Have you ever met a person who said they don’t like dumplings? What’s not to like about dumplings after all, right? They are flavoursome, perfectly bite sized, filling, customisable, and healthy! Every country has their own variety of this highly ubiquitous and easily available healthy dish. If we had to have only dumplings for the next 10 days, we would end up having these 10 variations from all over the world, each with different fillings, tastes, and even history! By Shubhanjana Das
1. Bánh bột lọc (Vietnam)
A popular street food snack from Vietnam, Bánh bột lọc is a pork and shrimp dumpling wrapped in translucent tapioca wrappers. They are served with a chilli dipping sauce, which is the perfect condiment for the tapioca wrappers that acquire a chewy texture after cooking. These can be found either steamed and wrapped in banana leaves or even boiled. Either way, it is one of the most distinctive tasting dumplings you will ever taste.
2. Kartoffelknödel (Germany)
Found throughout Germany, these potato dumplings are a national favourite for this meat-loving country. Serving as the perfect compliment to a hearty dish, Kartoffelknödel can be sweet, savoury, or even plain. Sauerkraut to bacon, nothing is off limits when it comes to a Kartoffelknödel.
3. Ravioli and Tortellini (Italy)
This classic Italian dish with a bulging centre and crimped edges is one of the most indulgent dumplings to exist. As hearty with meat as it is with cheese and/or vegetables, square raviolis are both — versatile and comforting. The stuffing can range from mushrooms to pumpkins and squash in vegetables, and prosciutto, turkey, Gorgonzola and Pecorino Romano for meats and cheese.
Tortellini is yet another Italian gift to dumpling lovers all over the world. It is a flour and egg dumpling traditionally filled with pork, ham, Mortadella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, nutmeg, and egg filling. In Italy’s Castelfranco Emilia, an annual festival is also held in the celebration of this dish.
4. Daifuku (Japan)
The Japanese Daifuku is a rice-flour wrapped sweet dumpling. Made from glutinous rice and filled with red bean paste, Daifuku is meant to be eaten as a dessert ball. A strawberry mocha flavour Daifuku is relatively new and is winning hearts. No wonder, then, these cute, sweet balls of happiness are given as gifts, as well.
5. Pitepalt (Sweden)
In Sweden, Pitepalt is a constant with locals and high-end restaurants. Hailing from Piteå in Sweden, these are potato dumplings filled with meat. The potato outer layer is often mixed with barley or wheat flour for extra texture. These beauts are often served with lingonberry jam and butter.
6. Bryndzové halušky (Slovakia)
The national dish of Slovakia, Bryndzové halušky has all the required characteristics to become one of the world’s favourite dumplings. These potato dumplings are served with a Slovakian sheep cheese variety called Bryndza and sprinkled generously with bacon and/or pork fat. Drooling yet?
7. Wonton (China)
There’s no way Chinese Wontons — a favourite among everyone who loves dumplings — can be exempted. They are filled with ground pork and cabbages, spiced with ginger and served in a chicken broth. China also has a Wonton noodle soup, an export of the Guangzhou region of China, which is served with generous amounts of Yuntun Mian or egg noodles. However, it’s easy to get creative with wontons. You’ll find fillings that range from crab and abalone to shrimp, and dried scallops. All delicious!
8. Švestkové knedlíky (Czech Republic)
The dough of a traditional Švestkové knedlíky comprises of egg, flour, butter, and milk. However, it is the filling which makes it one of the most interesting dumplings in the world. They can be filled with whole fruits like peaches, apricots, plums, and more. While one can get creative with how these are served, the traditional Švestkové knedlíky is boiled and served with a generous amount of butter. It is then sprinkled with sugar or sesame seeds and crumpled cheese.
9. Manti (Turkey)
Popular all around Central Asia, Manti is filling, heartening, and definitely a comfort food. Apart from Turkey, it is also eaten all over Central Asia including countries like Azerbaijan, north-western China, and Kazakhstan. Although it varies in different regions, ground meat, spices, and onions is usually used as filling. It is then served with garlic yogurt sauce and olive oil. BRB, we’re checking for restaurants that serve Manti!
10. Momo (India, Tibet, Nepal)
The beloved momo — a staple in the diet of Tibetans, Nepalis, and Indians. Served as street side food as well as Michelin star restaurants, momos signify tasty, spicy, healthy comfort food. It is a flour wrap filled with veggies, meat, and sometimes even chocolate! They are served either steamed, pan fried, or deep fried. In Nepal, ox meat is a popular filling while in Tibet, yak meat is used widely. It is served with a vegetable or chicken broth and a spicy chilli-garlic chutney.