Back by popular demand this year was the AKIBA People’s Dumpling. With over 500 entries our favourite Asian-fusion restaurant had their work cut out picking a winner. The AKIBA crew narrowed down the list to a top 20 then threw it to the public to vote for final top four contenders.

The top four which were showcased on the AKIBA Yum Cha menu over two weekends included: ‘Spicy chicken katsu-chicken schnitzel dumpling with chilli’s’; ‘desert dumpling of peanut butter, banana and salted caramel ice cream dumpling’; ‘tandoori chicken dumplings served with mint and yoghurt sauce’ – which was runner up – and the winner who will have their invention on the menu permanently ‘South East Asian fusion Xiao long bao with laksa soup filling vegan dumplings.’

Natasha Tioukavkin is the well-deserved winner. It appears she went a little dumpling crazy, reworking the competition graphic to Photoshop (I use the word Photoshop loosely) her face as the dumplings then proceeding to make the customised image her Facebook profile pic.

“I harnessed my passion for meme making and social media (as well as my passion for free food) to win this contest! I spammed many of my friends, encouraging them to vote and share in exchange for a nice AKIBA meal.”

After hearing the good news that she had won the AKIBA People’s Dumpling competition last night Natasha live streamed her uncontained joy on Facebook, before making another winners meme of course.

Seeing her dumpling of choice on the menu for the next year isn’t the only thing she has to look forward to. Natasha can eat AKIBA for free for a year! We hope she doesn’t get tired of her dumpling. The three runners-up walk away with a $500 AKIBA voucher each.

Natasha sure knows good things come in small packages. Her idea was inspired from a study trip she attended in Beijing where the idea came to her to package the flavours she had been experimenting with in one neat dumpling.

“I tried some delicious and authentic Xiaolongbao,” she said. “When I heard about AKIBA’s wonderful competition, I really wanted to incorporate Xiaolongbao but add a twist. I am also a huge fan of laksa so I decided to combine these two wonderful foods together to create a delicious fusion. Having many vegetarian and vegan friends, I also wanted them to be able to try my dumpling creation so I decided to defy tradition and ensure those with dietary requirements could still enjoy the recipe.”

Fun and games aside, Natsaha says that winning this competition will save her some hard earn coin as well as enable her to be more social.

“As a university student, any sort of free food that isn’t pizza or instant noodles is welcomed with open arms. I am able to save big on food while also inviting along my friends for a filling and delicious dinner.”