Are you obsessed with dumplings? Don’t worry…so are we. Your quest for the perfect dumpling ends here.
Dumplings – soft dough wrapped around a scrumptious filling - can be almost any size, color or flavor. They can be sweet or savory. In fact, you wouldn’t be wrong to call them the “ultimate comfort food.”
Although food historians trace dumplings to European peasant cuisine, today these tasty treats can be found across every culture and class. And since they have been around for centuries, each culture has its own unique take on the “perfect dumpling.”
USA: Steamed Dumplings
Steamed dumplings are very popular in American cuisine. You’ll find many varieties in the States: chicken dumplings, pork dumplings, short rib dumplings, shrimp dumplings, apple dumplings, juicy dumplings, and bean dumplings.
Handmade steamed dumplings. Photo credit: Emily C.
Scottish: Clootie Dumplings
A Clootie dumpling is a Scottish steamed pudding, flavored with dried fruits, cinnamon and treacle. These large dumplings are traditionally mixed in a pudding cloth and then suspended in simmering water for hours. The end result is a rich, sweet and moist dessert.
China: Xiao long bao, aka Soup Dumplings
Xiao long bao is a type of steamed bun from the Jiangnan region of China. They are traditionally prepared in small bamboo steaming baskets, which gives them their name. Typically filled with warm soup, they are served with straws. Customers suck out the soup and then eat the dumpling.
China: Tang Yuan aka Sweet Dumplings
Tang yuan is frequently used as a metaphor for “family union” in China. This traditional Chinese sweet is often served during festivals. These small dumplings are made with glutinous rice flour and filled with sweet pastes: sesame, peanut, and red bean are all common flavors.
Hong Kong: Abalone Dumplings
Abalone dumplings are arguably the most sought-after seafood delicacy in Hong Kong. Traditionally made during the dragon boat festival, these seasonal delicacies are eaten with family and friends. These dumplings are counted as one of the most luxurious food of Hong Kong.
Taiwan: Xiao Long Bao aka Handmade Soup Dumplings
Soup dumplings are quite popular in Taiwan. These thin-skinned dumplings are filled with pork and steamed, creating a delicious juicy little package .
Pierogi originally hail from Eastern Europe, but have been enthusiastically embraced in the New World. Made with unleavened dough, they are first boiled and then baked or fried. Their fillings vary widely: sauerkraut, ground meat, mushrooms, Cheddar cheese and even mashed potato can be found inside the humble pierogi.
Germany: Klösse or Knödelin
Dumplings are a favorite food throughout Germany. Known as Klösse in northwestern Germany and Knödelin in the southeastern region, these plump morsels are generally spherical and either boiled or steamed. In Germany, dumpling enthusiasts can indulge during every course of a meal – dumplings can be the main dish, a side, a soup, and served sweet for dessert.
Italy: Gnocchi aka Potato Dumplings
This classic Italian pasta dish is actually tiny potato dumplings! Gnocchi are tender pastas, boiled and then served with a variety of sauces and cheese. Local tip: because gnocchi is best when made fresh, Thursday is the unofficial gnocchi day across Italy. Many restaurants make and serve gnocchi only on this day, so plan ahead!
Indonesia: Ketupat Dumplings
Ketupat are rice filled dumplings, packed inside woven palm leaf pouches. These tasty morsels are found across southeastern Asia and nicknamed “packed rice.”
Georgia: Kinkali dumplings
Khinkali are Georgian dumplings, filled with spiced meat (usually beef or pork), herbs and onions. A drier dumpling, khinkali are often eaten with black pepper but can also be eaten plain.
South Korea: Kimchi Mandu aka Kimchi Dumplings
Mandu are baked dumplings often found in Korean cuisine. They are believed to have been first brought to Korea by Mongolians in the 14th century CE. They are usually served with kimchi and a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, vinegar and chili peppers. The most common fillings include minced meat, tofu, green onions, garlic, ginger and kimchi.
Feeling hungry? Indulge your craving with the Dumplings Around the World list and plan for your own quest for the perfect dumpling.