The Not-So Starving Student

Around the World in Eight Dumplings

Regardless of where you hail from, there’s bound to be a stuffed-pocket type of food item on the menu. In the simplest terms dumplings are dough wrapped around a delicious filling. While the first images of dumplings that come to mind might be Asian, dumpling dishes exist around the world in all shapes, flavors and forms. Bet you didn’t think ravioli was one of them! Here are eight dumplings you haven’t heard about, but need to try.

  • Mongolian Khuushuur: Mongolians are experts when it comes to cooking mutton with a mix of mouth-watering seasoning. When mutton is ground and mixed with onions into a half-moon shaped pocket and then deep fried until golden you have something called Khuushuur. The Khuushuur is a common street side cuisine and eaten by hand.
  • Chinese Har Gau: For dim sum (or Chinese brunch) experts, you might be familiar with these translucent buns packed with shrimp sitting in little steamer baskets. Har Gau or “shrimp dumplings” hail from the Guangdong province in China and makes a delicious seafood brunch item.
  • Turkish Manti: With the unique geographic location of Turkey situated between Asia and Europe, its cuisines inevitably combines the best of Asian and European gustatory sensations. Manti surprises us with delicious southern dumplings loaded with ground meat, but also with a splash of olive oil, dried mint and yoghurt—ingredients that begin to resemble middle eastern cuisine.
  • Eastern European Kreplach: Feasting on the Kreplach is a Jewish tradition on Rosh Hashanah, the day before Yom Kippur. These dumplings are either filled with mashed potatoes or ground meat and served in a soup such as chicken noodle soup.
  • English Pasties: Unlike the other soup-based or steamed dumpling dishes, this one is fully baked to perfection. The pasty is traditionally filled with steak and vegetables and encased in a harder-than-usual crust that does not crack during baking. 
  • Indian Modak: While most dumpling dishes are considered meal staples for many countries, this type of quirky-looking dumpling is packed with coconut and sugar-cane. The perfect dessert for Western Indians consist of this item which can either be fried or steamed.
  • Tibetan Momos: While believed to have originated in Tibet, surrounding geographic communities including Nepal, areas of India and Bhutan have taken an interest in this dish as well. This exotic looking dumpling can be filled with meat, cheese, veggies and Khoa: milk-like solids mixed with sugar. Momo is typically served with chutney, typically with tomatoes as the main ingredient.
  • German Maultaschen: Literally translated to “mouth bags”, this German dish is packed with spinach, meat, onions and veggies. Rumor has it that monks developed this dish for sustenance during their fasting periods. The monks hid the meat in the dough so that God could not see the protein they consumed.