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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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Ukraine: An Underrated Tourist Destination In Europe

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When many people think of taking a European vacation they probably imagine strolling along the Seine with their lover, or seeing Michelangelo’s David in Florence. I mean, those are both two amazing things to do. However most people would even consider traveling to Ukraine. It is a country at war, the winters tend to be unbearable, and Eastern Europeans have a reputation of being unfriendly. All that being said, Ukraine is still an underrated tourist destination and one that should be on travelers radar.

What Is There To Do In Ukraine?

Ukraine is a large country. In fact, it’s the largest country entirely in Europe. This means that there is something for everyone! From adventure travelers to those just looking to relax, you can spend months exploring the country and still not tire of things to see and do.

If you are looking for a city break you can’t skip out on the capital of Kyiv, nor the cultural capital of Lviv. For adrenaline junkies you can go skiing in Bukovel, or white water rafting in Vorokhta. And if you are just a good old nature lover then camping by the sunken city of Bakota or the uninhabited Dzharylhach island could be for you.

5 Amazing Places To Visit In Ukraine

1. Lviv – A Beautiful City In Western Ukraine

The cultural capital of Lviv has a storied history. From being the capital of the kingdom of Rus to a part of Poland, the pearl of the Austrian Empire to the gem of an independent Ukraine. There are so many things to do in Lviv almost anyone can have a great time.

For dining I highly recommend a trip to the most popular restaurant in Lviv, Kryivka. This restaurant in a bunker under Rynok square is themed, but don’t let that put you off. The walls are papered with interesting artefacts from one of the most tumultous periods in Lviv history. Youc an see old military medals, propaganda posters, and plenty of old (non-functioning) weapons.

2. Bakota – A Less Than Easy Place To Go Camping Like A Local

The site of a submerged city, Bakota, is currently a reservoir connecting to the Bug river. This is a very popular camping spot for Ukrainians and there are plenty of activities you can do. I like to just relax and enjoy nature, but you can go boating, fishing, or hiking the cliffs around the area.

You will need a car to get there as public transportation doesn’t really exist, but that just means you’ll have to do a bit of car camping.

3. Dzharylhach Island – The Largest Island In The Black Sea

Dzharylhach Island is an uninhabited island in the Kherson region of Ukraine that is another beautiful place to camp. You can only get there by taking a ferry from the mainland, and there are no accommodations other than tents. Rest on the soft white sand or play with the dolphins that come very close to shore.

If you do spend some time there you have to try the island specialty – stingray borsch! This soup is made daily by the shanty little cafe near the pier. And don’t forget to see the sunset by the famous Dzharylhach Lighthouse!

4. The Pink Lake – One Of The Most Unique Places In All Ukraine

Located on Arabatska Strilka, about 6 hours by bus from Kherson City, is one of my absolute favorite places in the whole country. Officially named Henichesk Lake, this natural pink lake is an amazing sight to behold.

The color is due to a non-harmful bacteria that thrives in the high salt content of the lake. Many people even take salt home to cook with it, I know I brought a few kilos back! Make sure to wade out as far as you can go so you can see the most naturally pink section.

5. Kyiv – The Capital Of Ukraine

No list about places to see in Ukraine would be complete without Kyiv. A capital going back all the way to Kievan Rus, the city is a mix of classic Eastern European architecture and ugly Soviet commie-blocks. However don’t let the ugliness deter you. The city is lively and fun if you know how to do it right.

Spend some time at the Bukta food center on the Dniper river, or hit up an amazing pool party in the warm months. Walk through beautifully manicured parks and see the Mariinsky Palace, or visit the Pechersk Lavra – an historic cave monastery filled with the bodies of Orthodox saints.

About the author:

Alona Tiunina is a travel blogger from Ukraine who has been to (almost) every region in the country. When she is not traveling she enjoys binge watching Netflix and scouring airline tickets for her next trip.

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Air Canada Announces the Gift of Travel Campaign

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Air Canada provides travelers with a unique opportunity starting this December. The company’s Gift of Travel initiative is certainly worth looking forward to.

Air Canada announces a new holiday campaign called the Gift of Travel. It’s the company’s new initiative that celebrates different actions done by several heroes in the community who are providing selfless possibilities to fellow Canadians.

The COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted our freedom to explore the world and travel without increased border restrictions.  Air Canada’s Gift of Travel campaign aims to help procure funds for various organizations in Canada. The initiative also provides avid travelers with easier travel passes, enabling them to reach their dream destinations conveniently.

“Canadians from across the country have shown remarkable resilience, solidarity and generosity in the face of COVID-19 and we were inspired hearing stories of people who dedicated their time and energy to caring for others, making a memorable impact on other people’s lives. We are proud to launch this campaign with our Gift of Travel video featuring heartwarming stories of community heroes and share the gift of travel through a message of hope and optimism from our employees as we all look forward to brighter days ahead,” shares Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources, and Communications Officer at Air Canada. “We are also proud to continue our long-standing effort through the Air Canada Foundation in supporting communities through its inaugural Gift of Travel auction and the annual Aeroplan Matching Campaign,” she adds.

The same Gift of Travel campaign highlights with different inspirational stories about Air Canada personnel as they do community work, providing assistance related to the fight against COVID-19. These stories can be accessed via the company’s social media handles and website.

On 1 December 2020, the company will launch its Gift of Travel auction. The said auction will highlight rare aviation implements including the opportunity to fly or operate an aviation simulator. It will also feature a ride-on plane for kids and even a chance to have dinner with the company’s most celebrated chefs.

All proceeds of the said Gift of Travel auction will be given to various Canadian charitable groups and organizations that work toward better health for the youth and children.

Also, the Gift of Travel campaign will cover the yearly Aeroplan Matching Campaign week celebrations. This will feature the Air Canada Foundation Hospital Transportation Program, an advocacy to help sick children to get the medical help they need.

Through the Air Canada Foundation, the charitable arm of the company, Air Canada specifically aims to help Canadian children and youth in their medical and health needs. The Foundation also provides financial assistance and in-kind aid to various charitable organizations in Canada.

The company’s Gift of Travel campaign also highlights a Gift of Travel pass that allows convenient travel to one of the six designated locations. This pass will be valid until April 2022 and will provide the bearer with utmost flexibility.

The COVID-19 outbreak has heavily affected Canadian’s capacity to travel wherever and whenever they want. With Air Canada’s Gift of Travel, however, more opportunities to travel—and even to help others—becomes a vivid reality.

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Hawaii Travel Restrictions to Change

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Travelers to Hawaii will need to undergo COVID-19 testing and have negative results prior to entering the state, stresses Governor David Ige, as Hawaii travel restrictions get modified.

Effective a couple of days before Thanksgiving, stricter Hawaii travel restrictions are to be initiated. This is to halt the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state, David Ige, the state’s governor proclaims on Thursday.

At the moment, visitors are permitted to reach Hawaii by using a pre-testing protocol. Upon reaching the state, travelers can simply upload their test’s negative results on the Hawaiian COVID-19 visitor database and bypass the 14-day quarantine used by other US states.

This current mandate is problematic, however, as more and more tourists later prove to be positive after being allowed passage into Hawaii. This issue, then, compromises the health and well-being of residents, resulting to the prevalence of new COVID-19 cases in the area. Hence, Ige points out the need to tighten border patrol to curb this rampant result.

The said tightening of Hawaii travel restrictions plans to take effect on Tuesday, just two days before the upcoming holiday celebration.

To forego, however, the 2-week quarantine protocol, tourists are required to take the proper COVID-19 test at any of the accredited testing centers or partners of the state. Nevertheless, if the results of the test do not arrive before flying into Hawaii, the tourist shall be forced to take a 14-day quarantine or even stay on lockdown for the duration of his visit, whichever is shorter.

It is essential to note that tourists who do not obtain their negative COVID-19 results before departure won’t be able to enter Hawaii even if the said information arrives just before they reach the state.

Travelers are still provided with the option to skip COVID-19 testing, however. Both tourists and residents who arrive at the border can still opt to take the 14-day quarantine, either at their designated hotels or at home. This option comes in lieu of the lengthy COVID-19 testing queues across the United States as more and more Americans are forced to get tested for the said virus.  

At present, the US still holds the topmost record of the most COVID-19 total cases in the world. As of writing, it already has a record of 12,078,831 positive cases. To prevent the upsurge of the same rapid transmission within Hawaii’s borders, the need to require negative COVID-19 results as part of the modified Hawaii travel restrictions is pointed out.

Nevertheless, Ige explains that the necessity of protecting Hawaiians from the possibility of inbound infection can be skipped by choosing to stay on a 14-day quarantine. Travelers can still opt to remain within their hotel rooms or head straight to their homes, eradicating immediate—and unprotected—contact with locals during the said time period. Thus, tightening Hawaii travel restrictions aims to halt rapid COVID-19 spread as everyone awaits news of an effective vaccine that may possibly help the country—and the world—revert to the unrestricted mobility experienced way before this unprecedented pandemic emergency.

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