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The Unique History of Dumplings

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Did you know that a dumpling eating record was set in Sydney, Australia in 2019?

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, they held a celebration in Sydney in which 764 people all ate dumplings at the same time. They met the previous record in 2013 when 750 individuals participated.

Whether you choose to eat them at a massive celebration or in the comfort of your home, dumplings are an indisputable part of global cuisine. But where exactly did this tasty meal stem from?

We’re here to fill you in! Check out our guide below to learn the evolution and ancient history of dumplings! 

Intro to the History of Dumplings

Dumplings have popped up in various cultures throughout history. The easiest way to narrow down their origin though is by first asking: what is a dumpling?

Dumplings are pieces of dough that are fried, boiled, steamed, or baked. Typically the dough holds meat or vegetable fillings. Occasionally the dough is cooked without fillings.

We can trace dumpling-like recipes as far back as Ancient Rome. However, the classic dumpling we all know and love has its origins in Ancient China.

The history of Chinese dumplings began over 1,800 years ago under the Eastern Han Dynasty. A man named Zhang Zhongjian returned to his home village and found that the villagers were suffering from frostbite.

Zhongjian was a medicinal practitioner and searched for a way to assist his fellow villagers. To fight the cold, Zhongjian blended together meat, vegetables, and herbs and wrapped the mixture in scraps of dough. The dumplings were then steamed to bind all the ingredients together.

It’s believed that Zhongjian used his skills as a doctor to create the dumplings. He chose herbs that would help combat frostbite and keep the villagers safe and healthy.

The steaming hot dish was a good way to fight the ill effects of a harsh winter. The villagers enjoyed the meal so much that they continued to make dumpings even when spring arrived.

The Spread of Dumplings

The history of dumplings doesn’t end with its conception in Ancient China nearly 2,000 years ago. Dumplings have pervaded throughout the centuries, and they’ve evolved and changed to fit the needs of the people.

We can see the passage of dumplings as early as the 1300s. At this time, traders often carried their goods along the Silk Road. It’s suspected that this is how one dumpling recipe came to pass from one culture to the next.

At this time, it’s suspected that the Turkish peoples adopted the manti dumplings, likely from the Mongolian peoples traversing the Silk Road. Manti dumplings are made from a spiced meat mixture—typically lamb or ground beef—which is then wrapped in a thin dough before they’re boiled or steamed.

This type of dumpling is most commonly compared to the Chinese jiaozi and baozi dumplings. The manti steamed buns are now a staple even in Russia and post-Soviet countries, where they’ve crossed over from Central Asia.

Pierogi is the Polish word for dumplings and another dumpling variety that many Westerners have grown familiar with. Pierogi—which is actually the plural of the word pieróg—are a Polish staple and are even commemorated with a yearly festival. These dumplings, wrapped in unleavened dough, are stuffed with either savory or sweet fillings before they’re boiled and then pan-fried.

Pierogi have a debated origin story. However, some suspect that pierogi entered Poland from China via the Silk Road, much like the manti dumplings that emerged in Turkish culture. 

Additional Cultural Adaptations

While China is often considered the earliest origin site for what we now refer to as dumplings, other dumpling variations have cropped up around the globe since then. Whether you travel through Latin America, Africa, or Central Europe, you’re sure to find the local take on dumplings.

Many dumpling recipes arose as a solution to poverty. It’s much cheaper to combine a ration of meat with vegetables and dough scraps than to create a more meat-hearty entree.

Many of these recipes even take a different route and create sweetened dumplings, perfect for desserts. Others incorporate cheese, much like the Italian ravioli and tortellini and the potato-based gnocchi. You’ll even see an American spin on dumplings in the classic Southern chicken and dumplings dish. 

The Globalization of Chinese Dumplings

However, the tasty variations from China still prevail around the world and are a notable addition to American cuisine.

In fact, Chinese food in general has become an integral part of the diets of many Americans. It’s likely that dumplings, as with many other popular Chinese dishes, arrived around the same time.

Chinese immigration to the U.S. began in the 1800s, so we can safely assume that dumplings arrived in the U.S. at this time as well. The Chinese diaspora would still indulge in traditional Chinese celebrations throughout the year. Food played an important role in these celebrations.

By the mid-1800s, Chinese restaurants were becoming more popularized in America. Chinatowns, such as the largest one in San Francisco, were growing in popularity, and their cuisine was too.

Dumplings were but one of many Chinese dishes to emerge in America, but the mass Chinese immigration in the 19th century certainly solidified the dumpling as an addition to the ever-evolving Chinese-American cuisine.

The Importance of Dumplings

The history of dumplings stretches back hundreds of years and has been passed down by hundreds of thousands of hungry travelers and chefs. We’re happy to say that there’s a dumpling for everyone, whether you’re indulging in Chinese potstickers or Italian ravioli!

For more articles on travel and your favorite foods, check out the rest of our website!

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Destinations

5 Silver Lake Restaurants Every Food Lover Needs to Try

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Silver Lake, the aggressively cool hipster hideout a hop, skip, and a jump north of Downtown LA, is filled with things to see and do. There is any number of must-see landmarks, laid-back cafés, and trendy bars to explore. But for the food lover, the real draw of Silver Lake is the amazing selection of eateries it offers.

From casual and cozy spots to high-end establishments, there’s something for everyone here. Whether you’re in town for the weekend or a long-time Angeleno, one thing’s for sure, if you’re a food lover in Los Angeles, you won’t want to miss these restaurants.

1. Little Pine

Little Pine restaurant was once owned by Moby, and predictably, serves exclusively vegan fare. That doesn’t mean it’s boring though. You won’t find endless variations of raw salads and green juices on the menu here. Little pine is dedicated to serving up innovative and most of all hearty vegan food that even meat-eaters will love.

2. Boo’s Philly

If you’re looking for something that’s decidedly not vegan, but nonetheless delicious, then Boo’s Philly is definitely the place for you. Serving up a small menu of impressively large-sized subs, this causal little deli is a must-visit if you’re seeking the most authentic Philadelphia cheesesteaks this side of the liberty bell. Their hoagies have to be seen to be believed, and luckily, you can check them out at this browse link.

3. Botanica Restaurant and Market

For something quintessentially Californian, it doesn’t get much better than Botanica Restaurant and Market. Owned by two former food critics, the plates are healthy, organic, locally-sourced, and beautifully prepared. Using only the finest produce, and with an impressive selection of natural wine, this laid-back spot is great for a casual brunch or dinner with friends.

4. Alimento

Alimento is a Silver Lake staple serving up some of the most delicious Italian food you’ve ever eaten. Headed up by James Beard-nominated chef Zach Pollack, Alimento is a quaint and cozy little bistro with amazing wines and pasta to die for. It’s one of the pricier options on this list, but we’re sure you’ll find it’s most definitely worth every cent.

5. Ceviche Project

Although slightly niche, Ceviche Project definitely deserves a place on a list of food to love in Silver Lake. This tiny little restaurant contains an extensive and inspiring menu of Latin American inspired seafood dishes. Critics and everyday patrons alike rave about the amazing flavor combinations and fresh ingredients produced by chef Octavio Olivas. A great choice for an intimate dinner or date night.

Food for the Food Lover

In order to fully explore all of the best food in Silver Lake, it would take much more than 500 words and a much longer list. Silver Lake’s many restaurants are characterized by their attention to detail, fresh ingredients, and creative menus. What we’re saying is, if you’re a food lover, it’s not a bad place to be.

For more reviews and tips on where to find the best food, check out the rest of our guides.

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Destinations

5 Reasons to Visit Oludeniz, Turkey

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Turkey is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world, attracting around 35 million international tourist arrivals. And it’s no wonder why — Turkey has everything a tourist can want. Beautiful scenery, a vibrant culture, and several amazing historic sites are what you can expect when you visit Turkey.

But where in Turkey should you visit? Istanbul? Antalya? While these are great cities, you should also consider Oludeniz, Turkey.

Oludeniz is a hidden paradise in the hidden corner of the country. It’s one of the few places in the world that conserved its unique nature and there are many fun activities to make your trip unforgettable.

Here are 5 reasons to visit Oludeniz.

1. Water Sports

Oludeniz has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Situated on the Turkish Riviera, this small beach boasts crystal clear water and offers many sensational experiences. This is why water sports are one of the best things to do in Oludeniz.

From parasailing to scuba diving, the number of water sports you can do is limitless.

2. Paragliding

If you’re looking for the ultimate thrill, you should try paragliding. Paragliding is an activity where you’re gliding through the air on a parachute. And Oludeniz is the ultimate destination for paragliding. At 2,000 meters in the air, you can see Oludeniz’s unique landscape that consists of mountains, greenery, and breathtaking beaches.

3. Safari

Oludeniz Turkey boasts a unique landscape and wildlife. If you want to learn more about this unique city, you should go on a safari. You’ll see animals such as wolves, goats, foxes, jackals, badgers, wild boars, and otters.

Most safaris also go into the local villages so you can discover Oludeniz’s unique culture and try their delicious food.

4. Boat Tour

What better way to see Oludeniz than on a boat? There are many boat tours in Oludeniz where you can see the lovely coasts and even view some places undiscoverable by foot. Some boat tours even take a break so you can go for a swim.

There are usually boat tours every day throughout the coast.

5. Hiking

It’s no surprise that Oludeniz is one of the best spots for nature lovers. This is why a hiking trip in Oludeniz is a must.

The Lycian Way trail is regarded as one of the best hiking trails in the world. You not only see Oludeniz’s unique nature but also some incredible history. The trail begins at Kaykoy, a town abandoned by the ancient Greeks. From here, your walk consists of trekking through the mountains and making it back to Blue Lagoon where you can go for a swim.

Visit Oludeniz, Turkey

If you’re booking your Turkey vacation, add Oludeniz, Turkey to your list. Oludeniz has everything you could ever want in a vacation spot, from beautiful nature to breathtaking beaches. Being one of the hidden gems in Turkey, you should discover this untouched spot for an unforgettable experience!

Do you need more travel destination ideas? Continue reading our blog where we cover various travel spots throughout the world!

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Destinations

Singapore is the First in the World to produce Lab-grown Chicken

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It has been a grueling journey among scientists to produce lab-grown Chicken or chicken meat produced without the actual Chicken. With the help of science and technology, Singapore innovators’ great minds are the first to make this seemingly impossible task possible.

Current Chicken Production

Chicken is considered as one of the staples in every meal across the globe. The current chicken production is so vast that it even poses a danger to one’s health. Chicken farms are probably the most productive way to breed and raise chickens. However, because of the demand for Chicken, chickens are in warehouses that pose many threats such as fire hazards, public health hazards (because of virus and bacteria), and even worker safety hazards.

However, you can consider all of these dangerous threats to go away because breeding chickens without actually raising chickens is now possible thanks to a group of innovators from Singapore.

The first lab-grown Chicken

This December 2020, the Singapore Food Agency has finally approved a lab-grown Chicken or cultured meat. This has been such a success that this chicken meat is now on the menu of 1880, a famous Singapore restaurant. Other countries are now following suit in the attempt to grow their lab-grown chicken meat. One such country is Israel, which is attempting the same feat. However, the restaurant that will be serving this is currently closed due to the ongoing pandemic.

What is Lab-Grown Meat

Many people are currently skeptical of lab-grown meat and its health hazards, especially since this is a novel way of growing poultry. From a physical and cellular standpoint, lab-grown meat is identical to Chicken from slaughtered animals. Their cells are made from live chicken cells, but instead of growing them in a poultry farm, scientists develop them from a cell-growth scaffold in a factory. This process is also different from plant-based meats, which use plant proteins to create products that taste like meat. In this process, the taste is similar, but it is entirely different on a cellular level.

However, why Chicken, you ask? The same approach can be applied to pork, beef, and other animal products. Yet, scientists have decided to use chickens in the pilot session instead, and they did so strategically. First, chickens are considered one of the animals raised to be slaughtered in the United States. This can lure Americans away from raising and killing livestock and consider producing lab-grown meat instead. Second, one of the biggest challenges for lab-grown meat is the texture of the meat itself. For someone who loves steak, consuming a lab-grown steak without the texture can be quite disappointing.

For lab-grown products to grow, one has to get cells from a live chicken, and they do not need to kill these chickens to produce the meat successfully. This can gain massive support from vegetarian people to consume lab-grown meat. The chicken cells are then submerged into a growth solution that allows the cells to multiply. Indeed, this is a huge step to boost food production sustainability and do away with livestock and poultry farming that poses health hazards with science and innovation.

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