How many types of Chinese dumplings are there? And which types of Chinese dumplings taste the best?
Ah, what a beautiful, delicious question!
Considering I run a blog all about all the types of dumplings from around the world, you can already guess that the answers are: many and they all taste great.
Real talk: there are tons of Chinese dumpling types out there that vary regionally, and even within those dumpling types, there’s an endless variety of potential fillings/preparation methods, from the classic steam-fried pork dumpling to intricate dumplings made with egg skins.
So, if you’re curious about all the different types of Chinese dumplings out there, here is an overview of the most popular varieties.
NOTE: Although I come from a Cantonese household, I’ve given the Chinese Dumpling Names below mostly in Mandarin, as those are the better known names used in menus across the world! Do take note that exact names can vary from region to region though.
If we’re listing out Chinese dumpling types, we have to start with Jiaozi, a broad umbrella term for the popular Chinese dumplings composed of ground meat or veggies encased in a thin flour-based skin.
These beautiful creations are probably what first come to mind when you think of “Chinese dumplings”.
Jiaozi can be prepared in a variety of ways, including:
- Boiled (Shui Jiao)
- Steamed (Zheng Jiao)
- Deep Fried (Zha Jiao)
- Steam-fried (Jian Jiao, like the beloved potsticker!)
And fillings can range from standard pork and chive to vegan versions with mushrooms and other veggies.
The possibilities are endless for this versatile Chinese dumpling type, which explains why it has made its way onto virtually every appetizer section in Chinese restaurants around the world.
- My Foolproof Chinese Pork Dumpling Recipe
- What to Serve with Chinese Dumplings & Potstickers
- My Best Dumpling Puns
Another ultra popular type of Chinese dumpling? Wontons!
Known for their distinctive square wrapper and tasty pork/shrimp filling, wontons are a staple comfort food for many Chinese families.
Most commonly boiled and served in broth, wontons can also be deep fried and enjoyed with dipping sauce.
Of course, the term “wonton” has grown and evolved over the years, and these days there are all sorts of dishes that claim to be wonton variations, from cream cheese and crab (like in Crab Rangoon) to taco “wontons”. While these aren’t authentically Chinese, some do consider them wontons nonetheless, so keep this distinction in mind when ordering!
Another broad Chinese dumpling type is baozi – yeasty, bread-like dumplings that are found not just in China, but in many varieties around the world.
These often have similar filling options to Jiaozi, but the main distinction is the skin – Baozi skin is yeasty and pillowy, whereas Jiaozi skin is much thinner.
Some popular Chinese dumpling types that full under the “Baozi” umbrella include:
- Cha siu bao (filled with BBQ pork)
- Sheng jian bao (filled with juicy pork and steam-fried)
- Gua bao (the very popular open-faced buns that are stuffed with various fillings in a sort of steamy, pillow-like taco)
NOTE: Bao literally translates to bun, so you will sometimes hear them referred to as buns as well.
Har Gow (sometimes spelled Ha Gow) are a delicious Cantonese dumpling (and dim sum favorite) comprised of a juicy shrimp filling and a thin, translucent skin made from tapioca and wheat starch.
These cute little shrimp bonnets are then steamed to perfection in a traditional bamboo steamer.
Growing up in a Cantonese household, these have always been my favourite dumplings to eat (and make dim sum puns about).
While not as popular by name as its sister-dumpling, Har Gao, Fun Guo is an equally delicious Chinese dumpling type with Cantonese origins that you must try!
These pork dumplings are covered in the same translucent skin as Har Gao, but are usually filled with pork, mushroom and chives instead of shrimp. A little different, but delicious all the same!
Another popular Chinese dumpling type (and dim sum treat) is Shumai, an open-faced dumpling made with ground pork, mushrooms, shrimp, and/or bamboo shoots.
Encased by a delicate wonton-like wrapper that houses the filling in a cute open bowl shape, it’s typically crowned with some fish roe or a pea for some final decorative flair.
… and yes it’s truly heavenly!
Xiao Long Bao
Also known as soup dumplings, I consider Xiao Long Bao to be one of the most delicious Chinese dumpling types (and foods) in the world.
Consisting of a thin dough wrapper encasing a gingery ground meat, the magic of this dumpling is the secret river of hot savoury broth waiting inside.
Eaten without caution, these bad boys are sure to scald your mouth, but they’re worth every burn. Be sure to consult my guide on how to eat soup dumplings if you’re new to it though!
NOTE: Xiao Long Bao are part of a broader category of soup-filled dumplings known as Tangbao (literal translation: soup dumpling) which exist in many varieties across China.
Ham Sui Gok (Fried Glutinous Rice Dumplings)
These football shaped dumplings are another dim sum favorite of mine, and I consider them to be one of the most underrated Chinese dumpling types out there!
The filling is usually made with a flavourful minced meat mix, which is then covered in a chewy rice-based dough that is deep fried. Imagine if a mochi gave a meatball a big hug and then they both decided to go for a dip in the deep fryer.
… Yes, it’s like a deep fried meatball mochi hug. Try it to see what I mean – you’ll be hooked!
While more verging on “pie” territory than pure dumpling, I couldn’t have a list of delicious Chinese dumpling types without mentioning chive pockets!
Popular as a snack and street food in Northern China, these delicious dough pockets are usually filled with an egg and chive mixture, then pan fried for a nice golden exterior. I’m drooling just thinking about them.
Dan Jiao (Egg Dumplings)
While most Chinese dumpling types have wrappers made from flour, Dan Jiao are uniuqe in that their wrappers are made with egg!
Often reserved as a Chinese New Year treat, Dan Jiao may involve more (messy) work than your standard dumpling, but the end result is worth it!
The usual filling for these is a savoury meat mixture that goes perfectly with the omeletty outside. Yum yum.
Ba-Wan are a beloved Taiwanese street food that mix sweet and savoury flavours with a distinctive chewy texture that’s impossibly addictive.
The unique texture of these dumplings is thanks to its mix of sweet potato/rice flour, which creates a gelatinous wrapping for the savoury mix of pork, bamboo and mushrooms waiting inside.
Traditionally, they are served steamed and topped with a sweet and savoury sauce. Yup – this is a snack all about the flavour combos!
Literally translated to “soup balls”, Tangyuan are a sweet Chinese dumpling dessert made up of rice flour balls, often dressed up with sweet fillings like sesame/red bean paste, or otherwise consumed in plain, but satisfyingly chewy bites.
Again, while the exact preparation of Tangyuan varies by region and even household, they are most commonly prepared either deep fried or in a sweet syrupy broth.
Unsurprisingly, these decadent bites are popular celebration treats, consumed often during the Lunar New Year or at weddings.
Did we miss any of your favorite Chinese dumpling types?
Let us know in the comments so we can add them to our list!