Around the World in 13 Dumplings

No matter where you are, nearly every culture has a filled dough delicacy

iStockphoto/ Thinkstock
Pelmeni are one of Russia's most popular foods.

Travel just about anywhere on Earth, and you’re likely to encounter a dumpling. For just about as long as humans have been eating, they’ve been dropping balls of dough into boiling water or stock, and they’ve been filling them with meat or vegetable mixtures for nearly as long as that.

Click Here for the Around the World in 13 Dumplings Slideshow

Over the years, creating a filled dumpling has become an art form. Just take a look at the soup dumpling, a dim sum favorite: a mixture of meat and gelatin-rich broth is chilled until it becomes a solid, then it’s wrapped up in thin dough and steamed until the mixture inside melts. When you bite into the dumpling, the rich soup spills out; a great soup dumpling is unlike just about any other bite of food you’ll ever have.

For much of the world, though, filled dumplings are somewhat more rudimentary, even though they still require a great deal of technique and time to properly prepare. Some, like tortellini or the Russian pelmeni, are twisted into shapes, and all filled dumplings need to be perfectly sealed, lest they break open during the cooking process. The dough needs to be the right thickness and the filling the right consistency, and they need to be boiled until perfectly cooked. Thankfully, cultures have had hundreds of years to perfect the process.

While Asia and Italy might have the best-known — and most varied — selection of indigenous dumplings, nearly everywhere else on Earth has theirs as well. In Norway alone, dumplings have dozens of different names, including potetball, klubb, kløbb, raspeball, komle, kumle, kompe, kumpe, kodla, kudle, klot, kams, ball, baill, komperdøse, kumperdøse, kompadøs, ruter, ruta, raskekako, risk, klotremat, krumme, and kromme!

Some places, like the United States, northern Europe, and South America, don’t have their own indigenous filled dumpling (the U.S. has boiled dough — think chicken and dumplings — and in South America fried or baked pockets like empanadas have cornered the market), but just about everywhere else you travel, you’re bound to encounter savory little pockets of filled dough, either eaten with soup, in tomato sauce, or drowned in sour cream and butter.

So travel with us as we journey around the world in 13 dumplings. 


Be a Part of the Conversation

Have something to say?
Add a comment (or see what others think).

Comments 0
3.666665
Ratings6


Like this story? Get updates by email, facebook and twitter
Get daily food and wine coverage


Latest from The Daily Meal

The Daily Meal Video Network
Strawberry Brie Grilled Cheese

Post a comment

Add a Comment

Upload a picture of yourself no larger than 3MB, please see Terms for details
CAPTCHA
Please answer this Captcha to prove you are human
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
CAPTCHA
Please answer this Captcha to prove you are human