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The Etymology Of Dumplings & Buns Relative To Chinese Cuisine [split from L.A. board]

[This thread was triggered by the discussion here: http://chowhound.chow.com:80/topics/7...


"Soup dumplings" are dumplings in soup... (see photo).

"Xiaolongbao" are a whole different animal; XLB are steamed individually and not in any soup (though, if well made, there is juice inside)... (see other photo).

The terms are NOT interchangeable.

Which one are you looking for on the Westside?

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  1. Damn that XLB looks good. Where is that photo from? And why do I suspect it's not in LA?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Porthos

      Ripped the photo from a writeup of Kao Chi Restaurant in Taiwan... Bamboo steam cages are "verboten" by the LA Health Dept., from what I understand.

      1. re: J.L.

        Bamboo steamer aside, the XLBs themselves look so plump and perfectly made and delicious with the little bit of crab roe/juice on top. Just a cut above what we have here in LA. The version at Jin Jiang is probably the closest.

        Jin Jiang Restaurant
        301 W Valley Blvd Ste 109, San Gabriel, CA 91776

        1. re: Porthos

          Kao Chi if I got it right, is just around the corner from flagship Din Tai Fung (Xinyi) Taipei.

    2. OK, you guys who use acronyms for various components of Chinese meals are obviously out of my league, but I'll forge ahead - Based on the photos J.L. posted, I don't think either one (tho they look delicious) are what I'm after. The dumplings I've had before at Mandarin House of Noodle and its predecessor, Mandarine Noodle Deli, are boiled dumplings served in a dish that looks like a muffin pan. There is liquid "soup" inside the dumpling.

      1 Reply
      1. re: BobinLA

        BobinLA: the xlb you had in tiny muffin tins are an inferior version of the one in the picture (in the steam basket). The ones in the little tins are also steamed, not boiled.

      2. XLB are called "soup dumplings" in New York. Just like "chow mein" is served without noodles in Miami.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chandavkl

          Just like "chow mein" is served without noodles in Miami.
          Really? Even at Tropical?

          1. re: Porthos

            Not every Chinese restaurant, but that is the historical convention in restaurants that cater (even in part) to non-Chinese diners. If you want noodles you order "lo mein".

        2. Aww, c'mon, J.L.

          Are we really going to open up *that* discussion again?

          I thought Pandora had taken her box home with her, no?


          50 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            This is why I prefer mandu. In soup, or out. Steamed or pan fried. All mandu. Those Koreans know how to KISS... ;-D>

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I'm too OCD on this issue, I know... I'll try to seek some sort of therapy for this...

              1. re: J.L.

                Trust me. I know *exactly* how you feel.

                It still makes my skin crawl when people equate XLB with "dumplings". Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I will say that we lofan have come a long way from the Chinese-Polynesian restaurants of my youth and thinking a Pu Pu Platter was Chinese specialty and Chow Mein was a dish without noodles.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I get that baozi / mantou are different from jiaozi in Chinese, but I think "dumpling" is probably the most accurate translation possible if you're going to refer to them in English.

                    1. re: will47

                      No, XLB are boazi 包子

                      It's based on shape more than anything else.

                      Dumplings, or 餃子, if done properly are generally crescent shaped.

                      Whereas boazi or 包子 are pouch shaped.

                      If you look at pictures of XLB, they are clearly the latter, and not the former.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        You tell 'em, ipse!

                        OK, back to OCD therapy for me...

                        1. re: J.L.

                          Save a seat for me in the room.

                        2. re: ipsedixit

                          I know the difference between the two. Not only is the shape different, but the texture of the dough is somewhat different.

                          My point is that there's rarely a 1:1 mapping that is always applicable with translation. Jiaozi translates to dumpling because that's the closest approximation in English. That doesn't mean that other things do not also translate to "dumpling" in English, because "dumpling" is a less specific word than 'jiaozi'. Baozi is usually rendered as 'bun' in English, and this is confusing, because to me, it implies something made with risen dough. Just because the other type of bao are translated as "bun" doesn't mean that baozi = bun.

                          There are plenty of examples of things we consider to be "dumplings" in English which aren't crescent shaped, aren't Chinese, don't have filling, etc. etc. "Dumpling", to me, is the English word that could best be used to describe what a xlb is, even though a xlb is not a jiaozi. So yes, it's of course more proper to call them baozi (or mantou, if the Wikipedia article is correct about the original Shanghai name for them), but if you're going to render it in English, I don't think it's fair to say that "dumpling" is wrong.

                          1. re: will47

                            Baozi is usually rendered as 'bun' in English, and this is confusing, because to me, it implies something made with risen dough. Just because the other type of bao are translated as "bun" doesn't mean that baozi = bun.

                            This is where we disagree.

                            I'm not sure why you think baozi connotes risen dough.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              I don't!

                              I think that BUN connotes risen dough.

                              Baozi does not, but baozi isn't an English word. Of course, using the Chinese name is more correct. My comment is simply that if you must translate XLB to English, it's not incorrect to call it a dumpling.

                              To put it a different way:
                              All jiaozi are dumplings, but not all dumplings are jiaozi

                              If you have to explain to someone with no knowledge of Chinese what xiaolongbao are, "dumpling" is the name that will best convey the category of thing it is, not "bun".

                          2. re: ipsedixit

                            Just weighing in.

                            If you go by nomenclature. It's a baozi.
                            If you go by the wrapper thickeness and texture, it's more like a dumpling.

                            Regarding shape, I'm going to have to agree with will47. Dumplings to not have to be crescent shaped. Case in point: hargow, shiumai, wonton. Not crescent shaped, but clearly all dumpling by nomenclature and also regarded as dumplings with little disagreement.

                            1. re: Porthos

                              Dumplings to not have to be crescent shaped. Case in point: hargow, shiumai, wonton. Not crescent shaped, but clearly all dumpling by nomenclature and also regarded as dumplings with little disagreement.

                              None of those are dumplings.

                              And I vehemently disagree with the notion that they are "clearly all dumpling [sic] by nomenclature" and regarded as such "little disagreement."

                              I can tell you for a fact that no one in my family considers a wonton a dumpling -- i.e., a joazi 餃子. None of my friends either, for that matter.

                              This raises an interesting point -- and not necessarily something directed at you, Porthos.

                              But why do people need to categorize foods into broad categories, esp. ethnic foods.

                              I don't think there is this tendency for non-ethnic foods (in our case, "American").

                              For example, if someone says, "What is a hamburger? Is it a sandwich?" I think the answer would be "Well, no, it's a hamburger."

                              Same with, say, a hot dog. Do we try to categorize a hot dog as a -- what? -- sandwich? a roll? No, we don't. It's just a hot dog.

                              So, then, going back to the examples in Porthos's post. A shumai is just that -- a shumai. A category all unto itself. Same with hargou, wontons, and dare we say, XLB?

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                None of those are dumplings.

                                And I vehemently disagree with the notion that they are "clearly all dumpling [sic] by nomenclature" and regarded as such "little disagreement

                                "har gow" (cantonese)= "xia jiao" (mandarin) = shrimp dumpling. The nomenclature is clear and these are direct translations so there should be little room for debate. If you're saying that just because it's called "jiao" that it doesn't make it a "dumpling", then you'll have to conceed that just because XLB is called "bao" that it doesn't make it a "bao zhi".

                                As for wonton, I brought that into the mix because the photo JL posted of "dumplings in soup" is actually wonton in soup if I am not mistaken--no crescent shape, triangle flap of adjacent wonton centered in photo. Ingredients of wonton and dumplings can be identical from filler to wrapper except for egg in the wonton wrapper. Egg in the wrapper doesn't disqualify wonton from being a dumpling since that would be like saying pasta that contains egg, is not not pasta.

                                So back to what makes a dumpling a dumpling. You cite only the crescent shape. But a wonton has 3 shapes: the triangle one (the type that looks to be in JL's photos), the one where you fold it into a square first, then connect the ends so it looks like a pillow, and the one where you just pinch the ends together. All 3 shapes are still considered wonton. So shape should not be the only requirement that defines a dumpling or wonton or bao zhi.

                                Now XLB may indeed be a category of its own if we're going to get academic about it. But then that would mean that people calling XLB "dumplings" aren't necessarily wrong.

                                PS. Why such rigid nomenclature for XLB but such blatant disregard for "pork pump"?

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  It's more than just shape, but given the linguistic differences attributable to culture, it's probably the best way to differentiate the two.

                                  But like you said, shape is not a sufficient condition -- a necessary one, maybe -- but not sufficient. Because after all, an ugly dumpling is still a dumpling. Same with har gow, etc.

                                  The point is, what makes a dumpling a dumpling (as opposed to a bao or a bun) is context.

                                  When a relative or a friend says to me, "lets go get some dumplings (餃子)" neither of us will even think of a har gow, XLB, or shumai as possibilities.

                                  In other words, the quiddity of a dumpling, 餃子, transcends cultural differences that cannot be bridged by language.

                                  P.S. And do you mean that the "pump" isn't actually a part of an animal?

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    And do you mean that the "pump" isn't actually a part of an animal?

                                    ***insert adult film joke here***

                                    1. re: Porthos

                                      And do you mean that the "pump" isn't actually a part of an animal?

                                      ***insert adult film joke here***

                                      I think I just lost my appetite for all things dumplings, buns and all parts of the pig ...

                                      Nice chatting with you Porthos. Cheers.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Good chatting with you too. See you in 4-5 days for the next XLB/dumplings/bao zhi discussion :)

                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                      It seems like you're making the same logical flaw (jiaozi -> dumpling so dumpling -> jiaozi) over and over again. [sorry - longer version of this post got eaten by Chowhound after I tried to edit it]

                                      >> When a relative or a friend says to me, "lets go get some dumplings (餃子)" neither of us will even think of a har gow, XLB, or shumai as possibilities. <<

                                      Are you saying this in English or in Chinese? It may well be true that this is what you or I mean when we say "dumpling", but that doesn't make it so for the entire English speaking universe. Further, you're the one arguing *against* a descriptivist model below, when you're the one who's arguing that your usage of the word "dumpling" should trump its dictionary definition. It may be more specific and more correct to say "bao(zI)" (I don't think anyone here is arguing otherwise), but it's useless to someone who doesn't know what a bao is, and that's where general categories come in handy.

                                      Pierogi are dumplings, but not jiaozi. Ok, pierogi are crescent shaped and have filling.... well, gnocchi are also dumplings. Ravioli are also dumplings.

                                      To look at if a different way, if you took 50 native English speakers from the US, with minimal knowledge of Chinese food, and stuck a steamer of xiaolongbao in front of them, what word do you think they'd use to describe them?

                                      And yes, I do consider a hamburger a sandwich.

                                      1. re: will47

                                        Part of the difficulty lies in that certain dishes have become so popular that they have their own distinctive descriptions. For example, the usage of "har gow" or "wonton" have become so specialized that even if they were originally dumplings, they are no longer considered dumplings, which is a more generic description.

                                        A rather *limited* analogy would be someone labeling a bagel as a donut. To a non-Westerner, they are very similar: round with a hole and made of wheat. But to people familiar with them, "bagel" carries a different connotation than "donut". There are also many different types of donuts.

                                        1. re: will47

                                          When I say "Let's go out for dumplings" to my friends or family. No one replies, "Ok, do you want XLB or wontons?" You'd be laughed out of the conversation.

                                          Similarly, if I say "你想吃饺子?" No one I know will answer "你想吃小笼包或馄饨?" Again, you would get quizzical looks.

                                          Just doesn't translate.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            Using that same scenario, if you were to say, I bought some bao zhi from the market. Would anyone assume you meant XLB or be confused as to whether or not you meant XLB? Probably not.

                                            Bascially we've just proven that XLB are XLB and that if someone calls them "soup dumplings" it's understood that they're talking about XLB and not dumplings in soup. Everyone here including JL, Ipse, and Ipse's friends and family knows that soup dumplings = XLB in English.

                                            1. re: Porthos

                                              I can't stand its usage, but alas, the term "soup dumpling" has crept its way into the English vernacular.

                                              The friggin' thing may not even hold any soup at all if it's not properly made!

                                              OK, gotta go back for more OCD therapy...

                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                Does not properly made include oversized renditions with cabbage mixed into the pork filling?

                                              2. re: Porthos

                                                Everyone here including JL, Ipse, and Ipse's friends and family knows that soup dumplings = XLB in English.

                                                Not sure that's true. If you said "soup dumplings" (in English) to my folks, they wouldn't know what the heck you were talking about.

                                                Look, I think my problem is when people say "XLB are dumplings" or "XLB are soup dumplings". Eh, does not compute.

                                                Now, I can stomach (pun intended) if someone were to say "XLB are like dumplings" or "XLB are dumplings with soup inside, or in other words 'soup dumplings'".

                                                I'm ok with people comparing an XLB to a dumpling, but to say that they *are* dumplings is just not correct.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  You keep repeating the same things over and over, but you don't seem to be listening to what anyone else is saying. You also haven't yet said anything that shows that xiaolongbao do not meet the definition of a dumpling, or that it's somehow incorrect to say that they are dumplings, other than "my family and friends mean X when they say 'dumpling', so that's what a dumpling is.".

                                                  Dumpling in English is a very general term, and if jiaozi fits it, so do baozi.


                                                  It is absolutely correct to say that xiaolongbao are dumplings in the same way it's correct to say that gnocchi are -- probably you'll use the more specific term if you know it, but a specific term from another language (e.g., baozi) is 100% useless to someone who doesn't already know what it is.

                                                  "We're going to eat some gnocchi."

                                                  "What are gnocchi?"

                                                  "Well, they're a pillowy Italian dumpling made out of potato and flour".

                                                  As I've said like 8 billion times, of course it's more useful to use the specific term, but xiaolongbao still fit the description of a dumpling just as much as any of the other things we're talking about.

                                                  1. re: will47

                                                    Well, I guess now I'm convinced.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      If you found a section of a menu that said "Dumplings" and under it were listed har gow, shumai, xlb and wontons, each with more specific descriptions under them, would you keel over in a dead faint? Or would you see the category being accurate, as far as an overall heading?

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        If you found a section of a menu that said "Dumplings" and under it were listed har gow, shumai, xlb and wontons, each with more specific descriptions under them, would you keel over in a dead faint? Or would you see the category being accurate, as far as an overall heading?


                                                        I would get up and leave, knowing I was in the wrong restaurant.

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          Had exactly this happen in a Bay Area restaurant last week that even had "Dumpling" in the restaurant's name. The menu itself referred to "buns and dumplings," but the only "real" dumplings were pork dumplings and vegetable dumplings. The rest of the category included beef bing, wontons, XLB, shen jian bao, onion pancakes etc. etc. It was disappointing, but not totally surprising.

                                                      2. re: will47

                                                        While we're at it, XLB are nowadays served in Cantonese dim sum restaurants.
                                                        I thought they were not served in HK dim sum places, but they do now...even Michelin star'd Tim Ho Wan has them, with shark fin inside...

                                                        When certain English speaking foodies say "let's go for dumplings" (in English), they can also mean yum cha even though some of us are thinking "Northern Chinese jiaozi". And XLB inevitably falls in the dumpling clumping lumping of the category.

                                                        Then you go to some Northern restaurant, Shanghainese for example, the Chinese menu or weekend brunch menu says "dien xin", translates to dim sum. Non Chinese folks may think, hey where's the ha gow, siu mai?

                                                        A popular dumpling starch based snack shop that also serves buns + baozi is inevitably called Bao Jiao Dian and inevitably called "Dumpling Shop" in English.

                                                        Such is life.

                                                        1. re: will47

                                                          I think we should just all agree to disagree.

                                                          1. re: raytamsgv

                                                            I think we should settle this with a duel. Or by jousting.

                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                Don't you mean "Dumpling" eating contest? :-)

                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                    Maybe DTF could sponsor a, um, ahem, eating contest a la Nathan's.

                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      You mean the Ding Tai Feng that has "Dumpling House" as its sub-title?

                                                              2. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                Assault weapon, a steamer of XLB

                                                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ApnOy... circa 0:21

                                                                hell hath no further like a dumpling scorned.

                                                                  1. re: scoopG

                                                                    I'd prefer ginger spears, pre-soaked in vinegar, of course.

                                          2. re: will47

                                            Particularly since many Chinese restaurants actually use the term "dumpling" on their menu when referring to XLB, e.g., juicy pork dumplings.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                Except at some point popular usage becomes proper usage and I think a majority of the restaurants serving XLB refer to them as dumplings on their menu.

                                                1. re: Chandavkl

                                                  Isn't that therapy chair lookin' real good right about now?

                                                  1. re: J.L.

                                                    Thanks for all the lessons, but you could call them Chinese Steamed Hot Dough Pockets With Pork or Pork and Crab and Soup Inside, or even just call them Henry and so long as they were good tasting XLB I'd be happy.

                                                    1. re: estone888

                                                      Well at least we are not debating whether it is

                                                      xiao long bao

                                                      xiao long man tou

                                                      guan tang bao

                                                      guan tang bao zi (like how they call it in Xian or parts of the NE)

                                                      tang bao

                                                      tang bao zi

                                                      guan tang xiao long bao

                                                      xiao long tang bao


                                                      1. re: K K

                                                        They also called it 小籠包子 (xiaolong baozi) at a Chinese restaurant named Chugoku Hanten in Japan


                                                  2. re: Chandavkl

                                                    Except at some point popular usage becomes proper usage
                                                    Like pork "pump" in LA.

                                      2. Hey! My reply has been split to a thread unto its own! Truly I am honored, ChowModerators...

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: J.L.

                                          Or maybe you're just a troublemaker!

                                          1. re: Chandavkl

                                            Better a "dumpling maker" than a troublemaker... ;-D>

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              And at this point, as long as it's food and it's good, who cares what the name is? Just eat it!!! :D :D :D

                                        2. Looky this street food vendor in Hualien, eastern part of Taiwan, in a night market and is open 24 hours...at 2:06, their XLB skin is indeed a doughy bun.


                                          Not bad for NT$50 for a whole steamer of 10, which comes to less than US$2.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: K K

                                            These two guys seem to be a combo of Harold and Kumar, Beavis and Butthead and maybe Batman and Robin...hilarious (even without understanding a word) and salivation inducing...

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              Tons of good stuff on the tube.

                                              Here's "kantan xiaolongpo" (simple xlb) a Japanese take quick DIY in 15 minutes, be prepared for a few laughs.


                                              but I am not touching that one....

                                          2. Ah, but they're also known as xiao long TANG bao - or just tang bao - so soup dumplings is completely legit, my good man.

                                            12 Replies
                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              Since there seem to be a goodly number of people well enough versed in Chinese to be able to aswer this question for a "Fan Kwei" like me, I feel the time has come to ask it.
                                              It concerns Cha Siu Bao's cousin the roast pork puff or turnover (called cha siu sou, I believe). My question is as follows, given that the puff is often, for all intents a purposes often a roast pork filled version of a turnover ( I am aware of the fact that the small ones served in dim sum halls are closer to a small enclosed meat pie or pasty (at least what I think of when I think of a pasty, I must confess I am not sure if I have ever had an actual pasty), but the kind sold in the bakeries is often basically a turnover.) so does that mean that if if I was in a chinese bakery and wanted an apple turnover, assuming that chinese bakeries sell apple turnovers (Most of the ones Ive been to do, but I am well aware that when I am in a bakery in Chinatown, I am in a place that is catering to a somewhat Americanized clientele, and that they will have many Western things I would not see in say, a bakery in Beijing or Taipei.) I would be asking for (whatever the Chinese word for apple is) sou? that is are all turnover like pastries called sou or is this unique to the pork one.

                                              1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                The word "soh" 酥, at times synonymous with 酥皮 (soh pei in Cantonese), translates to puff pastry. If the bakery is calling theirs "soh" but is like an apple stick / apple turnover, it is not the right texture to be called that.

                                                1. re: K K

                                                  Hmm, apple puff pastry or turnover ...

                                                  It would either be something like 苹果蛋糕 or 苹果饼 ... don't you think, K K?

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    I personally see the word 酥 to denote texture and layers of the puff pastry, or thin paper strands of dough, that once deep fried, create a fine beautiful light crispy (and messy but fun to eat) experience. The other "soh" would be something like a 162++++ layer Cantonese egg tart puff pastry crust (old school versions have the layers held together with lard).

                                                    For the fried experience, think "fried taro dumplings" or wu gok 芋角 in dim sum, sometimes with the descriptor 蜂巢 (honeycomb) to make it look more elegant (and the really great dim sum places would make the end result such too). Sometimes I use this item as a measuring stick. The more "soh" the exterior layer, the better. Of course the interior is also important, but if the exterior is no good, the whole thing sucks.

                                                    One could in theory use the word "soh" to describe filo dough based pastries (savory or sweet) as well, e.g. Greek desserts, but in a way different in texture.

                                                    Actually the Cantonese pronounciation of "wholesale" sounds almost like the word pie phonetically, some places in Hong Kong might just say 蘋果批 sometimes to refer to apple stick, maybe turnover at the HK style bakeries, but maybe something else at a proper French/Euro/Japanese fusion patisserie. In fact that's what I believe they call the apple pie dessert (baked apple stick) in McDonald's in Hong Kong. Again subject to a lot of interpretation.

                                                    1. re: K K

                                                      Isn't 酥 flaky/crispy in general as in xiang su ya - (fragrant) and crispy (fried) duck?

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        Yes correct, both textures at the same time


                                                        There's also the version of the duck fried with taro (taro duck) that resembles the fried taro "dumpling" (wu gok) in dim sum.


                                                        1. re: K K

                                                          K K,

                                                          I don't disagree.

                                                          But in thinking about it some more I think 餅 would really be the best word, because an apple turnover really is just sort of like a Taiwanese Sun Pastry, or 太陽餅, right?

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            Sure. I only used the Cantonese example of "apple pie" simply because jumpingmonk may be going to a Chinatown bakery, perhaps in Manhattan, and if not Fujianese owned, maybe Cantonese. But 餅 would be perfectly fine too.

                                                            I should pay attention to how my local Chinese/Taiwanese/Cantonese bakery labels apple sticks and turnovers and triangles. Wouldn't be surprised if they called them "soh pie" :-)

                                                        2. re: buttertart

                                                          Yes, 香酥 xiāngsū means "crisp-fried". The word is also used to reinforce the idea of crispiness in 酥脆 sūcuì. For baked goods, 酥 is not used only for flaky puff-pastry or otherwise layered pastry, but also shortcrust pastry, as in Taiwanese 鳳梨酥 fènglísū "pineapple pastry". Even more generally, one translation of "soufflé" is 蛋奶酥 dànnǎisū "egg-milk-SU". So it looks like 酥 can be used to refer to lots of things that are made rich and crunchy/crumbly by the use of fat (but then again, there are also lots of things that fit this description but are not conventionally called 酥). And just as in the case of 餃 and 包, there is no single best and most correct English translation to identify exactly this category of foods to the exclusion of all others.

                                                          To get back to jumpingmonk's question, I would say 蘋果酥 for an apple turnover, no problem.

                                                          1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                            Love the precision and comprehensiveness of Chinese food words.

                                                            1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                              To get back to jumpingmonk's question, I would say 蘋果酥 for an apple turnover, no problem.

                                                              Yeah, totally agree.

                                                    2. re: jumpingmonk

                                                      Oh boy, pasties - my son still thinks Janet Jackson invented pasties after the 2004 Super Bowl half-time show.

                                                  2. So I was at 101 Noodle Express in Irvine today and had a funny moment that was very appropriate to this discussion.

                                                    The Chinese mother of 3 next to me dug into her dumplings and exclaimed: "I love these! They are so juicy...just like XLB!"

                                                    I almost burned myself laughing while eating my dumpling with images of JL and Ipse scolding the woman and doing the Family Guy Evil Monkey finger point.

                                                    Also, while looking over the menu, I was reminded of another epic dumpling nomenclature thread. Pan fried dumplings. Are they "jian jiao" or "gwou-tei"? I think that thread had the exact same players in this thread. And if memory serves me correctly, I think Ipse was firmly on the "gwou-tei" side proclaiming that friends and family only call it "gwou-tei" and a few people saying they've *NEVER* heard of it being called jian jiao.

                                                    For whatever it's worth, all the pan fried dumplings at 101 Noodle Express are called "jian jiao".

                                                    The 2007 thread:


                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                      Sometimes life is funnier than Chowhound, eh?

                                                      A little off-topic.

                                                      But would one call a ravioli a "dumpling"? What about a calzone? Or to take it back to the Far East, how about those sesame balls found on dim sum trays? Dumplings?

                                                      And if we abide by the broad definition of dumplings, are gnocchi not dumplings as well?

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        Hmm, my dumpling definition requires there to be a filling so that would exlude gnocchi.

                                                        I'm in the camp that XLB=XLB and that it's neither and at the same time both dumpling and bao zhi. But like it or not soup dumplings now equal XLB and are as specific as the term XLB. No one confuses them with dumplings in soup. If someone wants dumplings in soup, they will ask for dumplings in soup. Not soup dumplings.

                                                        As for sesame balls, I think you and I and everyone here will agree that sesame balls = sesame balls and that no one considers them dumplings.

                                                        Finally, since we're off topic, there is also the salt-water dumpling in dim sum that's football shaped and unlike your rigid crescent shaped dumpling definition. That dumpling is also "jiao" in nomenclature.

                                                        You better get this wikipedia entry changed :)


                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                          I'll change that link, while you change this Wiki link on gnocchi.


                                                          Cheers! :-)

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            Well, I guess we need to clarify Far East vs Western style dumplings. We were debating Far East style dumplings and definitions.

                                                            Gnocchi is clearly a Western style dumpling as in chicken and dumplings (NOT chicken dumplings) and matzah ball type of dumplings.



                                                          2. re: Porthos

                                                            Those "salt water" dumpling are in fact my go to dish in the bakeries currently (Despte my earlier comments, i dont eat that many roast pork puffs anymore, it's hard to find one that's actually worth the mess they cause) (I assume we are talking about the same thing a small (if in a dim sum hall) or large (if in a bakery) vaugely football shaped fried thing made of glutinous rice dough stuffed with ground mean, shrimp, veggies or (usually) a mixture of the three and fried.
                                                            As for the ravioli question, ti muddle up things further I think there is a kind of Chinese dumpling that is similar to a ravilot (that is that uses two peices of dough instead of one. It think it's called something like a "meat box".

                                                        2. re: Porthos

                                                          煎餃 Jian Jiao is used quite a lot across Taiwan, even going so far to describe rectangular almost crepe thin sized "yaki gyoza" at local ramen shops (very similar to Daikokuya Little Tokyo when it was still decent 4 years ago) to renditions that resemble jiaozi (crescent shaped) but are pan fried with a crispy bottom.

                                                          Guo Tie literally pot sticker (vs pan fried jiao) has a more definitive shape at least in TW, particularly the Taiwanese variety that are thicker looking logs, and are generally linked together and very crispy at the edges and bottom, and a much much much much larger than jiaozi (boiled or fried). Ever been to 5 Joy in Foster City? They do it closer to an area in Taipei once famous for guo tie (Zhong Hwa Road).

                                                          Now ling ling's costco. I love that stuffed pan fried or boiled. But to me they are Americanized pot stickers, resembling jiaozi (although larger sized) than the authentic TW ones sold at night markets.

                                                          1. re: Porthos

                                                            Ugh, is that the thread where people started saying "jiaozHi"? Please stop that, people. It's "jiǎoZi" (and "bāoZi").

                                                            And in my opinion (and experience), "jiānjiǎo" and "guōtiē" are interchangeable names for the same thing. If you grew up saying "guōtiē" and you never ever heard anyone anywhere say "jiānjiǎo", by all means, continue saying "guōtiē" and pretending like you have no idea what "jiānjiǎo" are. Or vice versa. The rest of us will just continue eating.

                                                            1. re: Porthos

                                                              Dude, I'm still in nomenclature therapy. Count me out of this East Pacific/West Pacific feud.

                                                              At this point, y'all can call any food item whatever the heck you want, for all I care. Woosahhhh...