Since the dawn of exploration, we have sought a universal truth. What, early anthropologists wanted to know, is the one thing that unites all the citizens of the world? Is there a collective taboo, a single god, anything that bonds us as one?
Well, there is, as it happens. The wide-ranging love of the dumpling.
If there’s one practice about which we all concur, it is the wrapping of savouries and sweets in dough. Even if our own culture does not produce a Notable Dumpling (NDs), we are drawn to those that do. On the ND Honour Roll, we have:
Israel. Thank you for the Matzah ball.
China. Thank you for Just About Everything You Cook but, most particularly for the dumpling. We are all familiar with the Cantonese Nirvana that is yum cha; but look out for xiaolongbao. These Shanghai style dumplings are filled with pork and soup are a plus (dim) sum proposition and beginning to emerge in our local China towns.
Mongolia. Thank you for the buuz. If you can find these mutton-filled parcels of perfection anywhere, let us know!
Lebanon. The jewel of the near-east gives us the barak.
Eastern-Europe. Who said you could put peaches and nutmeg and the sweet, sweet ooze of Demerara sugar in a big, tender white ball of dough.
Austria? Who asked you to make The Perfect hangover cure in the form of the pierogi, Poland? And Russia. Why you gotta do me like that? Mmmm.
Japan. Gyoza. Can’t write. Slavering. Thankfully, now, you’re never more than a kilometre away from a gyoza in our big cities.
Let us know of your favourite dumpling diner. And, if you sample any new dough-covered delights, be sure to tell this dumpling anthropologist.