We all love Chinese dumplings, but why limit yourself? This list is full, much like our favorite stuffed foods, with a meaty collection of options from around the world. Whether it’s Shanghainese xiaolongbao or Siberian pelmeni, you’ll find something to to satisfy your craving here.
Shanghai, Chili Wok
Soup dumplings, or xiaolongbao, entered the American mainstream in the last decade or so. In NoVA, the mania hit fever pitch more recently with the openings of Yu Noodle’s locations around the region. And while we love the pink-hued spicy version, the best soup dumplings we’ve had recently have been at this tiny Szechuan restaurant. Slurping up the gingery broth is guaranteed to warm your heart. 335 Maple Ave. E., Vienna
Northern China, Dumpling Queen
Variety is a selling point at this Chantilly specialist. Available either steamed or pan-fried, choose from 30 different fillings, many of which you won’t find elsewhere in NoVA. Our favorites include the unexpectedly light fish-and-cilantro, the tangy pork-and-sour-cabbage, and juicy lamb-and-carrot. 13942 Metrotech Dr., Chantilly
Turkey, Oxus 7
Mantis are bite-sized Turkish beef-filled dumplings. At this colorful Ashburn restaurant, the slippery little guys are bathed in garlicky yogurt and a collection of herbs and spices, including dried mint. It’s a heaping portion, so be prepared for leftovers, but just think of it as more to love. 20937 Ashburn Rd., Ste. 125, Ashburn
Nepal, Roadhouse Momo & Grill
Himalayan momos may be among the best spiced dumplings on the planet. Find excellent versions at gas station restaurant, Everest Momo Plus in Chantilly, and the more upscale Ashburn spot, Himalayan Wild Yak. But the juiciest, most flavorful in NoVA are at this strip mall eatery. Get them filled with vegetables, chicken, pork, or buffalo, then choose if you want them served in sauce, fried, or steamed. 44050 Ashburn Shopping Plz., Ste. 151, Ashburn
Russia and Uzbekistan, Rus Uz
This duo of restaurants specializes in Uzbek and Russian cuisines. That means twice the international dumpling options. On the Uzbek side, the Central Asian country’s own version of mantis, which are larger and more rustic than Turkish ones, are filled with beef and onions and drizzled in tomato and yogurt sauces. Meanwhile, Siberian pelmeni are boiled to create a plate of ultra-comforting mini dumplings beneath a layer of yogurt. 210 Swamp Fox Rd., Alexandria; 1000 N. Randolph St., Arlington
Italian chef Fabio Trabocchi is a whiz with stuffed pasta, our favorite variety of Italian dumpling. The thin-skinned wonders here change seasonally, but the braised beef agnolotti de plin is on the menu’s hall of fame. This is our most expensive dumpling at $28-a-plate, but the truffle pesto that dresses the hearty strands of beef within is more than worth its price of admission. 1100 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Feature image of dumplings at Roadhouse Momo & Grill by Tyson Bateman
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