Arguably the best food on this planet, dumplings are what makes the world go ’round. That, and dollar pizza, but let’s be real, you can’t guarantee a good slice outside of New York. I mean, sometimes..maaaybe, but I digress. Have you ever noticed how every culture seems to have its own version of a dumpling? You know, some sort of dough or bread-encrusted outside with some veggies, meat, cheese, or maybe a mix of all 3 on the inside? Dumplings are pure genius and it’s no wonder why everyone has gotten on the bandwagon with a version of their own.
Check out my list of the top 12 dumplings around the world, besides, of course, actual dumplings (potstickers), that I’ve tried on my travels. Let me know if you have any additions – I know I will because I am nowhere near done eating my way around this planet yet!
These Indian street snacks are often filled with potatoes, chickpeas, lentils and spices. Taking a trip to a Bollywood movie? If popcorn’s not your thing, you can even grab a few of these in the theater.
A staple around Latin America, these are typically baked (or fried) and can be filled with anything from the savory and popular beef or chicken to a sweeter flavor like dulce de leche.
A Tibetan delicacy, these dumplings come with a thicker, doughy outside and oftentimes are filled with pork or chicken. They come steamed or fried and go well with soy sauce or a spicy hot sauce.
Latvia (well, Russia once upon a time) got in on the dumpling action with small, minced meat filled dough pockets (pork, lamb or beef, usually). They’re a perfect sour cream companion.
5. Soup Dumplings
Or, in Chinese, Xiaolongbao – these are often served in stackable bamboo buckets. They come steamed, filled with pork and a brothy deliciousness. Be careful while you eat them, as they’re scorching hot and will spill if you don’t know what you’re doing 😉
Another dumpling relative, one of Italy’s finest pastas had to make the cut. Cheese is by far the most popular filling, but sometimes spinach or meat can be found inside. Just please don’t eat it with Ragu. That is a sheer embarrassment to all Italians everywhere (<3 an Italian-American)
What’s not to like about a stuffed potato? This Lithuanian treat usually has beef inside and is best served with sour cream. Ask for the mushroom sauce anywhere in Vilnius – you won’t regret it.
Japan’s take on the traditional dumpling is a great one for seafood lovers, as most times, you’ll find it filled with shrimp. Not to be confused with the Chinese Shumai of the same name, but I bet those are just as delicious.
9. Papa Rellenas
Aka fried balls of heaven. In Colombia, you can grab one as a snack from dozens of street vendors, or even for breakfast as the locals do. Potato on the outside, ground beef on the inside, goodness all around.
A staple to the Polish diet, pierogies are typically filled with mashed potatos, eaten with sour cream and sometimes covered in onions. Other versions have cheese or spinach, and dessert pierogies come with an assortment of fruity jams.
Cooked in a banana leaf, this Mexican dumpling relative’s main ingredient is a corn mix outside, called masa. Cooking them is time-consuming, so tamales are a special treat often reserved for holidays and family celebrations.
One of the best tapas Spain has to offer, these have a breadcrumbed outside and are usually stuffed with jamón (ham), pollo (chicken) or cod fish. Lots of cultures have their own variant on the traditionally French croquette, yet few are as popular as this one.
There’s also a Jewish dumpling cousin called kreplach (filled with mashed potatoes) and also a sweet-tooth’s dream dumpling in Hungary, svestkove knedily. Safe to say both of those are now on my foodie bucket list.
Comment below if you’ve tried a “dumpling” that I should totally try out!
Hope you’re hungry now.
Cover photo credit to Matt Armendariz