Eating different kinds of food is not just a gastronomic experience that satiates the senses. It is also a trip that can send a person to a cultural trail that also feeds you with interesting stories of its inception and ingredients! One dish that has been translated in different versions is the dumpling. It seems that this small bundle of savory goodness actually has different versions in different countries. Let’s go through the 10 different dumplings around the world.
Gyoza is a Japanese dumpling that comes in a crescent shape and is steamed or fried. It’s Chinese equivalent is the jiaozi, and it is also just as satisfying taste-wise. This is a perfect example of how something so simple can give you an unforgettable experience for the palate. It is simply filled with pork and cabbage with a good dose of chopped garlic in the mix. Compared to its Chinese counterpart, the gyoza also comes in a thinner wrapping which means it’s easier to get to the flavours!
This dumpling is a very popular recipe of Nepali or Tibetan origin. These are either filled with meat, vegetables, or cheese and then served with a tomato-based dipping sauce. The cheeses used are often paneer or chhurpi, while the meat fillings can either be buffalo, goat, yak, or lamb. What is interesting about this lunch favourite is that it displays the mix of two cultures as it combines elements from Indian and Chinese cuisines reflecting Nepal’s geographic location.
Also known as Manta, is believed to have been introduced by the Mongols, who later on conquered Asia and Eastern Europe in the 13th century and brought this recipe there. Mantis are either filled with a slew of vegetables or meat. These are closely similar to East Asian dumpling variations. Today, you can see different varieties widely popular in countries in central Asia such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. In Turkey, their versions of mantis are spiced with pepper and then slathered with batter and served with a yogurt dip.
The thing with Ravioli is that it is more known as a pasta instead of a dumpling, but it makes the cut since it comes as an individually wrapped dough with filling! A ravioli can be packed with anything, from cheeses, meat, and vegetables, or a combination of these. It is unfortunate that the impression most people have about this Italian dish are the canned versions, it pays to experience the authentic! It’s tasty which explodes in your mouth with flavours.
This Ashkenazi dish is traditionally eaten to celebrate Rosh Hashanah or to end the fast on Yom Kippur. It is a beautiful comfort food as the noodle doughs are filled with ground meat, mashed potatoes, and other fillings. It is usually boiled, or it can be served in chicken soup.
There is a very profound Kabbalistic reason for eating kreplach. Using the symbolism of the Kabbalah, the Rebbe explains that the meat filling in the kreplach signifies the emotional attributes, called the middos, while the dough which envelopes the meat — made from wheat flour — signifies knowledge (da’as), or knowledge of HaShem.
Papas Rellenas (Peru)
Instead of the usual dough, papas rellenas encase the filling with mashed potatoes and then fortified with potatoe flour. It has its origin in the traditional cooking of the African populations that arrived in Peru as slaves and then settled in the Chincha region. This is one of the famous Peruvian dishes which also reflects the agricultural characteristic of the region which is mostly tilling potatoes.
Pierogi is considered as the quintessential Eastern European dumpling. It has been around since the 13th century, and it is now the national dish of Poland. It consists of cheese, sauerkraut, meat, potatoes or even fruit wrapped in a flour and water dough. The dish is served either boiled or fried with butter and onions – many prefer the latter. This dish results in a hearty meal which delights the palate with a blast of flavours. Since you are only limited by your imagination when it comes to pierogi fillings, you can find varieties from sweet to salty to spicy. Interestingly, pierogi is usually eaten during special occasions or holidays, and there are different flavours for each.
There are several variations of the basic dumpling in India and one of the favourites is Kachori. It originates in the country’s northwest, and just like any Indian dish, it is heavily spiced. It is a flavourful ball of mung bean-based dal coated in flour which is then deep fried to golden pefection to serve as a snack.
Siew Mai (China)
This crowd favourite is actually pork dumplings which is a type of traditional Chinese dumpling served as dim sum. This dish bears the closest resemblance to the western version of juicy pork-and-shrimp meatballs that are wrapped in yellow skins and crowned with crab roe or a whole prawn. Several Asian countries have made their own versions, and wherever you go this is a big sell! Siew mai is tasty and filling despite its bite-sized portions.
Pitepalt is a meat-filled potato dumpling that originated from the Swedish city of Piteå. The dumpling is usually made from raw potatoes mixed with barley or wheat flour, then stuffed with minced meat. This dumpling is swimming in a savoury soup that is best sipped first before eating the ball of meat. It is also eaten with butter or lingonberry jam.
Does this satisfy your curiousity for something new? There are several dumplings in the world ready for you to discover and indulge in! But if you’re craving for traditional Chinese dumpling try Tak Po today, and give yourself the pleasure of good food!
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