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Around the world in 8 dumplings

Around the world in 8 dumplings

From Turkish manti to Russian pelmini, Musement takes a look at 8 delicious dumplings from around the world.

Dumplings mean many things to many people. To some, they’re part of the Chinese dim sum experience to others, they might be starchy balls that accompany a hearty goulash.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a dumpling is “a small savory ball of dough (usually made with suet) which may be boiled, fried, or baked in a casserole.” Needless to say, you can find various versions around the world, many of which are quintessential to each country’s respective cuisine. Here are eight dumplings you should keep an eye out for on your travels or dining adventures.

1. Xiaolongbao

Also known as soup dumplings, Xiaolongbao, typical of Shanghai, are characterized by an injection of broth which keeps the meat filling moist and tender. They’re usually served in a soup spoon to catch any potential spillage. The key to eating them is to bite off the top to let the broth cool, and slowly slurp it out before consuming the dumpling whole. Or, you can poke a hole in it to let the broth seep out into the spoon and enjoy it as such.

2. Pierogi

A signature dish of Poland, pierogi are traditionally stuffed with mashed potatoes, though you can often find options with other fillings, such as sauerkraut, meat, and vegetables. They’re usually boiled then pan-fried and are often topped with crispy onions and accompanied by sour cream. Nearby Eastern European countries offer their versions.

3. Momos

Native to Northern India, Nepal, and Tibet, momos are incredibly popular and can be found anywhere from simple street food joints to proper restaurants. These steamed or pan-fried dumplings are filled with beef or chicken and vegetables as well as local spices. They’re usually accompanied by a dipping sauce.

4. Pelmini

Originating in Siberia, pelmini have become a staple of Russian cuisine. These dumplings are usually stuffed with meat or fish that have been mixed with a simple flavoring that includes onions, salt, and pepper. They tend to have a thick wrapper and are boiled before being served. They may be topped with sour cream and/or onions, or served in a bowl of broth, and are almost always topped with dill.

5. Knodel

These large, round yeast-free dumplings are usually made from potatoes or bread, and they can be found all around Austria. You might find them in soup, alongside a hearty meat dish, or a stuffed with jam or another sweet treat as a dessert.

6. Gyoza

These stuffed darlings are one of the most popular Japanese starters. They tend to be filled with either minced pork or vegetables and encased in a thin wrapper. They’re generally cooked in a pan on one side, which adds a pleasant crunch to each bite.

7. Gnocchi

These little nuggets are one of Italy’s signatures. Potato is the most well-known, often served with tomato sauce or pesto, but other variations, shapes, and fillings abound. Italians make gnocchi from squash, beets, spinach, and more. Gnocchi alla romana, made from semolina flour, are larger and typically served with butter and Parmigiano.

8. Manti

These little delights hail from Turkey, though they’re enjoyed all around Central Asia. They’re usually filled with beef or lamb, pepper, and other spices then boiled and topped with a silky yogurt sauce that’s complete with a sprinkling of red chili powder.

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