Dumplings have been around for centuries, spanning cultures and cuisines the world over. Although the exact details surrounding their origins remain unknown, one of the most widely accepted beliefs points to the second or third century and Zhang Zhongjing, a Chinese shaman who lived during the Eastern Han Dynasty. As the tale goes, Zhongjing made a meal of mutton, herbs, and chilis by wrapping them in dough and steaming them. The rest, as they say, is history.
Chefs still use this method to create some of the most creative, delectable dishes with variations that include non-Asian items from Italian ravioli to Latin empanadas.
If it's the real deal you're after, however, finding authentic dumplings in the Magic City is getting easier thanks to a growing number of restaurants serving this simple (if addictive) fare.
Here are six Miami restaurants to celebrate National Dumpling Day this Saturday, September 25.
Haochi at Union Beer Store1547 SW Eighth St., Miami
Working at various Miami establishments over the course of his professional career, Victoriano Hernandez — known to fans and friends as "Chef Shaggy" — always found himself serving an Asian dish for his team's family meal. During the pandemic, Hernandez began experimenting with recipes he learned while working at Blackbrick Chinese, dreaming up his favorite Asian riffs via a pop-up he dubbed Haochi, a Mandarin word that translates as "yummy." These days, he's earned himself a new nickname: "Dumpling Meng." What began as an exploration of all things dumpling evolved into a Cantonese-and-Korean-inspired gastropub pop-up that’s grown into a flourishing catering business. Haochi's menu offers everything from sticky hoisin ribs and handmade edamame dumplings to beef-and-duck-fat gyoza and kimchi-stuffed croquetas ($9 per order). Available Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday from 4 p.m. to close at Union Beer Store.
Komodo801 Brickell Ave., Miami
Komodo offers a short list of dumplings that are more glam than your average dim sum. Here, you can find dumplings dressed in gold or stuffed with Wagyu beef, offering a mashup of sweet and savory flavors. Don't miss the "Money Bag," plump dumplings folded into tiny, purse-shaped globes rife with pork and shrimp and topped with tobiko and gold leaf flakes ($32). Additional options feature lobster, Wagyu beef, or truffle mushroom.
3015 Grand Ave. Ste. 201, Coconut Grove
At Planta Queen in Coconut Grove, executive chef David Lee fills the void in the market of upscale, full-service, plant-based dining. Here he offers his Disco & Dumplings, where, starting at 5 p.m. daily, guests can indulge in dumplings like spinach shiitake, crispy gyoza, potato truffle, or crispy wontons for $20 a platter.
Sushi Fly Chicken1575 Alton Rd., Miami Beach
wagyu Sushi Fly Chicken offers sushi and fried chicken, as its name implies, but the Peking duck bao dumplings are a must-try. They boast a blend of contrasting flavors and textures thanks to buns so pillowy, they soak up all the juices from the crispy duck ($20).
Yip143 NW 23rd St., Miami
This new fast-casual dim sum restaurant in Wynwood is run by its very own shifu (master), who creates small batches of dumplings each morning. Established by the Gold Marquess family from Pembroke Pines, Yip is all about making Chinese food accessible to South Floridians, offering authentic recipes like steamed har gao and xiao long bao (soup) dumplings. Dumplings start at $7.38 per order (and may vary by location). With additional locations at Doral Yard and Aventura, Yip is making it that much easier to find good Chinese food — including dumplings — on the go.
Zitz Sum396 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables
Dumplings are a focus at Zitz Sum, where chef/owner Pablo Zitzmann offers a culinary mashup of Asian, Mexican, Latin American, and Italian influences — i.e., not quite the traditional approach to dim sum. Try the pork in "phrodo," a hybrid dumpling-tortellini riff on wonton soup ($15) wherein ground pork shoulder is flavored with aromatics, then tucked into a tortellini-like wrapper and plunged into a Japanese dashi broth infused with Parmesan rinds and a touch of soy. Another Italian-Asian-Latin blend not to be missed: shrimp har gow ($17), served in the chef's stewlike ragout flecked with minced pork and garnished with fresh cilantro.