Dumplings Around the World: Asia

By Kristina Marchenko

These dumplings are a total must-try the next time you are at any Asian restaurant. The first part of this article will contain dumplings from all over Asia, so I hope I can convince you to try at least a few of them (if you haven’t already)!

Jiaozi

We can call this the mother dumpling since many other dumplings around the world follow the template of recreating the jiaozi. This is a very common Chinese dumpling that is extremely popular during the New Year but also year-round in other provinces. The jiaozi is made up of minced meat and/or vegetables that is then wrapped in a thin layer of dough, which can then be fried, boiled, or steamed. They are traditionally served with black vinegar and sesame oil dip.

Xia Long Bao (my personal favourite dumpling)

The thin wrapper encompasses a pork filling and solid meat aspic (naturally gelatinized bone broth). When the dumpling gets steamed, the heat melts the gelatin aspect, returning it to its natural liquid state and creates this soup dumpling. To eat this dumpling you must first place it onto a deep spoon, poke a hole in the dumpling with your chopsticks, carefully suck out the broth and then munch on the dumpling.


Mandu

The dumplings from Korean cuisine are known as mandu, and they can be boiled, pan-fried, deep-fried, boiled, or steamed. They can also be stuffed with either kimchi, pork or vegetables.


Cha Siu Bao

These are Cantonese BBQ-stuffed pork buns that are traditionally steamed. The other way to cook these is to bake them. The exterior of the steamed buns is usually white while the baked ones have a glazed brown appearance.

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Gyoza

These are the Japanese dumplings that are very popular across the world. You can find them in many traditional and even fusion restaurants. They can be either fried or steamed just like the Chinese dumplings, the difference being that gyoza contain a stronger garlic flavour. They are typically dipped into a soy-based sauce that has been seasoned with rice vinegar and/or chili oil.

Har Gow

This is another Chinese dumpling but of a different variation. Due to the pleating of the dough, this dumpling is sometimes called a shrimp bonnet. Their appearance tends to be translucent with a smooth exterior and filled with either prawn or shrimp.

Khinkali

Khinkali are Georgian dumplings which vary by which region they are produced in. Contained inside the dough is minced meat (lamb or beef mixed with pork) with onions and spices such as cumin. They are extremely similar to the Chinese xiao long bao; you also first drink out the juices before eating the dumpling. Interestingly, you do not eat the tough top pleats and discard them onto your plate so that those eating can know how many you’ve eaten.  

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Kazbegi, Georgia #khinkali #georgia #food

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Manti

In my opinion, this variation of a dumpling is the most popular, because they can be found in a wide range of different cuisines. Some of these include the Turkish, Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Russian and Tatar kitchens. The dumpling is also made of minced meat (lamb or minced beef) in a dough wrapper and then steamed. The size and shape depends on the geographical location. Interestingly enough, the name manti  cognates with Korean mandu, Chinese mantou, and Japanese manjū.

Momos

This is a dumpling native to Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. It is similar to the Chinese jiaozi but heavily influenced with Indian spices and herbs.  The filling of this dumpling can contain an elaborate range of ingredients such as minced meats, vegetables, tofu, paneer cheese, and hard cheese.

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Samosas

The samosa is native to India and stuffed with a savoury filling consisting of spiced potatoes, onions, peas or lentils. The shape of this dumpling can be either triangular, conical, or half-moon shaped. Due to the samosas being either baked or fried, this makes it wonderful to pair with chutney.

Siu Mai

The origin of Hohhot siu mai is said to have been from inner Mongolia. These dumplings consists of only one type of filling: minced mutton, ginger, and scallions. The use of ginger and scallion creates a delightful scent and a slightly spicy taste. The filling is always put in the centre and the dough wrapper is pleated in such a way that it forms a flower shaped neck.

I hope some of these dumplings made your mouths water. Be sure to try them out, and leave a comment of which ones are your favourite. Happy munching!


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