11 Types of Dumplings From Around the World

by Ella

Dumplings, those delectable parcels of filling encased in various forms of dough, have captured the hearts and taste buds of people across cultures for centuries. From Asia to Europe, and everywhere in between, dumplings manifest in an astonishing array of shapes, flavors, and cooking methods. This culinary delight has transcended geographical boundaries, leaving an indelible mark on global cuisine. In this article, we embark on a gastronomic journey to explore the captivating world of dumplings, delving into their diverse types, origins, and cultural significance.

Asian Dumplings

Dumplings, those delightful parcels of flavor encased in a delicate embrace of dough, have a deep-rooted presence in Asian cuisine. These bite-sized masterpieces are more than just a meal; they are a testament to the cultural diversity, culinary artistry, and centuries-old traditions that define the Asian continent.


1. Chinese Dumplings (Jiaozi)

Chinese dumplings, known as “jiaozi,” are not only a culinary delight but also a symbol of prosperity and unity. Originating in China, jiaozi-making is a cherished activity, especially during festive occasions like the Lunar New Year. These crescent-shaped dumplings are made by folding a thin dough around a filling of minced meat, vegetables, and seasonings. The act of folding, sealing, and pleating the dough is a family affair that brings generations together, reflecting the essence of togetherness.


Jiaozi offer a symphony of textures and flavors. They can be boiled, steamed, or pan-fried, each method yielding a unique sensory experience. Boiled jiaozi have a tender, juicy interior, while steamed jiaozi maintain a delicate balance between the dough and filling. Pan-frying imparts a crispy, golden-brown exterior that complements the savory richness of the filling.



2. Japanese Dumplings (Gyoza)

Gyoza, the Japanese take on dumplings, exemplify the culinary fusion that often occurs as cuisines traverse geographical boundaries. These crescent-shaped wonders were introduced to Japan from China and have since been embraced with a unique Japanese twist. Gyoza are typically filled with a mixture of ground pork, cabbage, garlic chives, and seasonings. The filling’s harmonious blend of umami and fresh aromatics is what sets gyoza apart.


Japanese gyoza are characterized by their cooking method – pan-frying. This technique imparts a crispy bottom while keeping the top tender and juicy. Served alongside a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili oil, gyoza offer a delightful contrast of textures and flavors that make them an irresistible appetizer or main course.


3. Korean Dumplings (Mandu)

In Korean cuisine, dumplings known as “mandu” hold a special place. These versatile dumplings come in various forms, from steamed to boiled to pan-fried, each catering to different preferences and occasions. Mandu are filled with an assortment of ingredients, including minced meat, tofu, kimchi, and vegetables, showcasing the rich flavors that define Korean cooking.

Mandu-making is a cherished tradition that extends beyond the dining table. These dumplings symbolize unity and family bonds, often enjoyed during festive occasions like Seollal (Lunar New Year) and Chuseok (harvest festival). They serve as a reminder of the importance of shared meals and the warmth of familial connections.


4. Beyond Borders

While Chinese, Japanese, and Korean dumplings are some of the most well-known, Asia’s dumpling diversity stretches far beyond these iconic varieties. Across the continent, countries like Thailand, Vietnam, India, and Nepal boast their own unique dumpling creations.

In Thailand, “khanom jin” dumplings are made from rice flour and filled with various curries, sauces, and condiments, creating a harmonious balance of textures and flavors. Vietnamese cuisine features “bánh bao,” steamed buns filled with ingredients like pork, mushrooms, and eggs, encapsulating the country’s vibrant street food culture. India’s “momos” are a Himalayan delicacy, consisting of spiced meat or vegetable fillings encased in thin dough and often served with a tangy dipping sauce. Meanwhile, Nepalese “yomari” dumplings are sweet treats made from rice flour dough and filled with jaggery and sesame seeds, offering a delectable blend of textures and flavors.


European Dumplings

Dumplings, those delectable parcels of comfort, have woven their way into the heart of European cuisine, embodying the essence of tradition, diversity, and culinary innovation. From the hearty dumplings simmering in stews to the delicate creations gracing elegant plates, European dumplings showcase a rich tapestry of flavors and techniques.

5. Italian Dumplings (Gnocchi)

Gnocchi, the Italian interpretation of dumplings, are delicate potato-based morsels that have captured the hearts of food enthusiasts worldwide. These soft, pillowy dumplings are created by combining mashed potatoes, flour, and eggs, resulting in a dough that is transformed into bite-sized gems. Gnocchi’s versatility shines through the various shapes and textures they can take on, from the classic ridged form to the rustic hand-rolled versions.

Italian cuisine is known for its artful simplicity, and gnocchi are no exception. These dumplings serve as the canvas for a plethora of sauces, from the velvety richness of a gorgonzola cream to the bright simplicity of a tomato basil sauce. Their melt-in-your-mouth texture and ability to absorb the flavors of their accompanying sauce make gnocchi a truly indulgent experience.


6. Eastern European Dumplings (Pierogi)

Pierogi, the beloved dumplings of Eastern Europe, encapsulate the essence of comfort food. These crescent-shaped parcels of dough are often filled with a myriad of ingredients, ranging from potatoes and cheese to meats and fruits. The fillings reflect the ingredients readily available in the region’s agricultural landscapes, creating a tapestry of flavors that vary from country to country.

Pierogi are a culinary treasure trove, often passed down through generations as cherished family recipes. Boiled or sautéed, their tender dough and flavorful fillings create a satisfying contrast. Pierogi-making is a communal activity that fosters a sense of togetherness, reminding us of the importance of preserving traditions and connecting with our roots.


7. British Dumplings

In the realm of British cuisine, dumplings play a distinct role as cozy companions to hearty stews and soups. These simple yet satisfying dumplings are made from a combination of flour, suet (animal fat), and water, resulting in a dough that is a testament to resourcefulness. British dumplings are a lesson in culinary ingenuity, where the humble ingredients transform into fluffy, tender morsels as they simmer in the savory depths of the stew.

The cooking process of British dumplings, known as “dumpling on a stew,” creates a harmonious marriage of flavors. The dumplings soak up the flavors of the broth while imparting their own rich, comforting essence. The result is a marriage of textures and tastes that epitomizes the idea of “less is more.”


Middle Eastern Dumplings

8. Turkish Dumplings (Manti)

Turkish cuisine embraces the art of crafting “manti,” small, bite-sized dumplings that pack a punch of flavor. These little parcels are filled with spiced meat or vegetables and are often served with yogurt and a drizzle of buttery tomato sauce. The combination of savory filling, tangy yogurt, and rich sauce creates a harmonious symphony of taste that exemplifies the balanced nature of Middle Eastern cuisine.

Manti-making is an art that requires patience and precision. The dough is rolled out thin, and the filling is carefully folded into small pockets, creating a visually pleasing mosaic. The cooking process – boiling the manti to delicate perfection – transforms them into tender morsels that melt in your mouth. Manti is more than just food; it’s an experience that embodies Turkish culture’s dedication to flavor and presentation.


9. Arab Dumplings (Luqaimat)

In Arab countries, “luqaimat” take the form of deep-fried dumplings that bring sweetness to life’s celebratory moments. These delectable dumplings are made from a simple dough mixture, which is then deep-fried to a golden perfection. Once fried, they are generously coated in either sugar syrup or date syrup, creating a sticky and sweet glaze that encapsulates the essence of indulgence.

Luqaimat are a quintessential treat during festive occasions such as Eid and weddings. These dumplings not only satisfy the palate but also symbolize the joy and unity that accompanies special celebrations. As families and communities gather to enjoy luqaimat, they create memories that linger far beyond the last bite.


South American Dumplings

10. Latin American Dumplings (Empanadas)

Empanadas, the beloved turnovers of Latin America, are a testament to the continent’s fusion of flavors and cultures. These crescent-shaped delights are made from various types of dough, such as flour or cornmeal, and are filled with an array of ingredients. The fillings range from savory combinations of meats, cheeses, and vegetables to sweet preparations like fruit or chocolate, showcasing the culinary diversity that defines Latin American cuisine.

The art of making empanadas is a shared experience, often bringing families and communities together. The folding and sealing of the dough, the creation of intricate patterns, and the choice of fillings all embody the region’s cultural richness. Empanadas are more than just a meal; they are a celebration of Latin American heritage and the flavors that have been passed down through generations.


11. Brazilian Dumplings (Coxinha)

Brazilian cuisine boasts its own unique dumpling creation known as “coxinha.” These deep-fried dumplings are characterized by their distinctive teardrop shape, resembling a chicken drumstick. Coxinha is typically filled with shredded chicken and cream cheese, encased in a thin layer of dough that is shaped and fried to a crispy, golden brown.

Coxinha holds a special place in Brazilian culinary culture, often enjoyed as a snack or appetizer. The process of shaping each coxinha is an art in itself, requiring skilled hands to achieve the perfect teardrop form. These dumplings are a reflection of the fusion of flavors that define Brazilian cuisine, combining elements of indigenous, African, and European influences.


Cultural Significance

Dumplings extend beyond their culinary role, often carrying cultural and symbolic meanings that connect generations and communities.

1. Symbol of Togetherness

In many cultures, making and sharing dumplings is a communal activity, strengthening bonds between family members and friends. The act of folding and filling dumplings is a cherished tradition, often passed down through generations.

2. Festive Celebrations

Dumplings frequently take center stage during festivals and holidays. For instance, in China, the Lunar New Year is marked by jiaozi-making gatherings, where families come together to create and savor these symbolic parcels of luck and prosperity.

3. Culinary Heritage

Dumplings serve as custodians of culinary heritage, preserving age-old recipes and techniques. From the delicate folds of a Chinese jiaozi to the hearty fillings of a Polish pierogi, these creations tell stories of their respective cultures’ ingenuity and resourcefulness.

4. Regional Variation

The diversity of dumplings within a single culture can be astonishing. Chinese cuisine, for instance, boasts a plethora of dumpling types, each with its own history and regional influence. From the savory xiaolongbao with soup-filled centers to the sweet tangyuan in a ginger broth, the range is as extensive as it is tantalizing.

Crafting Dumplings

While the fillings and shapes of dumplings may vary, the process of creating them is a harmonious blend of art and science.

1. The Dough

Dough recipes can differ dramatically based on the type of dumpling being made. Chinese jiaozi dough, for instance, is traditionally made from a combination of flour and water, resulting in a tender yet sturdy casing. In contrast, Italian gnocchi dough incorporates potatoes and eggs, yielding a more delicate texture.

2. The Filling

Dumpling fillings are limited only by imagination and tradition. Meat, seafood, vegetables, and even fruits can be used to create an array of flavors. The balance of ingredients, seasoning, and moisture content is critical to achieving the desired taste and texture.

3. The Folding Techniques

Folding techniques determine not only the aesthetic appeal but also the functionality of the dumpling. The pleating of a Chinese jiaozi or the crimping of a British dumpling can influence how the dumpling holds its contents during cooking.

4. Cooking Methods

Boiling, steaming, pan-frying, and deep-frying are common cooking methods for dumplings. Each method imparts a distinct texture and flavor to the final product. Steaming, for example, retains the delicate flavors of the filling, while pan-frying adds a crispy contrast to the soft interior.


Dumplings are a testament to human creativity and the power of food to unite people across the globe. Each type of dumpling embodies the essence of its culture, offering a bite-sized insight into the traditions and history of its origin.

As we delve into the world of dumplings, we discover more than just a culinary delight. We uncover stories of migration, adaptation, and evolution that have shaped the diverse range of dumplings we enjoy today. From the comforting embrace of a Russian pelmeni to the bold flavors of a Mexican empanada, dumplings are an invitation to explore the richness of our shared culinary heritage. So, the next time you savor a dumpling, remember that you’re not just tasting food – you’re tasting history, culture, and the artistry of generations past and present.



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