Dumplings Around the World

It seems that most cultures around the world have developed a dumpling of some sort, essentially a closed pocket of dough, wrapped around a stuffing that can be savory or sweet.  This page will evolve over time as I add photos and additional dumpling styles.

Bao (also bau, humbow, nunu, bausak, pow or pau) are Chinese steamed stuffed buns or breads that use a leavened dough.  The larger variety of Bao are typified by the roast pork bun, which have a thicker, bready dough wrapper.  The smaller Bao, with thinner, partially leaven dough wrappers, are often referred to as dumplings.

Xiaolong Bao, also called Shanghai Soup-Dumplings, are filled with pork or pork mixed with hairy crab meat and roe, and gelatinized pork broth (pork aspic). The dumplings are steamed and as they cook the pork aspic turns into a rich soup that stays contained within the dumpling wrapper.  You have to be really careful when eating these dumplings, it is easy to end up with scalding soup exploding into your mouth or onto your face and shirt.

Sheng Jian are another type of soup dumpling made with pork and pork aspic.  Sheng Jian are pan fried in giant black pans covered with wooden lids so they are crispy fried on the bottom and steamed on top. They are usually served with sesame seeds and chopped green onions sprinkled on top of them.  These dumplings are a Shanghaiese breakfast tradition, like the Xiaolong Bao, these can be tricky to eat because the pork broth is scalding hot.

Empanada are a Spanish and South American variety of dumpling (called pastel in Brazilian Portuguese) that is baked or fried.  The name comes from Spanish verb empanar, to wrap or coat in bread. Empanadas are stuffed with seasoned meat (pork, chicken or beef), cheese, or vegetables.

Joaozi is the Chinese word for dumpling, which usually consist of minced meat and finely chopped vegetables wrapped with a thin dough wrapper. Common mixtures include pork with scallions, pork with chives, pork with Chinese cabbage, pork and shrimp with vegetables, and seasonal greens.

Shui jiao are boiled Chinese dumplings, originally popular in northern China.

Zheng jiao are steamed dumplings, usually steamed in stacks of bamboo containers.  These tend to have more delicate wrappers than the boiled or fried versions.

Har Gow are a type of steamed dumpling commonly found at dim sum restaurants, often filled with shrimp.  They are distinguished by their translucent, intricately pleated wrappers.

Guo tie, also known as Pot stickers, are thicker skinned shui jiao, that are pan-fried on the bottom and then steamed to finish off the top.  They are usually made with a pork-based filling with bokchoy, leeks or cabbage.

Hun tun, also known as wontons, are usually served in a soup and generally have a filling of pork and greens.  They tend to have a larger ratio of wrapper to filling than other Chinese dumplings, so they have both a dumpling and noodle quality to them. Cantonese style wontons have a shrimp filling and come with egg noodles in the soup. Sichuan style wontons are served in chili oil with pepper corns and green onions.

Tang tuans are glutinous rice flour balls filled with sweet or savory filling. Common fillings include, sesame paste, powdered peanuts and sugar, and pork with green onion for the savory kind.

Mandu is Korean for dumplings and is a word similar to that used in Central Asia for meat-filled dumplings. Korean dumplings come steamed, boiled and pan fried, in styles similar to Chinese Joaozi and Japanese Gyoza.  When pan-fried they are known as gun mandu, when steamed jjin mandu and when boiled mul mandu.

Momo are Tibetan dumplings and are larger and heartier than Chinese dumplings.  They come with a variety of fillings including, potato, chicken, yak, and beef and are usually flavored with ginger, coriander, cilantro or garlic. They can be round or crescent shape and come fried or steamed.  They are usually served with spicy chili sauce.

Pasties are large, baked dumplings originating in Cornwall, England. Traditionally they are stuffed with beef, diced potato, turnip and onion, seasoned with salt and pepper.  The Cornish Pasty has a “Protected Geographic Indication” within Europe, meaning that it must be traditionally and at least partially manufactured (prepared, processed OR produced) within Cornwall.  It has been reported that Pasties account for 6% of the Cornish food economy.

Pierogi originated in Central and Eastern Europe and are most commonly associated with Poland.  Pierogi can come stuffed with potato, minced meat, cheese, fruit or sauerkraut. They’re usually boiled, and then often pan-fried in butter with onions.

Ravioli are the Italian dumpling.  While most other dumplings are made by folding a single sheet of dough over the filling and pinching or pleating the wrapper closed, ravioli are made using two sheets of dough sandwiching the filling.

Samosa are a deep-fried dumpling popular in South Asia and Southeast Asia that usually has pyramid shape.  Common stuffing include potato, onions, peas, lentils and ground lamb, and the stuffing is often seasoned with curry.

Yaki Gyoza are the Japanese version of Guo Tie (potsticker), the wrapper of the gyoza tends to be thinner than that of the Guo Tie. Yaki Gyoza are pan-fried on their flat side and then water is added to the pan and it is covered so the top of the gyoza is steamed.

3 Responses to Dumplings Around the World

  1. John Wobbe says:

    You really need to go to Taipei Start with Din Tai Fung (there are supposed to be a couple on the west coast but the original… well you know what I mean) and work your way through the street food stalls (there are many) that feature radish buns and baked pepper pork buns.

  2. Here are some more traditional dumplings around the world (40+): http://blog.ingredientmatcher.com/different-dumplings-around-the-world-including-turnovers-patties-pierogi-empanadas/

    Excluded are dumplings with no filling like halusky, gnocchi, nokedli, etc. I have also excluded sweet fillings that are meant as dessert.

    Let me know if you think I have missed something!

  3. Brian J. Clarke says:

    Guys, you are really missing out on Wongmans gyoza and grill situated in OG Vic. Best gyozas in the world by far when he is on pace and not hung. He certainly knows how to infuse the asian and australian influences into such a sultry bun. Wongy is also pretty generous with gyoza and chilli sauce, both of which I have noticed seem to be in very short supply through the eastern world. Bang on Wongy.

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