 2020.

“While we really loved it there, the time during the pandemic gave me a chance to connect with and spend time with my family even more. You realize that though pouring yourself into work is important, there needs to be balance,” says Cheng.

Now, four years later, with Worcester booming with business, he and his wife thought it was the right time to open a new kind of restaurant that would put its own unique stamp on the city. He really wanted to bring the kind of food he enjoys eating to the area he loves and has been a part of since he moved here with his parents in 1981.

“Yume was what I wanted. I don’t like following the standard rules when it comes to Chinese takeout cuisine. I like food. Growing up in a lower-income immigrant family, rice and noodles were staples, and those things bring you back home. Here we can have our menu be just the things we want to do – dumplings, soups, bao buns, and other more traditional foods, but also modern food with a western twist, like chicken sandwiches and salads and fusion dishes. And we can add new things too.” says Cheng.

As an example, while Yume has tea and other drinks you may expect, they also have a Portuguese-inspired whipped coffee drink called dalgona that comes in original, tiramisu, crème brulee, matcha, and other fun flavors.

For a quick, casual dining in or a takeout order to bring home to family and friends, this is a great place for simple, delicious food that is already the talk of the town in just a few short months. Everything is made fresh with love. Be sure to check it out sometime soon and meet the “Panda” behind the stove!

Yume Dumplings is located at 5 Pleasant Street and their online menu can be found at