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Nine Dumplings In Yunnan


by Auguste Schooley



Welcome to the fascinating world of food travel in Yunnan, China! Yunnan is a province known for its rich culinary traditions and diverse regional cuisines. From hearty street snacks to elaborate banquet dishes, Yunnan offers a tantalizing array of flavors and ingredients that will leave any food lover in awe.


One of the most delightful culinary experiences you can have in Yunnan is exploring the world of dumplings. Dumplings, or jiaozi, are an integral part of Chinese cuisine, and Yunnan has its own unique twist on this beloved dish. Yunnan dumplings are known for their exquisite flavors, vibrant colors, and delicate textures.


In this article, we will take you on a mouthwatering journey through Yunnan, introducing you to nine must-try dumplings that will awaken your taste buds and leave you craving for more. From the iconic Xuanwei Ham Dumplings to the sweet and savory Xizhou Pineapple Rice Dumplings, each dumpling tells a story and represents the distinct culinary heritage of its respective region.


So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to embark on a delectable adventure as we unveil the secrets behind Yunnan’s most tantalizing dumplings. Whether you’re an adventurous foodie or simply curious about the culinary wonders of Yunnan, this article will guide you through a culinary journey that is sure to leave you hungry for more.


Xuanwei Ham Dumplings

When it comes to dumplings in Yunnan, Xuanwei Ham Dumplings are undoubtedly on the top of the list. Originating from the Xuanwei County in northeast Yunnan, these dumplings are a true culinary masterpiece.


The key ingredient that sets these dumplings apart is the famous Xuanwei ham. Known for its intense flavor and delicate texture, Xuanwei ham is considered a gourmet ingredient in Chinese cuisine. The ham is finely diced and mixed with a blend of seasonings, including soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, to create a savory filling.


What makes Xuanwei Ham Dumplings truly special is the unique wrapping technique. The dumpling skin is meticulously folded and pleated by skilled dumpling artisans, creating a beautiful and intricate pattern. When cooked, the dumplings become tender and juicy, with the filling oozing out delicious flavors with every bite.


These dumplings are typically served with a dipping sauce made from vinegar, soy sauce, and chili oil, adding a tangy and spicy kick to the already flavorful dumplings.


To fully appreciate the authentic Xuanwei Ham Dumplings, it’s recommended to visit Xuanwei County and sample them from local restaurants or street vendors. The combination of the skillfully crafted dumplings and the premium Xuanwei ham will undoubtedly leave you craving for more.


Whether you’re a fan of savory delights or simply looking to indulge in Yunnan’s culinary treasures, Xuanwei Ham Dumplings are a must-try for every food enthusiast visiting the province.


Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles Dumplings

One of the most iconic Yunnan dishes is the Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles, and it has its own unique variation of dumplings. This legendary dish originates from the city of Kunming and is a true Yunnan culinary gem.


The story behind the name “Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles” is as intriguing as the dish itself. Legend has it that a scholar’s wife used to bring him hot and freshly cooked rice noodles across a long bridge in order to preserve their warmth and flavor. As a result, the dish was named Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles.


Now, let’s talk about the dumplings in this dish. The dumplings in Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles are usually made with a translucent rice flour wrapper, giving them a delicate and slightly chewy texture. They are filled with a variety of ingredients, such as thinly sliced meats, mushrooms, tofu, and vegetables.


What makes these dumplings truly unique is that they are served in a deliciously rich and flavorful broth. The hot broth is poured over the dumplings at the table, allowing them to cook gently and soak up the fragrant flavors.


As you enjoy this dish, you’ll notice the harmonious blend of textures and flavors. The dumplings, tender and filled with tasty ingredients, complement the comforting warmth of the broth. The combination of the silky rice noodles, savory broth, and flavorful dumplings create a truly satisfying culinary experience.


When visiting Yunnan, be sure to seek out a local restaurant or street vendor that specializes in Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles. It’s a dish that captures the essence of Yunnan’s cuisine and offers a delightful interplay of flavors and textures in every spoonful.


So, don’t miss the opportunity to try the dumplings in this famous Yunnan dish. Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles Dumplings will transport you to the heart of Yunnan’s culinary tradition and leave you yearning for more.


Erkuai Dumplings

Erkuai Dumplings are another unique and delicious dumpling variety that showcases the culinary diversity of Yunnan. Erkuai, a type of chewy rice cake, is the star ingredient in these dumplings.


Erkuai is made by steaming fermented rice batter, resulting in a soft and slightly elastic texture. The traditional method of making erkuai involves soaking the rice, grinding it into a paste, fermenting it, and then steaming it. This labor-intensive process produces a distinctive flavor and texture that is beloved by many in Yunnan.


To turn erkuai into dumplings, small pieces of the rice cake are flattened and wrapped around flavorful fillings. The fillings can vary, but popular options include minced meat, vegetables, or a combination of both. The dumplings are then pan-fried until crispy on the outside, creating a delightful contrast of textures.


The unique texture of erkuai and the combination of flavors in the fillings make Erkuai Dumplings an enjoyable and satisfying treat. The chewiness of the rice cake, paired with the savory and aromatic fillings, provides a delightful dining experience.


You can find Erkuai Dumplings at local street vendors, where they are often served as a popular snack or breakfast item. Eating these dumplings on the go or sitting down at a bustling street-side eatery will give you a true taste of the local Yunnan culinary scene.


So, if you’re looking to try something different and explore the diverse dumpling offerings of Yunnan, don’t miss out on the delicious Erkuai Dumplings. They showcase the creativity and ingenuity of Yunnan’s food culture, and will surely leave you wanting more.


Mushroom Dumplings

Yunnan is known for its rich biodiversity, and mushrooms play a prominent role in the local cuisine. Mushroom Dumplings are a must-try delicacy for mushroom lovers and culinary adventurers alike.


Yunnan is home to numerous edible mushroom varieties, including the famous wild mushrooms like matsutake, morel, and porcini. These flavorful mushrooms are often used in Yunnan’s cuisine, and they take center stage in Mushroom Dumplings.


The dumpling filling is made by sautéing a variety of mushrooms with garlic, ginger, and other seasonings. This mixture is then combined with ingredients like tofu, vegetables, or minced meat to create a flavorful and satisfying filling.


The dumpling wrappers used for Mushroom Dumplings are typically thin and delicate, allowing the flavors of the mushrooms to shine through. Once the dumplings are assembled, they can be steamed, boiled, or pan-fried, depending on personal preference.


When you bite into a Mushroom Dumpling, you’ll experience a burst of earthy flavors and the natural umami of the mushrooms. The combination of the tender wrapper and the savory filling creates a delightful texture and taste.


To fully savor Mushroom Dumplings, it’s recommended to pair them with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, vinegar, and a touch of chili oil. The tangy and slightly spicy sauce enhances the flavors of the dumplings, creating a harmonious balance.


Exploring Yunnan’s culinary scene wouldn’t be complete without trying the Mushroom Dumplings. Whether you’re a vegetarian or simply appreciate the delightful flavors of mushrooms, these dumplings are a testament to the region’s diverse and delicious ingredients.


So, if you find yourself in Yunnan, don’t miss the chance to indulge in the earthy and aromatic Mushroom Dumplings. They are a true delight for the senses and a perfect representation of Yunnan’s extraordinary edible mushroom varieties.


Steam Pot Chicken Dumplings

If you’re a fan of succulent and flavorful chicken dishes, then Steam Pot Chicken Dumplings are a must-try when exploring Yunnan’s culinary scene. These dumplings are a delightful combination of tender chicken and aromatic seasonings.


The filling for Steam Pot Chicken Dumplings starts with finely minced chicken, which is mixed with a combination of herbs, spices, and seasonings. Common ingredients include ginger, garlic, scallions, and soy sauce, which infuse the filling with a fragrant and savory flavor profile.


The dumpling wrappers used for Steam Pot Chicken Dumplings are typically thin, allowing the juicy and flavorful filling to be showcased. Once the dumplings are assembled, they are steamed in a pot, ensuring that the chicken becomes tender and moist, while the flavors meld together to create a delightful dumpling experience.


When you take a bite of a Steam Pot Chicken Dumpling, you’ll be greeted with a burst of savory chicken, complemented by the aromatic blend of herbs and spices. The texture is soft and moist, making each dumpling a delectable treat for your taste buds.


Traditionally, Steam Pot Chicken Dumplings are served with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, vinegar, and a hint of sesame oil. This sauce adds a tangy and umami-rich element to the dumplings, elevating their flavors to a new level.


Whether you’re exploring Yunnan’s bustling food markets or dining in a local restaurant, be sure to seek out Steam Pot Chicken Dumplings. They represent the rich flavors and culinary traditions of the region, and are sure to satisfy your cravings for a delectable chicken dish.


So, if you’re ready to feast on mouthwatering chicken dumplings, don’t miss the opportunity to savor the exquisite Steam Pot Chicken Dumplings in Yunnan. Your taste buds will thank you for it!


Yiliang Roast Duck Dumplings

Yiliang County in Yunnan is famous for its succulent roast duck, and the culinary creativity of the region has given birth to a delectable dumpling variation – Yiliang Roast Duck Dumplings. These dumplings showcase the rich flavors of roast duck in a bite-sized package.


The filling for Yiliang Roast Duck Dumplings is made by finely shredding the flavorful meat of roast duck. The tender duck meat is then mixed with a selection of seasonings, including ginger, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and a hint of five-spice powder. The resulting filling is both savory and aromatic.


The dumpling wrappers used for Yiliang Roast Duck Dumplings are slightly thicker to hold the robust filling. The dumplings are typically steamed or pan-fried, enabling the flavors to meld together and creating a crispy texture on the outside while keeping the inside moist and succulent.


With each bite into a Yiliang Roast Duck Dumpling, you’ll experience an explosion of rich and savory flavors, with the tender duck meat complemented by the aromatic spices. These dumplings are a true flavor sensation that will leave you craving more.


When enjoying Yiliang Roast Duck Dumplings, it’s common to pair them with a dipping sauce made from a combination of soy sauce, vinegar, and a touch of chili oil. This adds a tangy and slightly spicy dimension to the dumplings, elevating their flavors to new heights.


If you’re a fan of roast duck or seeking a unique dumpling experience, make sure to try Yiliang Roast Duck Dumplings when you’re in Yunnan. These dumplings embody the culinary innovation and excellence of the region, delivering a memorable taste of Yunnan’s roast duck tradition.


So, don’t miss the chance to indulge in the flavorsome Yiliang Roast Duck Dumplings. They offer a delightful fusion of roast duck and dumpling craftsmanship that is sure to satisfy your culinary cravings.


Tengchong Porridge Dumplings

Tengchong, a city nestled in western Yunnan, is renowned for its unique and delicious Tengchong Porridge Dumplings. These dumplings combine the comforting goodness of porridge with the flavors of a traditional dumpling, resulting in a delightful culinary experience.


The filling for Tengchong Porridge Dumplings typically consists of a mixture of minced meat, vegetables, and seasonings, all cooked in a thick, creamy rice porridge. The porridge adds a silky and creamy texture to the dumpling filling, making it incredibly flavorful and satisfying.


The dumpling wrappers used for Tengchong Porridge Dumplings are usually thicker to hold the hearty filling. The dumplings are traditionally steamed, allowing the flavors to meld together while retaining the smooth and creamy texture of the porridge.


When you take a bite of a Tengchong Porridge Dumpling, you’ll experience a harmonious blend of flavors. The meat, vegetables, and seasonings intertwine with the comforting porridge, creating a delicious and comforting combination that is sure to warm your soul.


These dumplings are often enjoyed as a breakfast or lunch option, providing a nourishing and satisfying meal. The combination of the heartiness of the porridge and the delightful flavors of the dumpling filling make Tengchong Porridge Dumplings a beloved dish in the region.


To enhance the flavors of Tengchong Porridge Dumplings, it’s common to pair them with soy sauce and a touch of chili oil. This adds a delightful umami kick and a hint of spiciness, complementing the flavors of the dumplings.


If you find yourself in Tengchong or have the opportunity to explore the culinary delights of Yunnan, don’t miss the chance to try Tengchong Porridge Dumplings. They offer a unique twist on traditional dumplings, showcasing the creativity and culinary expertise of the region.


So, treat yourself to the comforting flavors of Tengchong Porridge Dumplings, and savor the unique blend of creamy porridge and savory fillings that make this dish a true culinary gem in Yunnan.


Jianshui Bean Paste Dumplings

Jianshui, a historic town in southern Yunnan, is famous for its traditional fermented bean paste, which is a key ingredient in Jianshui Bean Paste Dumplings. These dumplings offer a unique and savory flavor profile that is beloved by locals and visitors alike.


The filling for Jianshui Bean Paste Dumplings consists of a generous amount of Jianshui fermented bean paste, combined with ground pork or other minced meats. The bean paste adds a distinctive umami flavor to the filling, while the meat provides a hearty and satisfying texture.


The dumpling wrappers used for Jianshui Bean Paste Dumplings are typically thin and delicate, allowing the flavors of the filling to shine through. The dumplings are traditionally boiled, which helps to seal in the flavors and create a soft and tender texture.


When you take a bite of a Jianshui Bean Paste Dumpling, you’ll be greeted with a burst of savory flavors from the fermented bean paste, complemented by the richness of the meat. The combination creates a delightful harmony of flavors that is both satisfying and addictive.


These dumplings are often enjoyed as a snack or appetizer, showcasing the culinary legacy of Jianshui. Their unique flavor profile distinguishes them from other dumplings in Yunnan, making them a must-try for food enthusiasts.


To elevate the flavors of Jianshui Bean Paste Dumplings, it’s common to serve them with a dipping sauce made from a mix of soy sauce, vinegar, and a touch of sesame oil. This complements the savory flavors of the dumplings and adds a tangy dimension to the overall taste.


If you have the chance to visit Jianshui or explore the culinary treasures of Yunnan, make sure to sample the Jianshui Bean Paste Dumplings. They represent the distinct flavors and culinary heritage of the region, offering a memorable dining experience.


So, prepare your taste buds for a delightful adventure and savor the unique flavors of Jianshui Bean Paste Dumplings. They are sure to leave a lasting impression and a craving for more.


Xizhou Pineapple Rice Dumplings

For a sweet and fruity twist on traditional dumplings, look no further than Xizhou Pineapple Rice Dumplings. These delightful dumplings combine the flavors of juicy pineapple and sticky rice, creating a unique and mouthwatering treat.


Xizhou, a town located on the shores of Erhai Lake in Yunnan, is known for its abundant pineapple plantations. The pineapples grown in this region are exceptionally sweet and aromatic, making them the perfect ingredient for a delectable dessert dumpling.


The filling for Xizhou Pineapple Rice Dumplings features a mixture of glutinous rice and finely diced pineapple. The pineapple adds a burst of tropical sweetness, while the glutinous rice provides a sticky and chewy texture that pairs perfectly with the fruit.


The dumplings are typically wrapped in bamboo leaves, which impart a subtle earthy aroma to the dish. Once assembled, they are either steamed or boiled, allowing the flavors to meld together and creating a soft and tender outer layer.


When you take a bite of a Xizhou Pineapple Rice Dumpling, you’ll be greeted with a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The sweet and tangy pineapple harmonizes with the sticky and slightly savory glutinous rice, creating a satisfying treat for your taste buds.


Xizhou Pineapple Rice Dumplings are often enjoyed as a dessert or a special treat during festivals and celebrations. The bright and refreshing flavors of the pineapples make these dumplings a delightful way to end a meal or satisfy your craving for something sweet.


If you’re visiting Xizhou or have the opportunity to try Yunnan’s culinary delights, make sure to indulge in the unique and delightful Xizhou Pineapple Rice Dumplings. They offer a taste of the region’s tropical bounty and showcase the culinary innovation of Yunnan’s dessert offerings.


So, don’t miss out on the chance to savor the delightfully sweet and sticky Xizhou Pineapple Rice Dumplings. They are a true treat for the senses and a perfect way to end your culinary journey through Yunnan.



Exploring the world of dumplings in Yunnan is truly a culinary adventure. From the savory Xuanwei Ham Dumplings to the sweet and fruity Xizhou Pineapple Rice Dumplings, each variety offers a unique and tantalizing experience that showcases the diversity of Yunnan’s cuisine.


Yunnan’s dumplings are a true reflection of the region’s rich culinary heritage, incorporating local ingredients and cooking techniques to create a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. Whether you prefer meat-filled dumplings like the Xuanwei Ham Dumplings or vegetarian options like the Mushroom Dumplings, there is something to satisfy every palate.


In addition to their delicious taste, Yunnan’s dumplings are often steeped in tradition and cultural significance. They are a way to connect with the local communities and delve into the stories and history behind each dumpling variety.


So, the next time you find yourself in Yunnan, be sure to embark on a culinary journey to sample the incredible array of dumplings that the province has to offer. From vibrant street markets to cozy local restaurants, there are endless opportunities to discover these delightful dumplings and indulge in the flavors of Yunnan.


Whether you’re a food enthusiast looking for an authentic gastronomic experience or simply someone who appreciates the art of dumpling-making, Yunnan’s diverse and flavorful dumplings will leave you with unforgettable memories and a newfound appreciation for the culinary treasures of this remarkable province.


So, grab your chopsticks and get ready for a dumpling-filled adventure in Yunnan – a food lover’s paradise!