Dumplings are a staple food all over the world. Stuffed with vegetables, poultry, or fish, and coming in many varying shapes and sizes, there are not many foods that are as diverse and delicious in all forms as dumplings. Dumplings are a staple in many countries from China to Jamaica, so let's travel the world through eating dumplings in their many forms and taste the amazing cultures all around us!

England: Pasty

From Great Britain, pasties are savory pockets of joy, typically filled with lamb, chicken, and lots of hearty root vegetables specifically potatoes.

Scotland: Bridie

Much like a pasty from across the border, a bridie is the same as a pasty minus the potatoes, which make them much lighter in texture. Also, they are made using a shortcrust in Forfar, unlike in the rest of Scotland prefers flaky pastry as the crust.

Sweden: Kroppkakor 

A specialty in Oland, an island off the southern coast of Sweden, these mashed potato dumplings are stuffed with sweetly seasoned bacon filling and vegetables.

Portugal: Rissois

Rissois are Portuguese shrimp dumplings that are breaded and half-moon-shaped. Usually served in a Bechamel sauce with nutmeg for appetizers, variations of rissois have minced beef, chorizo, tuna, chicken, and ham and cheese fillings as well.

Spain and Latin America: Empanadas

These are one of my favorite types of dumplings hands down. Empanadas are fried pockets of deliciousness filled with everything from meat to vegetables to fish. Originating in Spain and traveling across the Atlantic to South America, empanadas are eaten all day as snacks and for any and every meal in many varying forms.

Italy: Ravioli

Ravioli are square flour-and-egg dumplings with crimped edges and centers stuffed with whatever your heart desires. With vegetables such as mushrooms (with truffle of course), asparagus, pumpkin, sweet potato, butternut squash, and spinach; meats from beef, prosciutto, turkey or chicken; or cheeses from ricotta to Gorgonzola to Pecorino Romano (or a mouth-watering combination), and usually served with a sauce or in broth, raviolis are the best dumplings.

Italy: Gnocchi

Gnocchi are thick, small, and soft dough dumplings made from flour, semolina, egg, cheese, potato, pumpkin, sweet potato, cornmeal, or other similar ingredients and flavored with herbs, vegetables, cocoa, or prunes. The dough for gnocchi is rolled out, then cut into small pieces that are pressed with a fork or a cheese grater to make ridges which hold the sauce. Alternatively, chefs cut them into little logs. Gnocchi are usually eaten instead of pasta as a first course in Italian culture, but they can also be served as a side dish to some main courses.

Italy: Tortellini

Tortellini are ring-shaped flour-and-egg dumplings native to Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy, which claims divine origin. Italian legend says that a voyeuristic inn owner was captivated by a glimpse of the goddess Venus’ belly-button through his keyhole, so he created a pasta inspired by its shape. In Castelfranco Emilia, an annual festival celebrates the blessed event with locals dressing in Renaissance costume. The official tortellini recipe, registered with the Bologna chamber of commerce, has pork, ham, mortadella, Parmigiano Reggiano, nutmeg and egg filling. Most classic tortellini dishes are served in a beef broth.

Germany: Maultaschen 

These German meat dumplings are served in a broth or as a central feature of whatever dish in which they are incorporated. Much like Italian ravioli but larger, maultaschen are composed of an outer layer of pasta dough and traditionally filled with minced meat, smoked meat, spinach, bread crumbs, and onions. They are flavored with various herbs and spices such as pepper, parsley, and nutmeg.

Germany: Kartoffelknoedel

Kartoffelknoedel are German potato dumplings served alongside a meat dish. These dumplings are light and smooth because they are made primarily with eggs, a small amount of flour, and breadcrumbs.

Greece: Tiropitakia 

These Greek dumplings are pockets of gooey feta, eggs, and minimal seasoning and explode in your mouth with every bite into the crisp filo dough.

Austria: Wachauer Aprikosenknodel

Wachauer Aprikosenknodel translates to "apricot dumpling." These sweet Austrian dumplings are whole apricots coated in a crispy potato dough. What could be better?

Russia: Pelmeni 

Pelmeni are Siberian wheat dumplings fashioned in twisted, half-moon-like shapes and are filled with savory ingredients such as minced pork, beef, or mutton with onions and pepper and served throughout Russia.

Georgia: Khinkali 

Considered the national cuisine of Georgia, these boiled wheat flour dumplings are stuffed with ground beef, lamb, or pork with crushed caraway seeds, cayenne pepper, and pureed onions. Khinkali reflect Georgia's rich national history as both a former Soviet country and one in which many Silk Road travelers crossed centuries ago, bringing with them immense culture and delicious ingredients.

Ukraine: Knish 

Knishes are my favorite food and a staple in many Jewish households across the world. Originating in Ukraine, these creamy, dense potato dumplings are coated in a thick crunchy and chewy dough and warm your taste buds and your stomach. Modern versions include sweet potatoes, kasha, spinach, various meats, and cheese.

Ukraine: Vareniki

Vareniki are similar to pierogies and have fillings of minced fish (such as carp or salmon) or meat with chopped onions, dill, and pepper; farmer cheese with dill and pepper; or fruit. Cherry and plum are local Ukrainian favorites, as the sweet dumplings are packed full of the fruit, cloves, lemon juice, and sugar.

Poland: Pierogi 

This Polish staple comes in many savory and sweet versions. Savory pierogis include ground meat or fish, vegetables such as potato, mushrooms, sauerkraut, or spinach, or cheese, and are served with stewed onions or sour cream. The sweet fillings are cherries, strawberries, plums, or cinnamon and quark—a creamy cottage cheese-like food and the pierogi is coated in sugar and served with melted butter or cream. 

Poland and Eastern Europe: Kreplach 

Kreplach are Jewish flour-and-egg dumplings filled with meat such as ground beef or chopped chicken livers or potatoes and always served in chicken soup, but they can also be deep-fried. Triangle-shaped, and cooked with love by our bubbes (Jewish grandmothers), families eat kreplach on religious holidays such as the night before Yom Kippur and Purim.

Poland: Uszka 

Translating to "little ears" in English, uszka are a smaller twisted version of Polish pierogi and filled with flavorful wild forest mushrooms and minced meat. Commonly served with borscht (a beet soup) or eaten with melted butter and chives, uszka are included in traditional Christmas Eve feasts in Poland.

Czech Republic: Svestkove Knedliky

Much like an Austrian apricot dumpling, the Czech version of this deliciously sweet dumpling is instead filled with whole plums and topped with cocoa and cinnamon for a mouthful of deliciousness.

Slovakia: Kolache

These sweet dumplings are filled with a plethora of delicious sweet delicacies such as strawberries or chocolate, and historically, newlywe couples served them as wedding cakes at their nuptials.

Eastern Europe & Central Asia: Manti

While the origin of these delicious triangular dumplings is widely disputed because they are famous all over the Eastern world especially in Turkey, manti are usually filled with spiced meat such as lamb or beef and coated in a dough wrapper, and either boiled or steamed depending on the people in the region that consume them.

Indonesia: Siomay

Siomay are Indonesian steamed fish dumplings with vegetables served with a peanut sauce and a relative of the Chinese shumai. They are considered a Dim Sum, light-style meal and are cone-shaped in contrast to round Chinese Dim Sum. Wahoo fish is the traditional star of this dumpling.

Polynesia and Hawaii: Manapua

Translating to "delicious pork thing" in English, this Polynesian and Hawaiian delicacy is a staple of the cultures' cuisines in those places and is a reflection of the influence of Chinese culture in the areas that serve it.

Korea: Mandu 

Like many Korean foods, kimchi is a central figure, and these shrimp and kimchi dumplings are no exception. Typically steamed, these dumplings are crescent moon shaped, and it is tradition to eat them on New Year's Day.

Japan: Gyoza

Gyoza are half-moon-shaped, pan-fried dumplings stuffed with minced pork, cabbage, scallions, garlic, and dashes of sugar and ginger. Their crispy bottoms differentiate them from other dumplings, and they are a favorite dish all over Japan and abroad.

China: Xiao Long Bao 

I've never heard a person say that they do not adore xiao long bao—gelatinous soup dumplings. I mean what could be better than a dumpling you can either drink through a straw or eat and have melt in your mouth?

China: Jiaozi

A staple around Chinese New Year, these boiled or steamed meat and vegetable dumplings are what most people think about when they think about Chinese dumplings.

China: Char Siu Bao 

The doughy pork dumplings are one of the heaviest members of a Dim Sum and have a slight spice and hint of barbeque flavor to them.

China: Siu Mai

What could be better than a dumpling topped with fish roe and Siu Mai, often referred to as shumai, are open-top steamed dumplings with pinched pleated sides that reveal the filling of ground pork and shrimp, minced bean sprouts, shredded carrots, scallions, rice wine, and served over soy sauce. These dumplings are commonplace in breakfast Dim Sum and have origins traceable to Southern China.

China: Wontons

Wonton soup is a staple of Chinese cuisine worldwide, featuring boiled ground pork, garlic, and minced cabbage dumplings in a flavorful chicken broth. Depending on where you are in China, these dumplings can be served in a fish broth and with noodles and the dumplings themselves can also contain shrimp.

China: Guo Tie (Potstickers) 

These dumplings are commonly known as potstickers because when cooked, they stick to the bottom of the pan. These juicy pan-fried and steamed dumplings stuffed with ground pork, ginger, garlic, rice wine, and sesame oil have flat crispy bases, much like Japanese gyoza. As a Shanghai specialty that has migrated all over China, Guo Tie are a breakfast staple and what a way to start the day. 

Nepal, Tibet, & Bhutan: Momo

These dumplings are steamed in chicken fat filled with ground chicken, beef, or even yak in Tibet, and also feature cabbage, garlic, and spices Momo are a typical snack, with the dome-shaped dumplings with pleated sides often served with a chile-based paste that includes tomato, onion, and cilantro.  

India: Samosa

Samosas are fried spiced potato and pea dumplings shaped like triangles and dipped in various chutneys. Be forewarned; these adorable dumplings pack in the spice even though they might not look like they would at first!

India: Modak

Modak are sweet Indian dumplings that are filled with coconut and jaggery (an Asian version of sugar cane that comes in a block). They can be fried or steamed and are frequently served with ghee.

Thailand: Sakhu Sai Moo

Sakhu Sai Mu is a popular Thai midday snack served in street markets all over Thailand. It is a dumpling made out of tapioca and filled with seasoned pork. 

Vietnam: Banh Bot Loc 

With a name that translates to "clear flour cake," these Vietnamese clear-looking, chewy, tapioca dumplings are eaten as appetizers or small snacks. Filled with shrimp and pork belly, and often topped with fried shallots and served with sweet chili fish sauce, this simple, yet sophisticated dish is a local favorite.

Hong Kong: Har Gow

Har Gow is a traditional Cantonese dumpling served in Hong Kong Dim Sum. Composed of shrimp, these dumplings are transparent and smooth. This dish is said to be the one that the skill of a dim sum chef is judged on, as a traditional Har Gow dumpling should have at least seven and preferably ten or more pleats imprinted on its wrapper, among other specifications.

Lebanon: Shish Barak 

Shish Barak is the Lebanese version of ravioli but stuffed with ground lamb, pine nuts, chopped cilantro, and spices, and cooked in a goat yogurt stew flavored with mint and garlic. 

Middle East: Fatayer

Fatayer are Middle Eastern meat pies that come with spinach or feta.

Ghana & Nigeria: Fufu

A staple in Ghana and Nigeria, fufu is made by pounding cassava and plantain and straining it through water. Fufu is often served with groundnut soup, palm nut soup or light soup.

South Africa: Souskluitjies 

Souskluitjies are cinnamon dumplings coated in sweet butter and syrup. What could be better?

United States: Dutch Apple Dumpling

Apple dumplings are native to the settlers of the northeastern United States, specifically Pennsylvania. Often eaten as a breakfast item or for dessert, apple dumplings taste best with ice cream or a tall glass of milk. 

Trinidad and Tobago: Pastelle 

Pastelles are soft cornmeal roll-ups similar tamales, baked in banana leaves and filled with deliciously spiced chicken, beef, or pork. They are traditionally served around Christmas.

Jamaica & the Carribean: Patty

A patty is a Jamaican dumpling filled with spices and baked until golden-colored and flaky and tinted with an egg yolk and turmeric mixture. Patties are commonly filled with seasoned ground beef, but different versions contain chicken, pork, lamb, vegetables, shrimp, lobster, fish, or cheese. In Jamaica, the patty is eaten as a full meal and often accompanied by cocoa bread. 

Cuba: Papas Rellenas

Filled with mashed potatoes, picadillo (ground beef and tomato sauce), spices, and then deep fried, these dumplings are a favorite dish in Cuba and all over Latin America in varying forms.

Mexico: Tamales

Tamales are made with the starchy, sticky, corn-based masa, and are filled with everything from meat to cheese to vegetables and steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf.

Mexico: Joroches

Joroches are cone-shaped cornmeal dumplings that are standard components of varying stews or soups. On the Yucatan peninsula, joroches are commonly served with a filling of picadillo (a hash comprised of ground meat, tomato, raisins, apple, cinnamon, onions, and occasionally olives), sausage, or dogfish, or in black beans, or with pork and beans.

Brazil: Coxinhas

Shaped like thighs to resemble the chicken thighs they contain, coxinhas are a favorite food in Brazil consisting of chopped or shredded chicken meat, coated in a thick dough, molded, battered, and fried.

Yiddish Households: Matzo Balls 

Matzo balls are Ashkenazi Jewish soup dumplings and a staple at any Jewish meal, whether it be a Friday night Shabbas or the high holidays like Passover. There is nothing better than yo' mamma's matzo balls composed of matzo meal, a heavy dose of vodka (an insider secret), eggs, and served in a steaming bowl of hearty chicken soup.

So wherever you are in the world, try a dumpling and be sure to be wowed. Dumplings are amazing in all their forms and represent rich histories and flavors beyond imagination. Whether you eat flavorful and colorful Chinese Dim Sum for breakfast, a spicy and crunchy Indian samosa for lunch, rich and creamy ravioli for dinner, or a sweet dutch apple dumpling for dessert, the options are endless, and your stomach will be thanking you for all the fantastic flavors partying it up inside.