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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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Mexico Travel Deals: Win 20 Years’ Worth of Free Caribbean Luxury Vacations

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One of the most affected industries due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic is tourism. To offset the heavy financial loss, a few places like Mexico and those in the Caribbean recently reopened their borders to tourists.

Mexico, along with other places in the Caribbean, is a favorite pre-COVID-19 vacation destination for a number of tourists all around the world. So, to enliven the tourism industry once again, they created the trending hashtag, #Come2MexicanCaribbean (and its Spanish equivalent, #VenAlCaribeMexicanoX2) to promote post-COVID-19 tourism in these areas.

To further strengthen this campaign, would-be tourists are encouraged to remember their memorable visits of the Mexican Caribbean region and the different things they might like to do there in the future.

The said contest awards a lucky tourist with a 20 years’ worth of yearly vacation to the Mexican Caribbean area combined with a 5-night, all-inclusive stay in any of the 4- or 5-star coastal resorts there.

Contest Sponsors

The competition is sponsored by several tourist hotspots including those of Cancun, Isla Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum. It is also backed by top hospitality developer Atelier Group and the Quintana Roo Tourism Board.

How to Join the Competition

If you are interested in the said contest, here are several guidelines for you to follow:

  •  Contestants must be 18 years old;
  • You should be a resident of any of the following countries:
  1. US,
  2. Canada,
  3. Mexico,
  4. Guatemala,
  5. Colombia,
  6. Peru,
  7. Chile,
  8. Brazil, and
  9. Argentina;
  • You must have either a TikTok or Instagram account (or both);
  • Post a video or a photo that features your favorite Mexican Caribbean beach vacation/s;
  •  Include the specific tags, #Come2MexicanCaribbean and @Come2MexicanCaribbean;
  • Follow the said initiative’s TikTok or Instagram profiles, @Come2MexicanCaribbean;
  • Tag their accounts on either of the platforms mentioned; and
  • The post that garners the most likes, plays, comments, and shares gets to be the winner of the competition.

The contest begins on 9 November and ends on 27 November 2020. Entrants should be able to post their entries within the given period.

You can also read the full terms and conditions of the said competition here. You may also visit en.come2mexicancaribbean.com for more information regarding the contest.

Summary

Mexico’s tourism industry comprises 8.5% of the nation’s overall GDP. Last year, an approximate of 24 million tourists visited the North American nation. Despite reopening its borders to visitors in July, the country’s roster of resorts and hotels still find it difficult to alleviate the effects of the lengthy lockdown imposed by the government earlier this year. The rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission is yet to slow down and the government aims to find more effective ways to flatten the curve.

The #Come2MexicanCaribbean aims to remind travellers of the country’s long-held tourist industry and the enticing spots that used to be go-to vacation areas in the region. It is their hope that by doing this initiative, the height of tourism will come alive again once everything goes back to normal.

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Destinations

Where Can Americans Vacation Internationally Right Now?

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Following the surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., one of the top trending questions among Americans today is, “Where can Americans internationally travel to now?” At the moment, only a few countries and territories are open to travelers originating from the United States.

Fortunately, several places in Mexico and the Caribbean are opening their borders to U.S. tourists. As a result, new reports mention a surge in flight bookings to Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

Mexico

The border between Mexico and the United States remains closed to non-essential travel until at least the end of August. Nonetheless, U.S. tourists are allowed to fly to some of the country’s reopened locations including:

  • Cancun
  • Cozumel
  • Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos)
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Riviera Maya (includes Playa del Carmen and Tulum)
  • Riviera Nayarit (includes Punta Mita and Nuevo Vallarta)

For these places, masks and temperature checks are mandatory upon arrival at the airport. Tourists are also required to fill out a risk factor questionnaire both during arrival and departure. A COVID-19 test is not needed, however.

Caribbean and its Nearby Islands

Aruba

U.S. tourists entering Aruba are required to take a PCR test. Those coming from certain states with COVID-19 cases on the rise, a PCR test must be taken 72 hours before a flight and uploaded together with the filled out embarkation/disembarkation forms. A PCR test must be taken 72 hours before a flight and uploaded with the same embarkation/disembarkation forms for tourists originating from all other states. However, for this second group, an option to be tested at the airport is a given option, which requires a separate payment of $75.

Also, tourists must pay for the compulsory Aruba Visitors Insurance with premiums varying depending on age. Visitors between the ages of 15 to 75 must pay $15, allowing them to remain in Aruba for seven days. The said insurance policy can solely be purchased online and must be accomplished 72 hours before a flight.

Barbados

Besides mandatory face masks, health checks, and border interviews, visitors must take a PCR test 72 hours before a flight. The said test results must be submitted electronically, and a copy of the same test must be brought during embarkation.

Bermuda

COVID-19 testing is required. Travelers must have a negative testing result that should be taken no longer than seven days before the flight. Second testing is done upon arrival, and a quarantine period of typically 24 hours follows while waiting for the results. Besides that, tourists must accomplish a Bermuda Travel Authorization plus the payment of $75, covering COVID-19 tests done while staying in Bermuda. Testing is done after 4, 8, and 14 days. Masks are mandatory in public places as well.

Other Places

Aside from the areas mentioned earlier, Americans are also allowed to travel to several other locations. Note that specific requirements must be accomplished, as well, prior to ticket reservation.

  • Dominican Republic
  • Jamaica
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Maarten
  • U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix)
  • Croatia
  • Malta
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi)

Summary

The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases must be noted when planning a trip abroad. American need to check developing updates regularly to know the current regulations set in place by the different areas they plan to visit before buying a ticket and embarking on a trip abroad.

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Destinations

Which Countries Suffered the Biggest Losses in Tourism Revenue Due to COVID-19?

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The Official Electronic System for Travel Authorization (Official ESTA), the Visa Waiver processing agency, releases a report enumerating the countries that suffered the most massive losses due to the present COVID-19 pandemic.

Jane Forrester, the Official ESTA Director of International Development, asserts, “As travel came to a standstill for many months, countries around the world that rely on tourism for their economy and jobs are now seeing significant drops in revenue and GDP.” She adds that when we take “…into account how travel and tourism contribute $8.9 trillion to the world’s GDP alone, it is devastating to see a total loss of $195 billion worldwide in the first four months of 2020 alone.”

Below are the top nations that took the most massive tourism revenue blows due to the said crisis.

United States

The US currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, amounting to 6,135,598 as of writing. The country tops the list with $30,709 million losses for tourism revenue alone during the first four months of the year. On March, 31 US states were placed on lockdown with the State Department issuing a Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ restriction that prohibits international travel while urging residents traveling abroad to return immediately.

Spain

It reported a massive tourism revenue loss of $9,741 million in June due to the said pandemic. Almost as soon as COVID-19 transmission slowed down and foreign travelers were allowed to re-enter the country, the United Kingdom placed a quarantine restriction on British residents originating from Spain. This further deterred British citizens from traveling to Spain in the hopes of enjoying the summer.

France

Another country that suffered significant tourism losses is France. The country reported an $8,767 million tourism loss, making it the second European nation to suffer such great damage.

Thailand

The country was able to halt COVID-19 transmission, reporting no new cases during the last 87 days. Nonetheless, the government announced its intention to perpetuate its closed borders until 2021. During the first four months of 2020, the nation lost $7,822 million tourism earnings due to the crisis.

Germany

Germany closed its borders in March, resulting in a tourism revenue loss of $7,225 million. The country recently reopened its doors to tourists originating from the European Union, Iceland, Britain, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Norway.

Italy

The country became the center of the pandemic back in March. Because of this, fluid movement across the nation was halted during this year’s first four months, which resulted in a tourism income loss of $6,187 million.

United Kingdom

One of the few nations that did not immediately impose a travel ban against travelers coming from abroad, the country’s COVID-19 cases quickly escalated. Thus, numerous countries placed restrictions on people originating from the country and on those planning there. As a result, the UK reported a $5,816 million loss in tourism revenue.

Australia

Due to the massive wildfire that occurred during the start of 2020 and the rise of the on-going pandemic, the country’s tourism industry was heavily affected as well. The Land Down Under reported a loss of $5,674 million.

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