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What Are Dumplings? Everything to Know


Philippe Chow Dumplings Vegetable
Philippe Chow | Vegetable Dumplings

Anyway you dunk them, dumplings are one of our go-to favorites. There’s nothing more enjoyable than a leisurely dim sum feast with bamboo steamer baskets filled with xiaolongbao. Or how about a meal that begins with a plate of steamed veggie dumplings or an appetizer of seared pork gyoza? Yes, please!

The Chinese have eaten dumplings at least since the Song Dynasty (960-1279). They are made and eaten year-round, but particularly during Chinese New Year because their shape resembles ancient Chinese ingots, which symbolize wealth. 

On New Year’s Eve, families gather around to wrap dumplings. At the stroke of midnight, everyone eats them.

Read More: Best Lunar New Year Foods to Eat

What Are Dumplings?

Dumplings are bite-size pieces of dough stuffed with minced or mashed meat or veggies. They may be cooked several ways including boiled, fried, seared and steamed.

Many cultures have their own versions, but Chinese dumplings are some of the most well known. Dumplings are commonly eaten at dim sum. Dim sum is a form of brunch that originated in tea shops in Guangdong, China, during the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368).

Other types of dumplings include:

  • Gnocchi: Italian potato dumplings made with wheat flour
  • Pierogi: Eastern European dumplings made of unleavened dough stuffed with savory or sweet fillings

Read More: What Is a Pierogi?

What Are Dumplings Made of?

Dumplings are made of a dough wrapper and meat, seafood, or vegetable filling. Usually, the wrappers are translucent, but sometimes the wrappers are other colors like green or orange. 

They come in many shapes and sizes and may be stuffed with a variety of savory or sweet fillings like:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Crab
  • Kimchi
  • Lamb
  • Peanuts
  • Pork
  • Pork and chives
  • Pork and leeks
  • Red bean
  • Sesame
  • Shrimp
  • Shrimp and pork
  • Sweet potato
  • Tofu
  • Veggies with scrambled egg
Nom Wah Dumpling Best Seller
Nom Wah | Dumpling Best Seller
Chef Ming Tsai Potsticker Sampler
Chef Ming Tsai | Potsticker Sampler

These beautiful dough-filled packets are dipped in soy sauce and vinegar, or sesame oil. Sometimes, slivers of ginger are served with a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar.

Types of dumplings include:

  • Guotie: Also known as potstickers, these are boiled and then seared on the bottom
  • Jiaozi: Moon or crescent-shaped, these are boiled and filled with stuffing, Jiaozi wrappers are thicker than wontons.
  • Wonton: Triangular-shaped or beggar’s purse-shaped, these are filled with meat. Wontons are boiled and served in soup, with soup, or fried.

Fried Vs Steamed Dumplings

Fried dumplings are boiled and then their bottoms are seared to a golden brown. They are juicy with a nice crunch. Some restaurants also deep fry them. Examples of fried dumplings include gyoza and potstickers. 

Steamed dumplings are placed in a covered bamboo basket that is placed over boiling water. These are soft and have a delicate mouthfeel. An example of these are xiaolongbao (soup dumplings).

What Are Soup Dumplings?

Soup dumplings or xiaolongbao are actually a form of baozi (steamed bun). They are from Shanghai and are steamed in bamboo baskets. 

Xiaolongbao are filled with minced meat like pork or crab and a soup made of meat gelatin. The gelatin melts and turns into soup when they are steamed.

Other varieties of steamed buns include:

  • Dou sha bao: Sweet buns filled with red bean paste
  • Sheng jian bao: Meat- and soup-filled buns made with semi-leavened dough. They are fried and usually topped with chopped green onion and sesame.

Read More: Pho vs Ramen: The Difference Between These Soups

Most Iconic Dumplings

From plump xiaolongbao to crispy potstickers to juicy jiaozi, the most iconic dumplings are shipping nationwide on Goldbelly!

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings Best Seller

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings

One dip of Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings in her Secret Sauce and you’re bound to be in love with these handmade Taiwanese-style dumplings. Hannah and Marian Cheng learned all about making these delightful morsels from their mother, Mimi, and now they are shipping them straight to you.

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings Best Seller includes:

  • Heritage pasture-raised Pork & Chive
  • Mighty Veggie Dumplings made with local and organic vegetables
  • Organic Chicken & Zucchini
Dumpling Monster Chicken and Chive Dumplings

Dumpling Monster

You’ll definitely want to “Eat more dumplings” when you try Perry Cheung’s Dumpling Monster delights. Whether you eat them pan-fried, steamed, or submerged in soup, these dumplings from Hollywood, California, will be the stars of any meal. 

The skins are made in house and each dumpling and wonton is stuffed with hormone-free meat. All orders come with chili-soy dipping sauce.

Philippe Chow Choose Your Own 24 Pack

Philippe Chow’s Dumplings

Since opening in NYC in 2004, Philippe Chow has been a wrap star. Executive Chef Philippe Chow and his team hand make their dumplings and serve them with sauce and branded chopsticks.  You’ll want to try every flavor and, with the Choose Your Own Dumplings Pack you can.

Read More: What is Ramen, Exactly?

Hey, dumpling! You’re a-bao to go crazy for America’s best dumplings — shipping nationwide on Goldbelly!