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We want to bring the dumpling emoji to life and pave the way for a more inclusive catalog of emojis.
We want to bring the dumpling emoji to life and pave the way for a more inclusive catalog of emojis.
318 backers pledged $12,478 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Where Is the Dumpling Emoji? project video thumbnail
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Update: We Did It!

With your support and lots of publicity, the Unicode Consortium announced that DUMPLING (along with TAKEOUT BOX, FORTUNE COOKIE and CHOPSTICKS) were new emoji candidates. They are on track to be part of Unicode 10, which will be released in June 2017. 

Dumplings are Universal

Dumplings are one of the most universal cross-cultural foods in the world. Poland has pierogi. Nepal has momos. Russia has pelmeni, Japan has gyoza. Italy has ravioli. Georgia has khinkali. Korea has mandoo. Jews have kreplach. Argentina has empanadas, and China has potstickers. 

Yet, there is no dumpling emoji.

There is a pizza emoji, a hamburger emoji and a taco emoji. There are also a range of semi-obscure Japanese foods including fish cake with swirl design, rice ball, and dango. But there is no usable dumpling emoji in the standard set. 

There’s a time to change that and that time is now.

Picketing Dumplings by Christina Gualy
Picketing Dumplings by Christina Gualy

Our Proposed Dumpling Emoji Glyphs

Proposed dumpling emoji glyph (plain version), by Yiying Lu. Licensed for non-commercial use. Feel free to share and use with creative attribution to @YiyingLu.
Proposed dumpling emoji glyph (plain version), by Yiying Lu. Licensed for non-commercial use. Feel free to share and use with creative attribution to @YiyingLu.
  
Proposed dumpling emoji glyph (personified version), by Yiying Lu. Licensed for non-commercial use. Feel free to share and use with creative attribution to @YiyingLu.
Proposed dumpling emoji glyph (personified version), by Yiying Lu. Licensed for non-commercial use. Feel free to share and use with creative attribution to @YiyingLu.

Who Controls Our Emoji?

How could this be? Those of us behind the Dumpling Emoji Project were surprised to discover there was no dumpling emoji, so we started looking into how emojis were determined.

We were surprised by how the decision process was concentrated in a handful of multinational American technical corporations.

When you see or send an emoji, that emoji has likely been voted upon by the Unicode Consortium and approved to be standardized across platforms.

Without the guidance presented by the Unicode Consortium, an Apple-created emoji would appear as a jumble on any non-Apple device.

So, who votes on what emoji gets onto this universal lexicon?

Well, Unicode currently has only 11 full voting members, each who pay $18,000 a year for the privilege. 

Eight of the members are U.S. multinational tech companies: Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Yahoo.

The only other three full voting members are the German software company SAP, the Chinese telecom company Huawei and the government of Oman.* 

Who exactly are the shadowy emoji overlords?
Who exactly are the shadowy emoji overlords?

Unicode is a standards organization. The folks on the committee which oversees emoji are mostly male, mostly American, and overwhelmingly engineers.

And it takes anywhere from 18 months to two years for a single emoji to move through the approval process, as it also needs to receive buy-in from ISO (yet another international standards body).

This is not the best system to determine a rapidly evolving, global, visual language.

Emoji By The People, For The People

We want to open up the discussion of emoji policy and what it should look like going forward. We are forming a grassroots organization called Emojination to give voice to regular folks on issues of emoji.

Our motto is "Emoji by the people, for the people."

And you can join us!  Anyone can be involved. 

The Unicode Quarterly Meeting, where emoji are decided
The Unicode Quarterly Meeting, where emoji are decided

We're submitting our dumpling emoji proposal to right the dumpling disparity. But our bigger goal is to raise enough for our group to join Unicode as an official non-voting associate member (the same level as Twitter). 

This costs $2,500 a year, which is why we set our goal at $4,000 (net of reward costs). Once we raise that, we could possibly choose annual membership with gives us half a vote on the technical committee that oversees emoji (which costs $7,500 for non-profits). The more money we raise for Emojination, the more years of membership we can secure for the future.

We want to create a system where popular emoji requests (#emojirequest) can systematically bubble up, and be transformed into proper proposals for the Unicode Consortium.

This isn't just about dumplings. We want to bring giraffes, the Nazar, and other in-demand emoji into the world in a diverse, inclusive way.

But we need your help to make it happen. 

Join us to helping determine the future of emoji.

Dumping Rewards

We have all sorts of dumpling-related schwag.

Dumpling Workshops and Parties in San FranciscoDumpling workshops and parties in the Bay Area catered by the two-time winner of the Dumpling Wars, Leland Wong. Hand-rolled skins, pork, shrimp and vegetarian. Events start at 15 people and can up to parties of 50 or more. Great for home part or office event.  Leland's dumplings are so good, they made him a judge the third year so he couldn't compete again.

The Night of 1,000 Momos in New York CityThe ultimate dumpling indulgence! A party of six are served up to 1,000 momos at Little Tibet in Jackson Heights, Queens (which has a 4.5 star rating on Yelp.). This comes courtesy of Jeff Orlick, the founder of the Momo Crawl.

Dumpling Crawl in Los Angeles.
Dumpling crawls in Los Angeles or New York City hosted by Kenny Lao, founder of Rickshaw Dumplings. Follow Kenny to the hidden dumpling gems. Tickets come in sets of two. Dates coordinated with him after the Kickstarter campaign is over.

Dumpling Schwag
Dumplings around the world tote bag!

Evil Dumpling Art

Godzilla Dumpling by Christina Gualy
Godzilla Dumpling by Christina Gualy

Supporters

"Whether it's dumplings or tacos or pizza emojis, the Unicode Consortium is regulating language. People speak with their hands these days and language should be open. I believe that not only should there be a dumpling emoji, there should be a bao emoji too." 
— Eddie Huang, founder of Baohouse and author of "Fresh Off the Boat." 

"How can there not be a dumpling emoji? Its like having no 'A' in the 'ABCs.'" 
— Tim Wu, Columbia Law professor who invented "Net Neutrality" and former cashier at a dumpling restaurant in Virginia. 

"The choices for expressing affection are startlingly limited. I want to be able to say "You are my little [dumpling emoji] — but I can't. (BTW, there's no cabbage either, for those who want to court in French. )"
— Amanda Bennett, former editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and former China correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. 

"A dumpling emoji? What a no brainer. It's so simple and telegraphic — goodness in small packages. It just makes you smile."
— Ming Tsai, chef, author and host of PBS-TV's SimplyMing 

"Until dumplings have a place at the emoji table, ours cannot be a truly inclusive society."
— Jeannie Suk, first female Asian-American tenured professor at Harvard Law School. 

"A dumpling emoji could be as full of meaning as a soup dumpling: bursting with flavor and heat."
V.V. Ganeshananthan, novelist and dumplingoisseur 

 "Mmm...dumpling." — Parker Conrad, CEO of Zenefits and dumpling aficionado. 

"If you are willing to call them pierogi emojis, I'm in." 
Craig Silverstein, Dean of Infrastructure at Khan Academy and first employee at Google. 

"If there was a national fast food chain serving up dumplings, we'd probably have a dumpling emoji already. Since there isn't, getting a dumpling emoji into the mix has to be a people's movement. Rise up and get doughy." 
Andrea Nguyen, author of Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More, Vietworldkitchen.com

"The dumpling is universal, the dumpling emoji should be as well."  
— Kenny Lao, Author of "Hey There, Dumpling!" and Co-Founder Rickshaw Dumpling Bar and Trucks. 

"Billions of people can't be wrong, dumplings are HOT. The world demands dumpling emoji!!" 
— James Hong, co-founder of HOT or NOT. 

"It's not animation. I've seen these dumplings texting each other. They mean business."
— Duncan Robson, video editor, narrator and animator. 

"Every culture recognizes the dumpling. We need to be able to communicate this in a single character—optimally a cute one."
— Jeff Orlick, founder of the Momo Crawl in New York City. 

"I've been asking for a pierogi emoji for years—it's time to take matters into our own hands."
— Casey Barber, author of Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food 

"Dumplings are a multicultural sensation of flavor and tradition. It’s time they we’re immortalized with other classic foods on the emoji keyboard."
— Porter Haney, CEO of wedgies.com and dumpling lover. 

Dumpling Emoji Press

BBC,  December 18, 2015

Dumpling Porn From Around the World

Here, to reward you for getting to the bottom, are photos dumplings from around the world. The family resemblance is undeniable.

Vietnamese banh bot loc Photo: Andrea Nguyen
Vietnamese banh bot loc Photo: Andrea Nguyen
Mongolian khushuur Photo: Andrea Nguyen
Mongolian khushuur Photo: Andrea Nguyen
Pierogi. Photo by Kitchen Wench.
Pierogi. Photo by Kitchen Wench.
Chinese dumplings. Photo by Andrea Nguyen
Chinese dumplings. Photo by Andrea Nguyen
Chinese Dumplings. Photo by Lucy Schaeffer
Chinese Dumplings. Photo by Lucy Schaeffer
Chinese Potstickers. Photo by Lucy Schaeffer
Chinese Potstickers. Photo by Lucy Schaeffer
Chinese Dumplings. Photo by Lucy Schaeffer
Chinese Dumplings. Photo by Lucy Schaeffer

And to reward those of you who have reached the very bottom of this Kickstarter, meet "Bling Bling Dumpling" or as we put it "Dumpling meets Burning Man."  - art by Yiying Lu.

The Bling Bling Dumpling
The Bling Bling Dumpling

 __

* There are also other lower membership tiers which include the government of India, the government of Bangladesh and the University of California, Berkeley. The lower membership tiers include full and half votes on technical committees, including the Unicode Technical Committee, which oversees emoji.

Risks and challenges

Our draft dumpling emoji proposal is ready to be submitted for the Unicode Consortium, so there is very little risk there. It is a well-written proposal. Whether or not Unicode accepts it, however, is still in question. But we are ready to do our part to close the dumpling disparity.

Since a number of our prizes are mailed, there are only some minor challenges there with improper addresses and things that involve mailing physical objects.

One risk: we are aiming to get $2,500 (net of dumpling reward costs) to get a non-voting affiliate membership on Unicode, so we set our bar at $4,000. But if certain high-dollar rewards are chosen, where the underlying costs are also very high, we might end up "hitting our goal" but not actually having quite enough money to join the consortium. If that is the case, we can lobby for more donors outside the Kickstarter to get us to the $2,500 level.

Last, there are some coordination hurdles with the dumpling crawls and parties in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, in that not all supporters might be able to make the days that we hold the crawls. This is why we are making those rewards transferrable to friends.

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FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Our shared spirtual love of dumplings, and a high-resolution image of our "bling bling" dumpling, with flashing heart-shaped eyes.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Our digital dumpling cookbook with recipes from chef Ming Tsai's mom, two-time Dumpling Wars winner Leland Wong, Rickshaw Dumpling founder Kenny Lao, and pierogi aficinado Casey Barber, among others.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A dumpling emoji T-shirt AND an inaugural one-year membership in Emojination.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Download of a set of high-resolution dumplng art ("evil dumpling") AND an inaugural one-year membership in Emojination.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A "dumplings around the world" tote bag AND an inaugural one-year membership in Emojination.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    A SIGNED copy of your choice of dumpling cookbooks, including "Hey There, Dumpling" by Kenny Lao, "Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food" by Casey Barber, and "Asian Dumplings" by Andrea Nguyen. This IN ADDITION to an inaugural one-year membership in Emojination.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Come to a spring weekend CROSS-CULTURAL dumpling emoji awareness party hosted in a SOMA loft in San Francisco, featuring potstickers, momos, pelmini, empanadas and pierogi. All you can eat. For one guest. But pledge more for multiple. Reward transferable. Do multiple if you want multiple tickets. Plus inaugural membership in Emojination.

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    Pledge $149 or more About $149

    Get a limited edition SIGNED and NUMBERED Dumpling Emoji Fine Art Giclée Print (which last for more than 100+ years) measures 29.7 x 42.0cm, 11.69 x 16.53 inches - by the emoji dumpling artist Yiying Lu. You have a choice of either the plain version or the personified version.

    You will get a free art frame if you are coming and picking it up during the spring weekend CROSS-CULTURAL dumpling emoji awareness party hosted in a SOMA loft in San Francisco and will be greeted by the artist. Be sure to get a separate ticket for the event, if you wish to get the artwork in person and meet the artist!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Your choice of frozen famed local potstickers, pierogi, pelmini or momos airshipped to you from our various dumpling partners. Plus inaugural membership in Emojination.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    TWO tickets for a dumpling emoji awareness crawl in your choice of New York City OR Los Angeles. (Includes dumpling costs and some transportation, depending on the city). Hosted by Rickshaw Dumplings chef Kenny Lao or dumpling lover Jennifer 8. Lee. Dates to be arranged with participants. Tour transferrable. Plus inaugural membership in Emojination.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    "Night of 1000 Momos" in New York City. You and five guests (six people total) can eat up to one thousand momos at Little Tibet in Jackson Heights, Queens in New York City. Courtesy of the Momo Crawl. PLUS inaugural membership in Emojination.

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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    Three-hour dumpling making workshop for up to 15 people in your choice of Bay Area, Los Angeles or New York. LA done by Kenny Lao, founder of Rickshaw Dumplings and author of "Hey, There Dumpling." San Francisco done by Leland Wong, two-time winner of the Dumpling Wars). New York pierogi done by Casey Barber, author of "Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food." Includes dumpling ingredients, both vegetarian and non vegetarian. No beverages provided. For groups 20 and above, pledge $800 and up. Contact us for more details on larger events!

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Three-hour dumpling making workshop with WINE PAIRING for up to 15 people in your choice of location of Bay Area, Los Angeles or New York. LA done by Kenny Lao, founder of Rickshaw Dumplings and author of "Hey, There Dumpling." San Francisco done by Leland Wong, two-time winner of the Dumpling Wars). New York pierogi done by Casey Barber, author of "Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food." Includes dumpling ingredients, both vegetarian and non vegetarian. For groups 20 and above, pledge $1,000 and up. Contact us for more details on larger events!

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Hand-rolled dumpling party at your location for up to 100 people in San Francisco Bay Area (by Leland Wong, two-time winner of the Dumpling Wars) or Los Angeles area (by Kenny Lao, founder of Rickshaw Dumplings and author of "Hey, There Dumpling"). Includes dumpling ingredients, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Ideal for corporate events. Contact us for more details!

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Becoming a founding board member of Emojination! And get a dumpling party in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Boston. Other US cities possible, but might involve travel costs. Email for more details and discussion.

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Funding period

- (57 days)