Dumplings Make the World Go ‘Round

Tortellini, ravioli, bao, empanadas, kreplach, pierogi are stuffed packages containing wonderful worldly cuisines that translates to “dumpling.” These dumplings are just a few of the many that consumers balance on forks, spoons and chop sticks. If we are to believe Google Trends (and let’s face it, why wouldn’t we?), American consumers love dumplings. The interest in dumplings  have increased 22% since 2012, especially during the winter months.1 And dumplings, like Crab Rangoon, were predicted to top the trends for 2017.2 It’s no wonder given this Chinese-American dish is a guilty pleasure with its cream cheese filling and deep-fried exterior.

There are various categories of dumplings: steamed, pan-fried, deep-fried, boiled, sticky, sweet, purse, filled and more. Many are served in broth, some in sauce, and others are meant to be hand-held and dipped. The filling for dumplings can be meats, cheese, vegetables, fish, or fruit; the combinations are culturally traditional, yet with endless possibilities. Here are a few we’d like to get our hands on and check out our dumpling glossary from across the globe.

  • Xiao long bao – Sometimes called the XLB and traditionally filled with crabmeat and roe, these dumplings prompt unusual styles of eating: one for the most patient and the other for the not. Popping the whole dumpling into one’s mouth satisfies the impulsive diner while piercing a hole in the top and slurping the contents pleases the more patient consumer.
  • Guan tang bao – The “Capri Sun” dumpling that requires a straw in the center to slurp out the broth inside first before eating the thick, chewy exterior.3 Guan tang bao is the bigger, stronger brother of XLB.
  • Momo – Found in Tiber and Nepal and usually reserved for New Year’s or celebrations, momo are round, steamed over a soup and filled with meat like yak or beef.
  • Quig Tuan – Bright green and a favorite on dim sum carts, qing tuan dates back 2000 years to the Zhou Dynasty. The color was perfect for smuggling them across the grass to get nourishment to a hidden general of the Taiping Rebellion.
  • Jian Dui – A Chinese bakery favorite, Jian Dui are glutinous rice balls surrounding a center of lotus seed or red bean rolled in sesame seeds. Sweet!

 Dumpling Primer

      Savory Dumplings

  • Columbia – Carimanolas – a meat pie in a yucca dough wrapper and deep fried
  • Cuba – Papas Rellenas – stuffed mashed potato balls filled with picadillo
  • England – Pasties – pockets of thick dough filled with meat, ginger and peas
  • Greece – Tyropitakia – phyllo dough triangles filled with feta and dill
  • India – Samosas – like an empanada but filled with potatoes, cumin and eggplant
  • Japan – Gyoza – a smaller pot sticker with thinner skin and a pork, garlic filling
  • Jewish – Kreplach – typically filled with sweet onion, dill and served in fatty broth encased in wheat egg dough. Also try potato, spinach or meat-filled knish
  • Russia – Pelmeni – a wheat based dumpling filled with a spicy mincemeat of beef, pork or mutton
  • Thailand – Sticky Rice Dumpling – cooked in banana leaves or parchment paper flavored with lemongrass, garlic, ginger and meats and steamed
  • Trinidad – Pastelles -like a tamale filled w/pork, raisins, olives and sweet corn dough
  • Turkey – Manti (or Mantu) found in Armenia and Kazakhstan filled with spiced lamb, and topped with either a tomato-based or yogurt sauce accented with chili oil and Middle Eastern spices

      Sweet Dumplings

  • America – Apple Dumplings – pie dough stuffed with apples, cinnamon and sugar
  • Austria / Germany – Apricot Dumplings – a whole apricot surrounded by a farmer’s cheese laden dough
  • India – Gujia -A crescent shaped sweet dumpling filled with coconut or a South Asian dairy product called khoya
  • Danish – Ebelskivers – a fruit filled donut ball prepared in a special stove top pan with round reservoirs for the sweet dough. The donuts are filled then flipped with sticks enclosing the filling.

Dumpling Mashups

  • Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings(NYC) – burger dumplings showcasing dry aged beef, Grafton cheddar, pretzel pieces and caramelized onions is something that can’t be missed
  • Orsa and Winston (L.A.) – is exploring the idea of pizza in a dumpling filled with burrata and tomatoes in its elevated eatery

Check out more of the best dumplings in the U.S and for development inspiration, give our Sriracha Aioli a try as the perfect sidekick to your next dumpling.



  1. https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?cat=71&date=today%205-y&geo=US&q=dumplings
  2. https://www.eater.com/2017/1/6/14182230/food-trends-2017-restaurants-dining
  3. http://luckypeach.com/guides/the-guide-to-chinese-dumplings/