'Owning a neighborhood food truck has always been a dream'
When Sola Lee looks out from her dumpling truck's window, her eyes find more than an industrial park cul-de-sac -- she sees a neighborhood.
The Used Tire Warehouse where drivers in need find affordable tires and, when they're hungry, her pork-and-celery dumplings across the asphalt. Or the construction workers who used to roam the site behind her truck and stop by for lunch.
"Owning a neighborhood food truck has always been a dream," Lee said, standing in the close quarters of her business, Sola's Disco Dumplings.
Sola's Disco Dumplings opened for its third season of selling homemade dumplings on June 16.
The truck is parked on the cul-de-sac at 6 Thatcher Lane, near one of Wareham's newest dispensaries, Trade Roots.
A co-owner of Trade Roots is Carl Giannone, Lee's husband. The pair moved from New York City to Wareham as it was made clear that Trade Roots would be setting up shop in town, Lee said.
But before that, Lee had been working for years in the city in the restaurant and catering business. She attended the International Culinary Center. And before that, she picked up the lessons of dumpling-making from her family.
Later, while Lee was living in the city, she took time to travel abroad to Beijing and attend more culinary school.
Lee knows her way around a dumpling. She said she had to get used to the weather in Wareham, as conditions like the temperature and humidity affect how dough should be prepared.
After honing her skills, Lee opened Sola’s in 2020.
Now in its third season, the truck will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Lee said information about daily offerings will be available on her Instagram page @solasdiscodumplings.
This summer's menu offers a mix of dumpling fillings. There's the "disco dumplings," which Lee says are a lil' smaller and cost $6 for six, or $7 if you mix and match them. Those are her pork celery and shrimp-corn-pork dumplings.
For $9, you can order six of her specialty dumplings: either triple jalapeno or beef, carrot and cilantro dumplings. Another specialty dumpling Lee is working on offering occasionally this season, she said, is a haddock-and-lamb dumpling, mixing cuisines from North and South China in one savory bundle.
"I want my dumplings to be juicy," Lee said. She usually makes her dumplings in the winter, she said, before freezing, vacuum-sealing and packing them away for the summer. Redmen Hall has been kind to Lee, she said, taking a leap of faith with her and letting the chef use their kitchen to cook.
Also, she makes brownies.
At heart, Lee loves Wareham. She spoke fondly of the views outside her home: a cranberry bog that, when morning mist rises into a dense fog, looks like "heaven," she said.
Growing up, Lee loved reading Jane Austen novels. Living in the British countryside seemed like a fantasy, she said.
Now, Lee says, she has that -- a new phase of her life, away from the big city and hustle culture, where adventure and a close, neighborly community awaits.