Whether they’re fried, boiled, baked or rolled in sugar, dumplings really are the ultimate comfort food. And in hundreds of different countries around the world, you’ll find a unique way of preparing them. In honour of this treat, we’ve collected the world’s best dumpling destinations.
The 'little ears' in borscht
Uszka (the delightfully evocative ‘little ears’ in Polish) are miniature twisted dumplings, filled with wild mushrooms and minced meat. Unlike a lot of the dumplings on this list, Uszka are served in lots of different ways, with butter and chopped chives, with Polish borscht, as a side dish, or as a vegetarian version as part of a traditional Christmas Eve meal. To try all the different variations head to Warsaw and stay in the Old Town district, at Saxon Garden Jewel.
Fresh jiaozi in soy sauce
It’s difficult to pinpoint where such a universal dish was ‘invented’ but China is definitely the birthplace of the jiaozi, and for that we should be grateful. These boiled, steamed or pan-fried parcels of dough containing meat or vegetables are eaten year-round, throughout the world, but especially during Chinese New Year celebrations. Eat your fill at the Ditan Park celebrations and then sleep it off at the Beijing 161 Lama temple Courtyard Hotel.
San Francisco, USA
Some truly wonderful wontons
While we can’t get enough jiaozi, the honour roll of Chinese dumplings is a long one and stretches all the way to San Francisco. Here you’ll find the largest Chinese population in the USA, the city’s oldest Chinatown at Grant Avenue and Stockton Street (stay nearby at the Green Tortoise Hostel), and some truly wonderful wontons. With a thinner dough wrapper than jiaozi and traditionally served in a light broth, San Franciscan wontons are well worth travelling for.
Preparing chuchvara for adventurous foodies
Chuchvara are a staple of Uzbek and Tajik cuisine and are eaten throughout the Middle East. Unleavened dough squares filled with meat, these dumplings are similar to wontons but observance of Islamic dietary rules mean that pork is never used as a filling. The Russian-style of chuchvara is served topped by sour cream, although Uzbeks tend to prefer their dumplings in a clear soup or with a tomato sauce. Adventurous foodies can try both varieties at the Komil Bukhara Boutique Hotel.
Manti with yogurt and herbs
Tajiks do enjoy a plate full of chuchvara but when it comes to dumplings they’re all about the manti. A steamed dumpling popular in Central Asia and Islamic cuisine, mantis are usually filled with ground meat and spices, wrapped in a thin sheet of dough, and then steamed before being served with a dairy side (such as yogurt or butter) or an onion sauce. Enjoy a royal feast of these much-loved dumplings at the Lotte Palace Dushanbe.
Freskly cooked steamed momos
Momo are, by far, the prettiest dumplings on this list. And they taste pretty great as well. While many countries marvel at momos, these steamed buns are especially popular in Nepal. Here, the large Tibetan diaspora (where the momo originated) has turned these dumplings into a national dish. Eat your fill while admiring the view of the Himalayas on offer at Club Himalaya.
Kachoris sold by a street vendor
Another country that loves momos is India, although they’ve got more than enough of their own delicious dumplings. While most Indian dumplings are sweet, kachori are spicy discs of yellow moong dal, chili, besan (gram flour) and various seasonings. For the best, and most authentic, kachori head to their birthplace in Rajasthan and fill your plate, followed by a brief food coma at the Taj Lake Palace.
Papas rellenas: comfort squared
If dumplings are the ultimate comfort food then a dumpling made of potato is comfort squared. Papas rellenas are a Peruvian dumpling made of mashed potato and stuffed with sautéed meat, onions and garlic, and seasoned with a long list of delicious ingredients including cumin, peanuts, olive, chopped eggs and raisins. Tempted? Head to the scenic Copacabaña Lodge and devour a plate while admiring the views of Parque Nacional Huascarán.