Dumpling culture is quite incredible once the realization hits that nearly every cuisine i the world has its own version of the dish. Even more, nearly every country has its own take on these tiny pouches of goodness, each with a traditional twist on both the filling and the cooking method. We might not even realize what’s considered to fall under the category of a ‘dumpling,’ either – many people would be surprised to know that Italy’s beloved ravioli, as well as Poland’s delicious pierogis, could both be considered dumplings, despite the fact that one is pasta and the other is served as part of a main dish.
There’s no better way to go around the world than by experiencing each region’s most popular dumpling dishes. When it comes to everyone’s favorite comfort food, these countries have perfect the art of filling and folding.
US: Apple Dumplings
Apple dumplings are traditional in Amish country, where small pockets of dough are filled with a cooked apple filling before being fried. They can also be made by cooking uncooked apples in dough until they’re perfectly-golden brown, using sugar and cinnamon as the only spices used to flavor the dumplings.
Vietnam: Bahn Bot Loc
The first thing many people notice about this dish is its unusual translucent wrapper, which is usually filled with a pork and shrimp filling. When the dumpling is cooked, the texture becomes chewy due to the tapioca wrapper, which also accounts for its translucent appearance. These dumplings are usually served alongside a sweet chili dipping sauce for a bit of heat and balance.
Otherwise known as potstickers, these have become a favorite for many people, not just those who live in China. However, in China, jiaozi are commonly prepared for the Chinese New Year and are made simply with a flour wrapper and a filling of pork, cabbage, and chives. The name refers to the manner in which they’re cooked; these dumplings ‘stick’ to the bottom of the pan as they cook until water is added, and the steam is what releases them when they’re fully cooked.
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Sweden’s pitepalt dumplings are made with an exterior wrapping of potato and are filled with meat, which is usually pork, bacon, or mince. Lingonberry jam, which is a very traditional jam in Sweden (those who are familiar with Ikea are likely to know this very well), is also served alongside them.
Czech: Svestkove Knedily
via The Daily Meal
These unique dumplings are boiled as opposed to being fried or steamed and contain whole pieces of fruit. Anything from peaches to apricots and even plums are used to fill the dumplings, which are cooked and topped with sugar, poppy seeds, or cheese, but not before being soaked copiously in melted butter.
Italy And Spain: Mpanatigghi
Although mpanatigghi originated in Spain, they’re commonly found in Sicily, Italy. These are easily recognizable due to their half-moon shape and are often compared to empanadas, especially due to the fact that mince is the main ingredient inside of them. However, the mince is also mixed with chocolate, sugar, lemon peel, almonds, egg, vanilla, and cinnamon – and you’d never even know the meat was an ingredient.
Brazil: Bolinhas de Carne
Bolinhas de Carne can be filled with anything, such as chicken, beef, or pork. The filling is cooked with a mixture of onions, salt, and garlic, and when it’s completely cooked, they’re fried in a simple dough until they’ve achieved the perfect golden-brown color. These are delicious as snacks and are commonly found throughout the country.
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Gyoza is popular in Japan as a small dumpling and can be filled with pork or vegetables, although these dumplings originated in China. In addition to pork and/or vegetables, the filling gets a generous helping of green onions, chives, garlic, cabbage, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil. They can be pan-fried, steamed, or boiled, although the cooking method of choice is pan-fried, which allows them to take on a golden-brown color and a slightly crispy bottom.
Poland’s pierogis are traditionally eaten with crispy bacon and caramelized onions sprinkled across the top and occasionally a scoop of sour cream on the side. They’re so popular that they’re actually the national food of both Ukraine and Poland, although many variations of the dish exist. Commonly seen are the potato-filled pierogis but in Poland and Ukraine, these dumplings are filled with meat, sauerkraut, cheese, or potato. Before serving, they’re fried to give them both color and flavor.
Momo dumplings are slightly larger than most and are filled with vegetables and meat. Traditionally, they’re served in a meaty broth or a hot sauce, or plated with a hot dipping sauce on the side. They can be steamed, boiled, or fried, and are common throughout Tibet and Nepal.
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About The Author
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Originally from New York, Katie is used to a fast-paced lifestyle. She got her personal start with writing in the second grade, and carried that passion with her until she won a spot in her high school’s published poetry book – but not before becoming the News Editor and columnist for the high school newspaper.
In college, she majored in English Literature with an emphasis in Political Science, soaking up most creativity and method from one of the last professors to study under famed beat poet Allen Ginsberg. The more she wrote, the more she learned about the world and, more importantly, herself.
She has been writing professionally and has been published since the age of 19, and for nearly a decade has covered topics in entertainment, lifestyle, music news, video game reviews, food culture, and now has the privilege of writing and editing for TheTravel.
Katie has a firm belief that every word penned is a journey into yourself and your own thoughts, and through understanding this, people can begin to understand each other. Through her voice, she brings personality, research, and a bit of friendly sarcasm to every piece she writes and edits.
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