Throughout Asia, few delicacies are more celebrated than dumplings, an edible staple in most Eastern countries. Of all the Asian cuisine, Chinese has the most diverse range of dumplings and has definitely inspired most of its neighbours' dumpling recipes. Still, with so many dumpling variations it can be difficult to tell them apart or really understand if there's a difference at all. So, we thought we'd cover four of the world's most popular dumpling dishes from the bao is served alongside your chicken rice to the wontons that often accompany your Thai soup, so you have a better idea of what you're eating - or even to save you from missing out!
1. Chinese Bao
Baozi, often shortened to bao, is a Chinese dumpling made from bread-like dough and packed full of various fillings including meat and vegetables. The dumpling is usually steamed and served with soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh coriander, leeks and other flavourings. Bao often go by different names or are served differently depending upon where in China they are made, though all baozi are inspired by the traditional mantou dumpling invented as early as 960 AD. To this day, bao is usually served in many different variants by Chinese restaurants. For instance, BAO BOI offer Market Fish, Blade Beef, Sticky Pork and even Black Pudding Bao to ensure their customers have plenty to choose from.
2. Japanese Gyoza
Meanwhile in Japan, dumplings are most commonly known as gyoza. They are very similar to Chinese bao, however, the skin holding the fillings is far thinner and has a much crispier texture. Gyoza also tend to have a lot more garlic in the recipe and are served with a variety of sauces such as ponzu, a citrus sauce alternative to soy sauce. They are often served as a starter, which is the case at restaurants such as Eatokyo, where there are several gyoza options available from Ebi to Yasai. All are served with specially made gyoza sauce and really are as tasty as they sound.
3. Thai Wontons
Like most dumplings, wontons originated in China yet are now available in many Thai restaurants, which have adopted wontons and made them their own, often serving then with seafood and water chestnuts. This is the case at Sanuk Thai, where their Golden Crispy Wontons come filled with Irish pork, shrimp and water chestnuts, then is served with a side of sweet chilli dipping sauce. The main difference between a wonton and bao is that a wonton always has a filling, whereas boa is occasionally eaten without any filling at all. Wontons also have a more triangular shape when compared to bao or gyoza, which are usually round or long.
4. Nepalese Momo
Finally, we have momo, a dumpling most commonly eaten in Tibet and Nepal. Though it doesn't often appear on menus, whenever it does pop up we absolutely recommend you give momo a go. Traditionally, momo are made using buffalo or yak meat, but at Three Monks Asian Foods the homemade pastry is filled with the customer's choice of vegetables, chicken or lamb mince - not quite so daunting. There are plenty of fresh spices and herbs in a momo, so you can bet that once you've found your favourite you'll be going back for more.
For even more dumplings, check out what Deliveroo can offer near you.