Dumplings have always been a crowd-pleaser in Asian restaurants. When we think of a dumpling, we always picture the most common crescent-shaped type of dumpling. However, this is only just one type of dumpling out of several variations we could try.
In fact, the variations differ based on cooking methods and fillings. Dumplings can be boiled, steamed, pan-fried, or deep-fried.
Moreover, dumplings are filled with a variety of fillings, such as soup, minced meat, vegetables, or sweet stuffings.
Dumplings are a delicious food item that is often served with dipping sauces to enhance their flavor.
Aside from the typical dough wrapper wrapping the filling, did you know that a dumpling can also be wrapped with egg? The types of dumplings keep growing and growing with the many ways to create them.
In this article, we talk about the most common types of dumplings in Asian cuisine, from the popular Chinese jiaozi to the famous xiao long bao.
Jiaozi is the Mandarin word for dumpling and is also called Chinese dumpling. It is a Chinese version of a dumpling made with small unleavened dough wrappers.
The dough of jiaozi is usually made from wheat flour and water.
It can be stuffed with ground pork, beef, shrimp, and fish. The filling is commonly mixed with other ingredients like Chinese cabbage, garlic chives, spring onions, and scrambled eggs. It is cooked in several methods, including boiling, steaming, pan-frying, and deep-frying.
Jiaozi is what you may generally call all Chinese dumplings, so it has many different variations and can be quite extensive. For instance, a type of jiaozi is guotie, a dumpling common in Northern China and is often eaten as a street food or appetizer. It is a type of pan-fried dumpling that is elongated in shape.
This is only one type of Chinese dumpling and you’ll find more examples below of Chinese dumplings, such as siu mai and har gow.
Siu mai, shaomai, or shumai is a type of traditional pork Chinese dumpling commonly eaten as a dim sum appetizer or snack. You may recognize this as an open purse-shaped dumpling garnished with an orange dot made of crab roe or carrot. It is often cooked using a bamboo basket steamer and is served with it.
The filling is usually made of minced pork and shrimp combined with mushrooms, green onions, and ginger. Siu mai is best eaten with a dipping sauce such as soy sauce. In other countries, siu mai is also known as shūmai in Japan, siomay in Indonesia, siomai in the Philippines, and xíu mại in Vietnam.
In China, you can find different variations of shaomai depending on the region, including chrysanthemum shaomai, Jiangnan shaomai, and Yifeng shaomai.
If you are not into pork and beef, you can try har gow or shrimp dumplings. Har gow is a Chinese dim sum classic that is made with shrimp filling and a starch-based dough. The dough is a mix of wheat starch and cornstarch, and sometimes tapioca starch.
The mix of starches gives it a translucent and chewy skin. You can often see the filling from the outside. The filling is a blend of shrimp, bamboo shoots, and seasonings.
Dan jiao is different from your typical dumpling made of dough wrappers since it uses beaten eggs instead. In translation, dan jiao means egg dumpling, so you may know this as Chinese egg dumpling. It is the ideal dumpling for breakfast or snacks.
You get the fluffy and soft egg exterior and the savory filling made of pork, shrimp, and bamboo shoots. The egg is cooked into a thin layer, which is used to fold and enclose the filling. It is basically like a mini fluffy omelet with a meaty filling inside.
As for the shape, it also looks like a typical crescent-shaped dumpling. It is circular and then folded in half.
Wonton is a type of dumpling commonly served as fried pork dumplings or in dishes like my pork and shrimp wonton soup. It is similar to traditional jiaozi, but the difference is that the wonton wrapper is thinner and less elastic. The filling is typically ground pork and shrimp but much less than the amount of filling used for jiaozi.
There are many ways to fold a wonton, including Ingot Wonton, Sichuan Chaoshou, Bow Tie Wonton, Fish Wonton, and One Step Wonton. Aside from fried wontons and soup, wontons are best served with thin noodles and pairs well with red vinegar. In other countries, wontons are also referred to as pinseques fritos in the Philippines, pangsit in Indonesia, and kiao in Thailand.
Xiao long bao is a type of bao bun that is bread-like and generally thicker than a traditional dumpling. Since dumpling has a broad meaning, many consider xiao long bao a subcategory of dumplings since it also uses a dough wrapper and a filling. However, bao buns are usually created using leavened dough made of yeast, wheat flour, sugar, and water.
You can say it is a “kind” of dumpling but different from a traditional Chinese dumpling or wonton. In translation, xiaolongbao means soup dumpling. On the other hand, it means “little caged bao” in Chinese.
Xiao long bao is usually prepared and cooked using a bamboo basket. It is often served for breakfast and goes well with Zhenjiang vinegar and chili crisp. Like other dumplings, it is common to stuff it with ground pork and vegetables.
Gyōza is the Japanese variation of Chinese dumplings. It is similar to pan-fried pot stickers or crescent-shaped Chinese dumplings. The most common ingredients for the filling are ground pork, green onions, cabbage, ginger, and garlic.
Some variations of gyōza also use seafood and vegetables. It is often dipped in a savory dipping sauce mixed with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili oil. There are several variations of gyōza, including yaki gyōza, sui gyōza, and age gyōza.
If you’re ever in Korea, don’t forget to try mandu, the Korean version of dumplings. It can be cooked in different ways, including steaming, boiling, pan-frying, and deep-frying. The fillings range from ground pork, beef, and vegetables.
It also comes in two types: gyoja and hoppang. Gyoja is more comparable to Chinese jiaozi, while hoppang is closer to Chinese bao. Mandu is best paired with a side of kimchi and a spicy dipping sauce.
Which type of dumpling is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below! If you want to learn more about dumplings, I suggest reading my guide Bao Vs Dumpling Vs Dimsum.