How do you like your dumpling? Do you prefer piping hot Chinese dumpling served steamed, pan-fried or boiled? The little starch dough stuffed with vegetables, chicken, fish, meat, fruits, cheese or chocolate make a delicious comforting snack loved by people around the world. China has a wide range of dumplings. They come with assorted sides and complementary sauces that make it all the more flavourful.
Various Chinese Dumplings
China has more than a dozen types of dumplings. They are filled with different yummy meat, veggie or fish stuffing. Moreover, each dumpling is served exclusively and has a unique eating technique too.
- Steamed Dumplings: Jiao Zi is gorgeously pleated half-circle shaped steamed dumplings. They have delicate wraps stuffed with yummy vegetable or minced meat. Jiao Zi should be eaten hot or else the wrap tends to get chewy. The clam-shaped Har Gow has a transparent covering and shrimp filling. Only an expert Chinese chef is capable of making the perfect 7/10 pleat Har Gow.
- Boiled Dumplings: Jiao Zi also has a boiled variety. The wraps and stuffing match the steamed version while the cooking process varies. Here, they are boiled in water and served after taking them out along with a vinegar dip.
- Soup dumplings: Xiao long bao is Shanghai’s traditional dumpling having some pork meat and soup wrapped with a very thin dough sheet. Guan Tang Bao, another type of soup dumpling, has a thicker wrap while the stuffing is the same. When eating Xiao long bao, the dumpling is eaten first (with a soy sauce dip) while the soup is drunk later. It’s the opposite in the case of Guan Tang Bao. Wontons, usually filled with bok choy or minced pork, are served in a bowl of thin noodle soup.
- Fried Dumplings: Xiao Long Bao comes in a fried version and is called Sheng Jian. It is fun to poke the Sheng Jian, to let the soup out and then start eating.
- Dumplings that are Both Fried & Steamed: Egg dumplings are partially fried. A pan-fried omelette is stuffed with desired meat/vegetable filling, taken out of the pan to boil and serve. Jian Jiao has a pork stuffing and is first fried and then steamed. Leftover steamed wontons are often relished as appetizers. They are deep fried and served with a drizzle of sweet & sour sauce.
- Chinese New Year Dumplings: Tangyuan is a dumpling made commonly on New Year’s Eve. The dough ball is made with water & rice flour with luscious chocolate, red bean paste, fruit, peanuts, or sesame paste. Yao Gok is also made for special events. It is filled with sesame, coconut & chopped peanuts.
China has many more dumpling varieties besides the ones mentioned. It can be said that there is a dumpling to suit every palate, every mood, and every occasion. The mouth-watering flavour, texture, and smell of dumplings have the power to draw every person to dig in the lovely looking pieces of edible perfection.