Story of the Chinese dumpling

About the Chinese dumplings…

If you had to name a typical Chinese dish, what would come to mind first? The Beijing roast duck? General Tso’s chicken that is easily found in US Chinese restaurants?
There is one dish that you might overlook, dumplings. Chinese Dumplings have a history of more than 1,800 years. Compared to other famous Chinese menu items. The dumpling is not that eye-catching, neither by their looks nor its taste.
Just like many other countries, the most typically eaten food might not be the tastiest or the best looking. Dumplings are one of the top native dishes in China.

You might have already tried different kinds of dumplings like ravioli from Italy, deep-fried dumpling in your local Chinese buffet. What are the differences between them and the dumplings found in a Chinese dining table? I would say the fillings matter the most for Chinese dumplings. A dumpling is mainly made of two parts: the outside wrapper and the inside. In China, dumpling wrappers are made of just flour and are very thin. The wrapper is pretty much all the same throughout China with just the filling changing (similar to other staples in China like the steam bun). The classic fillings usually are a mix of a specific kind of meat and some vegetables. What is the most classic one? Two fillings most common in the north are pork with Chinese chive and pork with Napa cabbage. These vegetables compliment the taste of the pork very well. Other vegetables that can be found dumplings include celery, carrot, mushrooms and many more. The filling usually has one type of meat as the main filling, from pork, beef, chicken, lamb and shrimp. With shrimps, the three delicacies fillings is another tasty stuffing. The name suggests that it has three ingredients, it includes mushroom, egg and shrimp. It tastes spectacular as the three unique recipes pair well with each other. In China, people are used to cooking dumplings by boiling. Always eat dumplings by dipping them with vinegar, chili oil and garlic.

Of course, people do not only consider Jiaozi as an everyday dish. It means a lot to Chinese people. Here are some unique things about this dish. During the holiday of the Chinese New Year, families make Jiaozi themselves. This is often a family fun activity, people usually put candies or coins in a couple of the dumplings. Can you guess why? It is believed the person who gets this dumpling will have good luck in the new year. Although their teeth might not think so! You have to be lucky not to chip a tooth whilst trying to get some dumpling good luck!

Another fun fact to know about is the difference between the north and the south. Jiaozi is a nationally recognized dish in China. It is more welcomed in the Northern Provinces than in the Southern provinces. Many northerners find it weird when they are in the south and find Jiaozi is not the only dish used to celebrate big holidays. While people from the south usually do not understand why the north is so passionate about relating everything to  Jiaozi. Besides, there are also regional differences towards the fillings. 

China has many different flavors and styles of dumplings in many provinces. Tell me which one do you like?

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