In this issue, we’re celebrating Ukrainian Christmas and the Lunar New Year – and nothing connects Europe and Asia like their mutual adoration of wrapping dough around delicious things.

Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about this international superstar of plate, bowl and bamboo basket.


At the most basic level, a dumpling is dough wrapped around something else you might like to eat.

Unless, of course, you’re in the southern United States where dumplings are all dough all the time as biscuit dough is dropped into soup or stew to cook.

Does that make them inside-out dumplings?


IN ITALY? We don’t usually think of dumplings as Italian, but gnocchi, is in fact the word “dumplings” in Italian. While we’re at it, agnolotti, ravioli and tortellini are also, technically, dumplings.

ON FILM: In 2018, Canadian filmmaker Domee Shi made a short film with Disney’s Pixar about a Chinese-Canadian mom who gets a second chance at motherhood when one of her bao dumplings comes to life. Bao won best animated short film at the Oscars that year.

ON STEROIDS: A ‘giant pierogi’ monument in Glendon, Alta., stands over eight metres tall, is about three metres wide and weighs almost three tons.

AT WAR: A local myth in Leipzig, Germany says an entire division of Napoleon’s invading army choked to death on klösse, saving the city.

AT THE ZOO: A baby penguin at the Cincinnati Zoo was named Pierogi after an internet contest encouraged ideas from the public.


You’ve probably heard pierogi said more than one way. Here’s the breakdown…


PYROHY: Ukrainian

VERENYKY: Also Ukrainian, and more commonly used in Ukraine

PELMENI: Russian, and usually filled with meat vs their pierogi cousins, which are usually vegetarian

PYROSHKI: Russian baked or fried yeast-leavened boat-shaped buns – i.e. not dumplings

Dumplings are a universal language of love, transcending cultures and bringing people together around the table. – Padma Lakshmi

dumpling - jiaozi



Thinly rolled dough with either ground meat or vegetables that can be boiled, steamed or fried and are traditionally eaten during Lunar New Year Celebrations.


While made famous by India, the samosa actually has roots across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.


The cutest of all dumplings, xiaolongbao is twisted at the top to prevent the molten soup from spilling out. These dumplings should be allowed to cool a minute before taking a bite.


Rumour has it, Mongolians brought mandu to Korea in the 14th Century. With variety being the spice of Korean life (in addition, of course to kimchi) mandu come in six variations.


You know and love it from its acclaimed appearance in soup. Wonton derives from the Cantonese word wanton, which translates to “cloud swallow.”


With thinner skin and a lot more garlic, gyoza are the Japanese version of jiaozi that soldiers brought back from China after WWII.


Hailing from India and Nepal, momo rival xialongbao in the cuteness department and look rather similar. Momo fillings, though, are thoroughly influenced by the aromatic spices of India.


A delicacy of a specific region of Nepal, this fish-shaped dumpling is sweet, featuring molasses and sesame seeds inside.


Indonesia’s take on China’s siomai, these rather large dumplings are most often cut into bite-sized pieces and topped with peanut sauce, sweet soy sauce, chili sauce and a dash of lime juice.


Sweet or savoury, with fillings or without, this central European dumpling is most popular in Austria, Germany and Czechia. Fun fact: when made from matzah meal instead of flour, they become matzah balls.


We’ll let the Poles and Ukrainians debate ownership of this delectable delight of unleavened dough wrapped around… just about anything. We love them boiled before being fried with butter and onions and served with sour cream. Sweet versions are often filled with fresh fruit or jam.

dumplings - momo

CALGARY’S DUMPLING HIT LIST (where to go when a craving hits)

Deng’s Dumplings

With beef, pork and vegan options,  Deng’s makes the best jiaozi style dumplings in town.

Deng’s Dumplings | Multiple Locations

Wonton King

This Calgary classic has served 1.5 million customers over the last 40 years. They also support some great causes locally and around the world.

Wonton King | Multiple Locations

Great Taste Restaurant

The word is in and that word is xiaolongbao (soup dumplings). Find some of the best in the city at this Chinatown favourite.

Great Taste | Multiple Locations

Austrian Canadian Club

Many of the delicious dishes at this authentic Austrian restaurant come with a dumpling on the side. Visit them from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Austrian Canadian Club | 3112 11th St. N.E.

Deepak’s Dhaba

You can’t beat Deepak’s samosas. They’re crispy, they’re flavourful and you can eat in or take them home. Have an air fryer? That’s the way to go.

Deepak’s Dhaba | Multiple Locations

Aama Nepalese Cuisine

If Cochrane is close, head to Aama Nepalese Cuisine for your momo. Try steamed, traditional, Tandoori and more.

Aama Nepalese Cuisine | 2106, 100 Horse Creek Rd., Cochrane

The Himalayan

It’s been awhile since we packed up the family and visited The Himalayan on 17 Avenue S.W. The Nepali cuisine here is diverse, reflecting on the country’s geographic, climate and culture diversity. Get your fill of momos at this Calgary icon.

The Himalayan | 3218 17th Ave. S.W.


Those in the know know this is where to get your bao. Try the bao sampler then take some home frozen to share with your friends. #IYKYK

iBaoza | 4119 4th St. N.W.