CNN’s Pauline Chiou looks at Taiwan’s Din Tai Fung, a family-run restaurant that’s turned into a global dumpling icon.
Here are no fewer than 35 of our favorites around the world to get your taste buds flowing.
Xiaolongbao dumplings contain aspic, and are pinched, instead of folded.
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Served steamed in bamboo baskets, xiaolongbao look different from other types of Chinese dumplings, as the skin is gathered and pinched at the top instead of folded in half.
Xiaolongbao are also unique in that aside from the traditional pork filling, a small piece of aspic is folded into the dumpling, which melts when steamed.
Thanks to the broth, the filling stays moist and flavorful.
Ravioli: Far from a predictable pocket.
Italy is, of course, the global home of filled pasta, and ravioli is one of its most famous offerings — so famous that it has been exported across the world.
Ravioli — as well as other Italian filled pastas — can be packed with anything from meat to cheese to vegetables, or any combination thereof.
Sichuan spicy wonton
The chao shou is boiled and the very best specimens are so slippery they’re nearly impossible to pick up with chopsticks.
The combination of savory meat, smooth wonton skin and tongue-numbing sauce, makes for the most pleasant runny nose you’ve ever had.
Central Asia’s take on East Asian dumplings.
Adopted by Turks who traveled across Central Asia during the Mongol Empire, these dumplings can be filled with lamb, beef, quail or chicken — or be left unfilled.
Turkish manti are served with yogurt and spiced with red pepper and melted butter.
Siomay is closely related to the Cantonese dim sum snack, shumai.
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A steamed fish dumpling served with vegetables and peanut sauce, think of siomay as the Indonesian street food equivalent of shumai, traditionally found in Cantonese dim sum restaurants.
A dumpling worth fighting for.
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Ready to polish off a pile of these?
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These dumplings can be stuffed with potato, minced meat, cheese, fruit or sauerkraut. They’re usually boiled, then pan-fried in butter with onions.
This finishing flourish is the selling point of the dish, adding another layer of flavor.
Modak is a sweet treat best savored at home.
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Modak is a sweet from Maharashtra, offered to Lord Ganesha during Ganesh Chathurthi, the festival dedicated to him every year between August and September.
The teardrop-shaped dumpling is kneaded from rice flour and stuffed with coconut and jaggery — an unrefined whole cane sugar.
These Azerbaijani dumplings are filled with lamb or beef, and usually served in broth.
Rather like the most fiddly of Italian pasta dumplings, they’re folded by hand, a process made more difficult by their small size. Vinegar and garlic sauce tops it off with an extra kick.
The Bavarian variant combines both raw and cooked potato, stuffed with a crouton or bread filling.
This is a popular street food in Brazil: effectively chicken dumplings, made from fried dough with shredded chicken in the middle.
They’re shaped in the form of a teardrop, supposedly to resemble a chicken thigh — the dish was originally made from thigh meat. Some add potato to the dough before frying, for an extra carby oomph.
Pelmeni are anything but sweet.
Similar to Chinese jiaozi, Turkish manti and eastern European pierogi, pelmeni are distinguished by the thickness of the dumpling skin.
Pelmeni may be stuffed with anything from meat to mushrooms to cheese, but never with anything sweet.
Don’t listen to the haters. Dim sim is a worthy dumpling.
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Some dumpling purists say that the Australian dim sim is merely a bastardized version of Chinese dumplings.
But we say, if a dumpling has fans standing in line, it’s a worthy dumpling.
Dim sim is a combination of meat or fish mixed with cabbage and enclosed in a wrapper. It may be steamed, deep-fried or barbecued, and is usually much larger than a Chinese dumpling.
The word “brik” is thought to derive from Turkish, but this is a thoroughly Tunisian dumpling, a deep-fried triangle of deliciousness, often with an egg popped inside for extra gooey flavor. It can be filled with tuna, harissa and parsley, or anything from capers to cheese and meat.
Banh bot loc
You can have your banh bot loc both ways.
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When cooked, tapioca flour becomes clear, giving the dumpling its appearance and the wrapper its chewy texture.
There are two major variants: wrapped in banana leaves and steamed, or boiled.
If you’ve ever been to Argentina (or neighboring Latin American countries) you’ll almost certainly have eaten an empanada: pastry stuffed with meat, fish or other fillings, then baked or fried.
In Argentina, the traditional fillings depend on where you are — olives are often worked into the filling in Mendoza, for example. Usually, though, you’ll have a choice of meat — chicken and beef are classics.
Tangyuan is a favorite treat during the traditional Lantern Festival.
Tangyuan is a Chinese dessert — sticky balls made from glutinous rice flour containing a sweet filling, such as ground peanuts or black sesame paste, and served in a bowl of sweet soup or rolled in ground peanuts.
Some tangyuan are served as smaller, unfilled rice balls in a soup made from cane sugar.
Chicken and dumplings
Chicken soup is a dish found all over the world, but the addition of dumplings gives the soup an extra something.
American dumplings are usually a mix of flour, vegetable shortening and milk — in this case, dropped directly into the chicken broth. The broth may be a clear chicken soup, or thickened with flour or cream.
Kimchi wrapped up in a dumpling? Yes, please.
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When winter nights are closing in and the temperatures are dropping, what could be better than a golf ball-sized dumpling made from bread, stuffed with things like speck (a type of cured ham), cheese and onion, washed down with a tanker of beer?
Italians flock to Alto Adige, the autonomous region in the north of the country, which was part of Austrian Tyrol until being annexed to Italy under Fascism, for these traditional Tyrolean dumplings. Eat them in broth, or order a plateful (some restaurants do canederli “flights” of different fillings). Just be warned — these are huge, and you’ll likely find your eyes are far bigger than your stomach.
A translucent wrapper made from rice flour, corn starch and sweet potato starch holds a stuffing of pork, bamboo shoots and mushrooms. Bawan is served with a sweet and savory sauce.
The dumplings are steamed, then deep-fried to keep the wrapper from drying out.
Endless filling possibilities.
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Uszka are similar to Polish pierogi — the word “uszka” means “little ears” in Polish. They’re
usually filled with minced meat and mushrooms and put in borscht soup.
Gyoza are a kin to Chinese pot stickers.
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Frozen gyoza are found in most grocery stores all over the world, but the best restaurants for gyoza always turn out to be holes-in-the-wall outside of Tokyo subway stations.
For the love of fried cheese.
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Found on Chinese takeout menus in the United States, crab rangoon are deep-fried dumplings served as a side dish.
They’re stuffed with cream cheese and imitation crab meat made from a fish-based paste.
It may not be an authentic Chinese dish, but love of fried cheese crosses cultures.
Teochew fun gor
Not your typical pork-filled dumpling, the Teochew fun gor is usually packed with peanuts, chives, dried shrimp, pork, radish, mushrooms and cilantro.
The wrapper is made of a combination of wheat flour, tapioca flour, corn starch and potato starch, giving the fun gor its translucent appearance.
Samosas are a tasty triangular treat.
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Usually triangular in shape, samosas are a deep-fried snack popular in south and southeast Asia.
They may be filled with a variety of stuffings, including potato, onions, peas, lentils and ground lamb.
A dumpling of one’s one.
Khinkali are usually served with coarse ground black pepper.
Gnocchi, a dumpling heavyweight.
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Gnocchi are prepared like other pasta dishes, and may be served in tomato-based sauces, pesto sauces or with any other sauce you might find on pasta.
The perfect gift.
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They are a type of mochi (glutinous rice cakes), only they’re stuffed — usually with sticky-sweet red azuki.
Amish apple dumpling
Travel to Amish Pennsylvania and you’ll come across delicious apple dumplings.
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A peeled and cored apple is stuffed with cinnamon and sugar, then wrapped in a piece of dough and baked until the apple becomes tender. The pairing of the apple dumpling, fresh from the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top makes for a divine dessert.
Ravioli del plin
Every region of Italy produces its own filled pasta, of course, but these, from southern Piedmont, are particularly prized. Much smaller than regular ravioli — they’re barely bigger than Bolognese tortellini — they’re filled with either a meat mix (which often includes rabbit) and served with a glaze of meaty sauce, or contain a vegetable mix, often cabbage with rice.
As well as being small in size, the pasta is also rolled super thin, so the dumplings seem to melt in the mouth. “Plin” isn’t the place where they came from; the word derives from a local dialect word for “pinch,” as the pockets are pinched together by hand.
This is the ultimate Lebanese comfort food: lamb dumplings, similar to manti, and served drenched in yoghurt — usually goat, rather than cow, to give the flavor a bit more bang.
The lamb is mixed with pine nuts and spices before being wrapped in the dough, and slow-cooked in the yohurt with water. It’s labor-intensive — requiring constant stirring, to keep the consistency.
These vegetarian dumplings hail from Afghanistan, and are also similar to manti. Recipes vary, but the stalwart is some kind of green vegetable inside — which can be chives, scallions, or celery, as they make it in Venice’s refugee-run Orient Experience restaurant.
Ashak are normally topped with a stewy lentil kind of sauce, and yogurt.
The world’s tastiest dumplings