Xiaolongbao (China and Taiwan)
A Shanghai classic dish - these soup dumplings should be your first meal in Shanghai. In addition, it can also be found at many restaurants in Taiwan and the most famous xiaolongbao restaurant is Din Tai Fung. Delicate thin-skinned dumplings, with pork or vegetable or shrimp or crab fillings inside with a delicious hot broth, each is an explosion of flavor in the mouth. Careful as these are served piping hot in those cute bamboo baskets so give each dumpling a few moments in the soy sauce and vinegar baths before plonking into your mouth.
Gyoza are dumplings filled with ground meat and vegetables and wrapped in a thin dough. Also known as pot stickers, gyoza originated in China (where they are called jiaozi), but have become a very popular dish in Japan. The typical gyoza filling consists of ground pork, nira chives, green onion, cabbage, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil, but some creative gyoza shops have also come up with a range of other fillings.
Momo (Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and India)
Throughout the Himalayas–from Nepal, India and Tibet to Bhutan– these steamed buns are eaten as treats. They may be stuffed with almost anything, but the typical fillings are minced pork or beef, cabbage, or fresh cheese mixed with spices such as garlic, ginger and coriander. The half-moon-shaped Momo can be either steamed or fried and served with chili sauce.
Buuz is a type of Mongolian steamed dumpling filled with meat. An example of authentic Mongolian and Buryatian cuisine, the dish is traditionally eaten at home on Tsagaan Sar, the Mongolian New Year. Buuz is the Mongolian version of the steamed dumpling which is found throughout the region.
Mandu (South Korea)
When creating Mandu, the Koreans use different cooking techniques, including boiling, steaming and frying. Mulmandu are boiled dumplings, jjinmandu are steamed, and gun mandu are fried. Fillings are pork, beef, seafood or Korea’s iconic kimchi. Mandu are popular during celebrations and families consequently spend quality time together creating them to share. In additional they are great winter warmers for cold days. Mandu date back to the Goryeo Dynasty when a group of Chinese Uighurs arrived and opened up dumpling shops, but there are a number of variations to this tale.
The wonton is a Chinese specialty that involves wheat flour dough wrapped around a variety of savory fillings. Wontons are traditionally molded by hand into various shapes including round parcels and triangular envelopes. Fillings differ from region to region, ranging from shrimp and minced pork to chicken and vegetables. Wontons are usually boiled and dished into soup, or deep-fried and served with a selection of dipping sauces.
Dimsum are usually served in a small bowl or basket. They vary from rice to noodles, dumplings, or buns. If there’s one type of cuisine in Hong Kong that you’ll likely want to eat, again and again, it’s dim sum. Usually served for breakfast or lunch, the difficult part is choosing where to go amid the dizzying number of options. Hong Kong dim sum sessions were about tea appreciation - that's why dim sum meals are commonly known in Cantonese as yum cha.
When it comes to Indian dumplings, there’s one clear winner in terms of global popularity - the savory samosa. However, for those with a sweet tooth, the lesser-known modak is a worthy alternative. Crafted with soft rice or wheat flour shell, modaks are filled with shredded coconut and jaggery (or unrefined cane sugar). They can be fried or steamed and served with hot ghee, and are traditionally made as an offering to the Hindu deity Ganesha.