Dumplings may seem like a cool, new, creative (and usually cheap) food trend, but the veggie, dairy and meat-filled noodle pockets have been around for centuries (read: way before you ever picked up a chopstick).
A physician in Eastern Han Dynasty, Zhang Zhongjing is credited for inventing the dish. More than 1,800 years ago, he filled dough skins with cold-dispelling herbs and mutton, and cooked them for individuals who suffered from frozen or broken ears.
“Dumplings originated in China and eventually made their way through other Asian countries, mainly Korea and Japan, where they were influenced by local cuisine and flavors,” says Nayoung Shin, head of marketing at CJ Foods USA, a dumpling maker.
Nations use different words to describe their versions of the dumpling. from xialongbaos, shumai, rangoons, har gow and wontons in China, to ravioli in Italy, pierogis in Central and Eastern Europe, mandu in Korea, momo in Tibet, and gyoza in Japan — the list, and variations, go on.
Every August, the Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship takes place in Downtown Los Angeles. The record: 384 gyoza consumed by one participant in 10 minutes. If that’s any indication, America’s love for dumplings is here to stay. If competing (or watching in awe) isn’t an option, browse the gallery above for eateries across America that serve special over-the-top dumplings — no stop watch needed.
In Chicago, Ramen-san’s menu is predominantly ramen, but a bao special was so popular, they keep bringing it back with different fillings.
Ramen-san’s Tang Bao is a giant meat or seafood-filled soup dumpling with a gelatin base.
Try it with Berkshire pork and King crab.