A Food Lover’s Guide to the Most Popular Types of Chinese Dumplings

Do you love dim sum but find yourself always choosing the same types? Are you looking to expand your culinary experience by trying something new?

Despite the huge popularity of Chinese cuisine, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many types of Chinese dumplings. From soft to crispy, there’s a dumpling out there for everyone, but where do you start?

To learn more about these delicious little packets, keep reading!


No matter where you are or where you go, wontons are a classic choice. If you’ve never tried them before, now’s the time.

These dumplings come in all shapes and sizes, with a wide variety of different fillings. The dough is often made from water, eggs, and wheat flour, then filled and folded before cooking. Shrimp and pork are common fillings and are always a big hit.

Since they’re so widely consumed, it all depends on the chef as to how they’re prepared. Enjoy wontons fried, boiled, steamed, as a side dish, or in a soup. The possibilities are endless with these traditional treats!

Sui Mai

What makes sui mai one of the best Chinese dumplings around is the unique presentation. Instead of being a closed packet with a delightful filling, sui mai is an open-top dumpling. The wrapping is similar to a little basket to hold the filling.

Because of this, they’re only ever cooked by steaming.

To give them extra allure, classic sui mai fillings contain pork, green onions, mushrooms, and onions. Sometimes chefs add a small bit of bright orange fish roe to give this dumpling extra flair and a tang of salt.

Xiao Long Bao

The first thing many people notice about these Chinese dumplings is their adorable little swirl. Chefs seal the thicker wrapping so that it makes an interesting design that’s iconic to these dumplings.

Instead of a solid filling like most dumplings, these contain chopped pork and its trimmings. The extra trimmings melt as the dumpling cooks. Once you go to eat it, the chopped pork sits in a steaming broth that melds with the meat.

The good news is that it’s easy to find professional dumpling makers who deliver xiao long bao that you can steam at home. XCJ, for instance, has a great selection of these dumplings that are always delectable. Don’t forget to try their Classic Pork Pack while you’re at it!

Har Gao

With its crescent shape and pleated seals, har gao are a fun treat to try if you’ve never had them before. The wrapping uses both wheat flour and tapioca starch to give a slight chew to each bite, while still keeping it tender.

The filling is similar in a way to xiao long bao, where the filling creates a bit of broth as it cooks. The big difference is that the broth is much less pronounced in har gao, so that the dumpling has a nice juicy sensation without being too wet.

The most common filling consists of pork fat for the broth, along with shrimp and bamboo shoots for texture.

Char Siu Bao

If you’re a fan of barbecued pork, then this is the perfect dumpling for you to try. Unlike most other dumplings, this variety always has the same type of pork filling that has a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. Depending on the chef that prepares it, the flavors might differ from one dumpling to the next but it’ll always have a base of grilled pork.

The leavened wrapper gives char siu bao an even more unique twist. The yeast inside of the wrapper creates a crumbly texture that’s different from other popular dumplings.

When steamed, these dumplings retain a pure white color and are softer in texture. When baked, they gain a slight golden touch which also gives them a crispier outside.

Shui Jiao

This crescent-shaped dumpling uses a thinner wheat wrapper to ensure that each one has more emphasis on the filling. They make great accompaniments to soup or dipping sauces. It’s the perfect match for anyone who loves the filling far more than the dumpling wrapper.

Because of the extra filling, these dumplings work great as a main dish. The traditional pork and vegetable filling never fails to bring a smile, but there are always plenty of other varieties to try!

Haam Sui Gok

These fried dumplings have an interesting crackled texture made from when the glutinous rice cooks in oil. This ensures each bite has a pleasant mix of the crispy wrapper and the soft filling.

The fun thing about these types of dim sum is that their fillings contain a wide variety of different ingredients. If you love savory, then you’ll enjoy an array of pork, shrimp, and sausage fillings. For those who love sweets, red bean paste and coconut fillings are always an enticing choice.

Tang Yuan

If you’re looking for something extra sweet, then these are the dumplings for you. Of all the different types of Chinese dumplings, these are the ones that feel luxurious. That’s why they’re often reserved only for special occasions.

The glutinous rice flour that makes up the wrapping has a chewy and sweet consistency. The dumpling is either left in an unfilled ball as it cooks or it’s filled with sweet things to amp up the sensation. Chocolate, fruit, sesame paste, and red bean paste are all tasty choices.

It’s believed that eating these dumplings brings good luck during the Chinese New Year, which makes them even more enjoyable!

Try These Popular Types of Chinese Dumplings for a Real Treat

The types of Chinese dumplings listed above are all popular for the same reason: they’re delicious! All of them have a unique flavor profile that turns each bite into a culinary adventure. If you’re ever on the lookout to indulge one night, why not treat yourself to one of these dumplings?

It’ll taste even better in the company of friends and family, so don’t forget to invite them to dinner.

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