Pieces of dough, wrapped around fillings, and cooked. There aren’t many simpler, more rewarding dishes than dumplings. Maybe that’s why you’ll find variations of them around the globe, from empanadas to pierogi to samosas.

Chinese dumplings in particular contain a world of nuance: delicate seasoning, subtle flavors emboldened by savory sauces and, of course, fresh ingredients artfully presented.

There are several origin stories tied to Chinese dumplings, or jiaozi, but this is the most popular: During the Han Dynasty, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine named Zhang Zhongjian tried to cure citizens of his ancestral home who were suffering from frostbite on their ears by combining mutton, chile and medicinal herbs and wrapping it dough. He folded the dumplings to resemble ears, boiled them and gave them out to the poor along with the broth.

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Steamed vegetable dumplings at Dumpling Tea.

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Beef and green chile dumplings from Chang’s Dumpling House.

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Grab-and-go dumplings from Golden Land Cafe.

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