Dumplings, Momos & Dimsum- What’s the Difference?

Momos aren’t just another regular Chinese dish- it’s a feeling that you have to experience. Momos are ideal for the time when we need a small, healthy bite which is not too heavy on the stomach. The ball-sized dumplings, filled with vegetables, steamed to perfection, and served with hot and spicy dips are just the ideal dish to cheer you up on a low day. And you can’t stop by eating just one! But wait- aren’t Dumplings supposedly Chinese? And if they are, what in the world is Dimsum? Before you go berserk with the number of Momo-related dishes, we’re here to decode these dishes, and some more of their relatives and cousins, only for you!

1. Dumplings

Dumplings dumpling, everywhere! We have Pork dumplings, chicken dumplings, fish dumplings, and even vegetable dumplings that can be steamed, pan-fried, deep fried, or boiled- there are just so many different kinds of dumplings out there. Before you get overwhelmed, just know this- a dumpling is an all-encompassing term for a small snack. Dumplings are just wheat-based snacks with some fillings, or at times there is no filling at all! So, even an Italian Gnocchi or Ravioli, or even our very own Indian Samosa will qualify as a dumpling!

2. Dimsum

The term “Dimsum” originates from Chinese lexicon, and literally translates to “touch the heart”. Tea always accompanies the humble dimsum as it is almost never served by itself. There are so many different kinds of dimsum, including sweet ones too! Dimsum can also be made with any kind of flour- be it rice, or wheat, or even potato starch. A dimsum’s outer coverings are semi, or at times, even fully transparent and the fillings are finely diced and chopped. Dimsum dining is often an exquisite affair- sometimes even rolling over to being a fine-dining experience. Even spring rolls can qualify as a dimsum, though not all dimsum can be called dumplings.  Doesn’t seem as complicated now, does it?

3. Momos

Now, coming to our beloved sweethearts- Momos are originally not even Chinese! They are the Tibetan or Nepalese counterparts of the Dimsum. Momos were never intended to be a fine-dining experience- which is why they are humbler and more ubiquitous, in terms of availability. Momos are also less of a fine-dining experience and more of an everyday thing. They are traditionally supposed to be only steamed, made with wheat flour, and usually always stuffed with some filling. Moreover, momos, unlike dimsum, are mostly eaten alone without any kind of beverage accompanying it. However, momos can be referred to as a kind of dumpling! Got it?

4. Wontons

These are a kind of dumpling that are traditionally found in the Northern regions of China. Unlike their brothers, the dimsum, and the momo- wontons are more square-ish in shape and slightly more fine in their texture and are also fried to golden-brown perfection. The fillings inside are also flavoured intensely with garlic and ginger- thereby giving the humble Wonton a unique place in the dumpling hall of fame! The garlic-cheese Wontons are our all-time personal favourites- oozing with cheese and crispy, flaky brown from the outside!

5. Gyoza

The gyoza is a much more recent addition to the dumpling family, and it comes all the way from Japan! The gyoza has a much thinner outer layer, and the fillings are also more finely chopped. The Japanese gyoza is a close cousin of the Chinese dimsum- but there are subtle differences in the flavor, texture, and cooking techniques of both.

Now that you know how to identify and address the dumplings that you actually like, go ahead and stuff your stomach with these one-of-a-kind delicacies!



1 thought on “Dumplings, Momos & Dimsum- What’s the Difference?”

  1. Aung

    Very food precise article about Dupmling and Momo family.
    Thank you

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