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A plate of dumplings on a wooden counter
Dumplings at 40 Maltby Street
Jessica Wang

Where to Eat Dumplings in London

Japanese gyoza, British “gnocchi”, Chinese sheng jian bao, Turkish manti, Polish pierogi, and more

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Dumplings at 40 Maltby Street
| Jessica Wang

At some point in the Han Dynasty, a man called Zhang Zhongjian cured his village of frostbite by cooking up warm parcels of meat and medicinal herbs wrapped in dough to look like their afflicted ears, simultaneously healing them, inventing the dumpling, and owning them through the medium of food. Deciding to take the week off in honour of his good work, this service to mankind was not matched until two millennia later when Dolly Parton wrote “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You” on the same day. Zhongjian could not have known then that these little, crimped meat pockets would go on to conquer the world, but conquer the world they did.

It’s possible to trace their movement linguistically: on their trip across the East China Sea they went from being Mandarin jiaozi to Japanese gyoza, and in the Jin dialect the word for steamed bun momo became the variation unique to Nepal and Tibet. Mantou, another word for steamed bun, quickly became mandu in Korea, and then spread like wildfire through the Silk Road: Uighur manta, Afghan mantu, manti going from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan through the Middle East and finally to Turkey. Meanwhile in the Middle East, the Persian sanbosag was a unique fried variant that became samsa across Central Asia, samosas in India, sambusas in Ethiopia and sambuus in Somalia. Across east and central Europe there are austere boiled dumplings of hard consonants and plosives: pelmeni, pierogi, khinkali, knodel, and the frillier ravioli and tortellini of Italy. And then the British dumpling, the most beautiful word of all, a little dumple, rich with suet and generally found greedily soaking up stews. This guide is an advocate of every type of dumpling, from fried to steamed, from spherical to crescent, from the homogenous ball to the wrapped with filling. They are the soul of every cuisine they touch, please respect them: please stop calling them dumpz.

Please note: A separate and complete guide to the best Chinese dumplings in London can be found here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Kreplach and kneidlach at B&K Salt Beef Bar

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353 Uxbridge Rd, Hatch End
Pinner HA5 4JN, UK

Kreplach, meaning little krap (a piece of pastry), and kneidlach (aka matzoh balls) are yet other linguistically diminutive names (see the -ling in dumpling, the xiao in xiao long bao) for a wrapped parcel, proving that dumplings are the ultimate ‘small thing’ across all cultures. They show that the heart of the cuisine is always in its most miniature of items. In London both of these specifically Ashkenazi Jewish comfort dumplings can be found at B&K Salt Beef Bar in Edgware, swimming around in a healing chicken lokshen soup.

2. Samosas at Casa de Goa

Copy Link
113 High St
Hounslow TW3 1QT, UK

Every Indian loves their own regional samosa. There are those heavy, hooded Punjabi ones, studded with carom and filled with potato and peas; their flake trail runs all down Southall’s South Road. There’s the little shingara, which Bengalis and Bangladeshis will say is not a samosa but absolutely is. And then all the east African variants brought over from Gujarat. So obviously the best samosa is the Goan chamuça: thin filo pastry, full of onions and spiced minced meat. If a Punjabi one knocks you out for the day then it’s possible to eat Goan ones by the dozen and not tire. For those who don’t have a Goan mum, then Casa de Goa in Hounslow will do.

3. Siu mai/Har gow 燒賣/蝦餃 at Kam Tong Restaurant

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59-63 Queensway, Bayswater
London W2 4QH, UK

Ant and Dec, Morecambe and Wise, a contrarian take no-one asked for and Brendan O’Neill: where there is siu mai, there will always be har gow. These two dumplings exist in tandem, the first true tests of any dim sum parlour. Therefore the recommendations for these go to the best dim sum places in London at every price point: Orient, Joy King Lau, Phoenix Palace, and Yi-Ban for expansive venues on the cheap — the latter’s views of London City Airport are particularly stunning — Shikumen and Royal China at the mid-range; and Michelin-starred A. Wong at the high end, where the siu mai come with pork crackling (yes) and the har gow come with a rice vinegar ... “cloud”(?) But for somewhere which is relatively off the radar, and with a dim sum menu that is outperforming its reputation, then try Kam Tong in Queensway.

4. Khinkali at Tamada

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122 Boundary Rd, St John's Wood
London NW8 0RH, UK

Khinkali, those little knotted money purse dumplings, can be found across Tbilisi — the best ones seem to be in underground restaurants open into the small hours where burly men (and it is always men) can consume their weight in beer and dumplings. 24 hour khinkali dens may not have yet achieved the status of a “London trend”, but they can be found at most Georgian restaurants: Little Georgia in Islington, Tbilisi in Highbury, but the best might be at Tamada in St John’s Wood, where they come in sixes as a special order and should be paired with khashi — a tripe soup with a side car of c.10 cloves of garlic that will either sooth a hangover, or provide a basis for the sesh.

5. Pierogi at Wroclove Restaurant

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16 The Blvd, Balham
London SW17 7BW, UK

Pierogi are so good because Poland is one of the few dumpling cultures to have realised that the best accompaniment is butter and sour cream — a lubricant that facilitates the consumption more pierogi. Mamuska, formerly of Elephant and Castle and lately of Lambeth North, do some mean ones: pork; beef; cheese, potato, and onion; sauerkraut and mushroom. Two toppings are to be chosen from the holy trinity of cream, bacon, or onions; no one has discovered what happens if all three are applied. But the best pierogi can be found at Wroclove, the Tooting restaurant that unfortunately didn’t consider the tagline Wroclive, Wroclaugh, Wroclove, where they come stuffed with goose for those wishing revenge against the horrible, honking beast.

6. Gyoza at Seto

Copy Link
5-6 Plender St
London NW1 0JN, UK

The word gyoza has almost been tainted by the Wasabi brand and every single faux-Japanese chain that sells ungenerous, desiccated things that go under the same name. There is better out there. Seto in Camden used to be called Seto Ramen, and does indeed serve ramen, but the best things on the entire menu are the gyoza — plump and cushioned with pork, fried to a char on one side and served with a pot of homemade chilli oil, rich with dried shrimp. Get the gyoza, and a ramen on the side.

7. Cheung fun 腸粉 at Orient London

Copy Link
15 Wardour St, West End
London W1D 6PH, UK

Is cheung fun a dumpling? Here’s its possible to justify its inclusion using a structure neutral policy which states that dumplings in Euclidian space do not necessarily have to be totally closed carb surfaces encasing a filling, and may in fact be semi enclosed. This guide takes a dim view on non-carb based wrappers and non-Euclidian dumplings. Therefore, cheung fun is indeed a dumpling and some of the best are available at Orient in Chinatown — one of the few places that doesn’t get its dim sum in from the same wholesaler and instead makes them from scratch. The king prawn cheung fun are as plump and slippery as an Etonian prime minister, the wrapper tightly adhering to the outlines of the prawns like an Atsuko Kudo latex suit.

8. Jiaozi 饺子 at Jen Cafe

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4-8 Newport Pl, West End
London WC2H 7JP, UK
07587 500959

The chameleon of the dumpling world, jiaozi have different sub-genres depending on whether they have been boiled, steamed, fried or are in soup. However the standard usage of jiaozi usually refers to the steamed kind, which are best at the triangular, green-fronted specialist Jen Cafe. They come chubby and crimped, filled with pork mince and chive. A spartan dumpling to enjoy while watching other diners come in and order the instant noodles by mistake.

9. Xiao Long Bao 小龙包 at Din Tai Fung

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5 Henrietta St, West End
London WC2E 8PT, UK

Xiao long bao emit an incredible amount of chaotic energy, attracting the worst kind of dumpling nerds who want skins the translucency of an amniotic sac and have strong opinions on how and whether to pierce the skin. Let people burn their mouths if they want to. For years and years everyone was told there aren’t any great XLB in London, that Din Tai Fung need to come over. And then ... Din Tai Fung announced two restaurants and opened one restaurant, there were queues for a bit, and everyone went home, having moved on to whatever the new thing is. XLB may be the tonkotsu of dumplings but they can still be glorious in the right hands, so it’s unfortunate that those nerds are right and almost no one does them well. Din Tai Fung is still the best bet to avoid the saddest sight in all dining: an arid, desiccated xiao long bao.

10. Manti at Hala Restaurant

Copy Link
29 Grand Parade, Harringay
London N4 1LG, UK

The emergence of manti — to be clear, the small, spinning top shaped dumplings that veer from the size of Turkish agnolotti up to small ravioli — in London in the five years or so can be traced thus: A hidden Harringay secret, to Selin Kiazim’s Oklava Bakery (nee Kyseri), to trend, and now to every nu-Anatolian restaurant in the city. The original can still be found on Green Lanes at Hala: seemingly about a hundred tiny dumplings covered in yoghurt and chilli oil, way too rich for one person to eat but a perfect thing to order for the table. Across the road at Gozleme House, it’s possible to buy them frozen by the kilo to make at home (top tip: they go really well with Lao Gan Ma chilli oil fried in butter).

11. Empanadas / Arepa de Paisa at Elephant Coffee

Copy Link
109 Elephant Rd, Elephant and Castle
London SE17 1LB, UK
07828 193548

These rugby ball pleated Latin-Cornish pasties can be found dotted around the Colombian bakeries of Elephant and Castle. Look for them and they are impossible to miss, the colour of sunshine and filled with slow cooked strands of meat, ready to be liberally dipped in homemade aji. The best empanada of all in Elephant isn’t really an empanada, but the arepa de paisa at Elephant Coffee, a circular version filled with the entire contents of a bandeja paisa: chorizo, crispy chicharron, shredded chicken, black beans and plantain, a dumpling as neutron star — all for £3.

12. Sambusak at Falafel & Shawarma London

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27 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell
London SE5 8TR, UK

What is the most food one can get for the least money in London? Surely, surely, it is the sambusaks at Falafel and Shawarma in Camberwell, the cheapest thing on an already unreasonably cheap menu. Here four filo pastry triangles, samosas in all but name, filled with spiced minced beef, with the option of chilli sauce or garlic sauce (get both) costs £1.50.

13. Salteñas at Jenecheru London Restaurant

Copy Link
206 Old Kent Rd
London SE1 5TY, UK

Imagine someone pointing at a Cornish pasty and saying “soup dumpling. Essentially, that is the salteña, Bolivian versions of empanadas which are so much more than they appear. For one, they are baked rather than fried, and filled not with just meat but with gelatinous rich beef or chicken stew, often sweet with raisins, as well as chopped egg and a whole olive (sometimes dastardly unpitted), dribbling and squirting everywhere from the first bite. It’s possible to get versions of these around Elephant and Castle at many of the Colombian bakeries, but the real deal can be found at Jenecheru on Old Kent Road. 

14. Dumplings at 40 Maltby St

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40 Maltby St
London SE1 3PA, UK

The pillowy, pneumatic potato and ricotta dumplings at 40 Maltby St which are just called dumplings but might be called gnocchi if the word gnocchi — like all Continental culinary nomenclature — were not banned from the 40 Maltby St menu.

15. Sheng Jian Bao 生煎包 at Dumpling Shack

Copy Link
Old Spitalfields Market, Brushfield St, Shadwell
London E1 6BG, UK

The king of all dumplings, sheng jian bao are Shanghai’s greatest gift to the world, even more so than the xiao long bao which they surpass by virtue of being fried. Before Dumpling Shack in Spitalfields opened there was nowhere to get them, and since they opened there is still nowhere else that holds a candle. However, while not a restaurant, sheng jian bao can be picked up from Lillian of Shanghai Supper Club on certain days and times if ordered with her in advance. Or, for the lucky few, via Jason’s Li’s Dreams of Shanghai Supper Club.

16. Kibbeh at Dede Tantuni

Copy Link
44 Stoke Newington Rd, Clapton
London N16 7XJ, UK
020 7241 4539

Most of the kibbeh people know are deep fried, cracking with bulgur wheat and immensely tasty. Those teardrop mincemeat dumplings can be found at (Lebanese) Yasmina in Acton and (Iraqi) Juma in Borough Market. But consider the boiled version, the purists choice, where they are sweet and sticky as gulab jamun, filled with syrupy meat juice. Those kibbeh, known in Turkish as icli kofte (see also, Hala) are the star of Dede Tantuni, where they are a must order alongside the titular tantuni itself.

17. Fufu at Chuku's

Copy Link
274 High Rd, Tottenham
London N15 4AJ, UK

This category is so fluid that almost anything, up to and including the universe itself, can be considered a dumpling. Are west African swallow foods dumplings? Well if knodel are dumplings then so are banku and fufu, those marble white globes of starch pounded into elastic stress balls. The Ghanaian banku, made from a mix of cassava and fermented corn, has a slightly sour taste and at Asafo in Streatham comes shaped like a Twinkie, to pair with fried tilapia or okro soup. Pounded yam fufu can be found almost anywhere, but at the new Chuku’s in Tottenham they come, not as a whole chunk, but divided into three manageable pieces, bobbing in a tricoloured egusi soup like little matzo balls.

18. Mantu at Kabul E Palaw

Copy Link
88 High St, Walthamstow
London E17 5LD, UK

Basically big boy manti, mantu are the Aghani variation on the mince meat dumpling that spread themselves flatter, looking like collapsed brain globes, covered in yoghurt, split peas, and chilli oil. A mantu quarter of sorts is springing up in Harrow, where Masa and Mazar both serve good examples, but at Kabul-e-Palaw in Walthamstow Skyn-thin skins and a generously spiced filling that works well spilled over a plate of rice.

19. Ravioli at anywhere and everywhere

Copy Link
Blackheath Ave, Greenwich
London SE10 8XJ, UK
020 8858 4422

Some people might be thinking why is ravioli on here, but despite the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) scaremongering, Italian restaurants are still perfectly safe places to eat. It’s now possible to eat ravioli LITERALLY ANYWHERE in London: at every single new-wave pasta place that has opened up in the last week: Padella, Bancone, Officina 00, Palatino, Pastaio, Manteca, Lina Stores, the other Lina Stores, the other Padella, Legare. Another one has probably opened since this was written.

20. Cepelinai at Berneliu Uzeiga

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485 High Rd Leytonstone, Leytonstone
London E11 4PG, UK

Lithuanian cuisine is an exercise in how many combinations of pork, potato, and dairy it’s possible to eat before exhaustion sets in — with enough sauerkraut and beetroot horseradish, the answer is “all of them”. The high point of the entire cuisine is surely cepelinai — little zeppelin balloon dumplings — which, at Leytonstone’s Lithuanian chain pub Berneliu Uziega, come stuffed with pork or cheese curds, the potato casing providing a proper Taiwanese QQ texture, with a genius chopped bacon and onion condiment on the side.

21. Momo at Maya DD's Restaurant

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25 Anglesea Rd, Woolwich
London SE18 6EG, UK

London’s axis of momo runs from Woolwich Arsenal station to Plumstead, where the Gurkhas settled by the barracks and gave up guns and took up knives to start great restaurants. These ice gem pleated dumplings, Nepalese momos, are well served at Kailash Momo and even better served at Maya DDs where they come boiled, fried, souped, drenched in sweet chilli, or bobbing in a tangy Nik-Nak orange pickled curry (the mighty jhol momo). It’s possible to eat four or five variations here and never feel fatigued.

1. Kreplach and kneidlach at B&K Salt Beef Bar

353 Uxbridge Rd, Hatch End, Pinner HA5 4JN, UK

Kreplach, meaning little krap (a piece of pastry), and kneidlach (aka matzoh balls) are yet other linguistically diminutive names (see the -ling in dumpling, the xiao in xiao long bao) for a wrapped parcel, proving that dumplings are the ultimate ‘small thing’ across all cultures. They show that the heart of the cuisine is always in its most miniature of items. In London both of these specifically Ashkenazi Jewish comfort dumplings can be found at B&K Salt Beef Bar in Edgware, swimming around in a healing chicken lokshen soup.

353 Uxbridge Rd, Hatch End
Pinner HA5 4JN, UK

2. Samosas at Casa de Goa

113 High St, Hounslow TW3 1QT, UK

Every Indian loves their own regional samosa. There are those heavy, hooded Punjabi ones, studded with carom and filled with potato and peas; their flake trail runs all down Southall’s South Road. There’s the little shingara, which Bengalis and Bangladeshis will say is not a samosa but absolutely is. And then all the east African variants brought over from Gujarat. So obviously the best samosa is the Goan chamuça: thin filo pastry, full of onions and spiced minced meat. If a Punjabi one knocks you out for the day then it’s possible to eat Goan ones by the dozen and not tire. For those who don’t have a Goan mum, then Casa de Goa in Hounslow will do.

113 High St
Hounslow TW3 1QT, UK

3. Siu mai/Har gow 燒賣/蝦餃 at Kam Tong Restaurant

59-63 Queensway, Bayswater, London W2 4QH, UK

Ant and Dec, Morecambe and Wise, a contrarian take no-one asked for and Brendan O’Neill: where there is siu mai, there will always be har gow. These two dumplings exist in tandem, the first true tests of any dim sum parlour. Therefore the recommendations for these go to the best dim sum places in London at every price point: Orient, Joy King Lau, Phoenix Palace, and Yi-Ban for expansive venues on the cheap — the latter’s views of London City Airport are particularly stunning — Shikumen and Royal China at the mid-range; and Michelin-starred A. Wong at the high end, where the siu mai come with pork crackling (yes) and the har gow come with a rice vinegar ... “cloud”(?) But for somewhere which is relatively off the radar, and with a dim sum menu that is outperforming its reputation, then try Kam Tong in Queensway.

59-63 Queensway, Bayswater
London W2 4QH, UK

4. Khinkali at Tamada

122 Boundary Rd, St John's Wood, London NW8 0RH, UK

Khinkali, those little knotted money purse dumplings, can be found across Tbilisi — the best ones seem to be in underground restaurants open into the small hours where burly men (and it is always men) can consume their weight in beer and dumplings. 24 hour khinkali dens may not have yet achieved the status of a “London trend”, but they can be found at most Georgian restaurants: Little Georgia in Islington, Tbilisi in Highbury, but the best might be at Tamada in St John’s Wood, where they come in sixes as a special order and should be paired with khashi — a tripe soup with a side car of c.10 cloves of garlic that will either sooth a hangover, or provide a basis for the sesh.

122 Boundary Rd, St John's Wood
London NW8 0RH, UK

5. Pierogi at Wroclove Restaurant

16 The Blvd, Balham, London SW17 7BW, UK

Pierogi are so good because Poland is one of the few dumpling cultures to have realised that the best accompaniment is butter and sour cream — a lubricant that facilitates the consumption more pierogi. Mamuska, formerly of Elephant and Castle and lately of Lambeth North, do some mean ones: pork; beef; cheese, potato, and onion; sauerkraut and mushroom. Two toppings are to be chosen from the holy trinity of cream, bacon, or onions; no one has discovered what happens if all three are applied. But the best pierogi can be found at Wroclove, the Tooting restaurant that unfortunately didn’t consider the tagline Wroclive, Wroclaugh, Wroclove, where they come stuffed with goose for those wishing revenge against the horrible, honking beast.

16 The Blvd, Balham
London SW17 7BW, UK

6. Gyoza at Seto

5-6 Plender St, London NW1 0JN, UK

The word gyoza has almost been tainted by the Wasabi brand and every single faux-Japanese chain that sells ungenerous, desiccated things that go under the same name. There is better out there. Seto in Camden used to be called Seto Ramen, and does indeed serve ramen, but the best things on the entire menu are the gyoza — plump and cushioned with pork, fried to a char on one side and served with a pot of homemade chilli oil, rich with dried shrimp. Get the gyoza, and a ramen on the side.

5-6 Plender St
London NW1 0JN, UK

7. Cheung fun 腸粉 at Orient London

15 Wardour St, West End, London W1D 6PH, UK

Is cheung fun a dumpling? Here’s its possible to justify its inclusion using a structure neutral policy which states that dumplings in Euclidian space do not necessarily have to be totally closed carb surfaces encasing a filling, and may in fact be semi enclosed. This guide takes a dim view on non-carb based wrappers and non-Euclidian dumplings. Therefore, cheung fun is indeed a dumpling and some of the best are available at Orient in Chinatown — one of the few places that doesn’t get its dim sum in from the same wholesaler and instead makes them from scratch. The king prawn cheung fun are as plump and slippery as an Etonian prime minister, the wrapper tightly adhering to the outlines of the prawns like an Atsuko Kudo latex suit.

15 Wardour St, West End
London W1D 6PH, UK

8. Jiaozi 饺子 at Jen Cafe

4-8 Newport Pl, West End, London WC2H 7JP, UK

The chameleon of the dumpling world, jiaozi have different sub-genres depending on whether they have been boiled, steamed, fried or are in soup. However the standard usage of jiaozi usually refers to the steamed kind, which are best at the triangular, green-fronted specialist Jen Cafe. They come chubby and crimped, filled with pork mince and chive. A spartan dumpling to enjoy while watching other diners come in and order the instant noodles by mistake.

4-8 Newport Pl, West End
London WC2H 7JP, UK

9. Xiao Long Bao 小龙包 at Din Tai Fung

5 Henrietta St, West End, London WC2E 8PT, UK

Xiao long bao emit an incredible amount of chaotic energy, attracting the worst kind of dumpling nerds who want skins the translucency of an amniotic sac and have strong opinions on how and whether to pierce the skin. Let people burn their mouths if they want to. For years and years everyone was told there aren’t any great XLB in London, that Din Tai Fung need to come over. And then ... Din Tai Fung announced two restaurants and opened one restaurant, there were queues for a bit, and everyone went home, having moved on to whatever the new thing is. XLB may be the tonkotsu of dumplings but they can still be glorious in the right hands, so it’s unfortunate that those nerds are right and almost no one does them well. Din Tai Fung is still the best bet to avoid the saddest sight in all dining: an arid, desiccated xiao long bao.

5 Henrietta St, West End
London WC2E 8PT, UK

10. Manti at Hala Restaurant

29 Grand Parade, Harringay, London N4 1LG, UK

The emergence of manti — to be clear, the small, spinning top shaped dumplings that veer from the size of Turkish agnolotti up to small ravioli — in London in the five years or so can be traced thus: A hidden Harringay secret, to Selin Kiazim’s Oklava Bakery (nee Kyseri), to trend, and now to every nu-Anatolian restaurant in the city. The original can still be found on Green Lanes at Hala: seemingly about a hundred tiny dumplings covered in yoghurt and chilli oil, way too rich for one person to eat but a perfect thing to order for the table. Across the road at Gozleme House, it’s possible to buy them frozen by the kilo to make at home (top tip: they go really well with Lao Gan Ma chilli oil fried in butter).

29 Grand Parade, Harringay
London N4 1LG, UK

11. Empanadas / Arepa de Paisa at Elephant Coffee

109 Elephant Rd, Elephant and Castle, London SE17 1LB, UK

These rugby ball pleated Latin-Cornish pasties can be found dotted around the Colombian bakeries of Elephant and Castle. Look for them and they are impossible to miss, the colour of sunshine and filled with slow cooked strands of meat, ready to be liberally dipped in homemade aji. The best empanada of all in Elephant isn’t really an empanada, but the arepa de paisa at Elephant Coffee, a circular version filled with the entire contents of a bandeja paisa: chorizo, crispy chicharron, shredded chicken, black beans and plantain, a dumpling as neutron star — all for £3.

109 Elephant Rd, Elephant and Castle
London SE17 1LB, UK

12. Sambusak at Falafel & Shawarma London

27 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell, London SE5 8TR, UK

What is the most food one can get for the least money in London? Surely, surely, it is the sambusaks at Falafel and Shawarma in Camberwell, the cheapest thing on an already unreasonably cheap menu. Here four filo pastry triangles, samosas in all but name, filled with spiced minced beef, with the option of chilli sauce or garlic sauce (get both) costs £1.50.

27 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell
London SE5 8TR, UK

13. Salteñas at Jenecheru London Restaurant

206 Old Kent Rd, London SE1 5TY, UK

Imagine someone pointing at a Cornish pasty and saying “soup dumpling. Essentially, that is the salteña, Bolivian versions of empanadas which are so much more than they appear. For one, they are baked rather than fried, and filled not with just meat but with gelatinous rich beef or chicken stew, often sweet with raisins, as well as chopped egg and a whole olive (sometimes dastardly unpitted), dribbling and squirting everywhere from the first bite. It’s possible to get versions of these around Elephant and Castle at many of the Colombian bakeries, but the real deal can be found at Jenecheru on Old Kent Road. 

206 Old Kent Rd
London SE1 5TY, UK

14. Dumplings at 40 Maltby St

40 Maltby St, London SE1 3PA, UK

The pillowy, pneumatic potato and ricotta dumplings at 40 Maltby St which are just called dumplings but might be called gnocchi if the word gnocchi — like all Continental culinary nomenclature — were not banned from the 40 Maltby St menu.

40 Maltby St
London SE1 3PA, UK

15. Sheng Jian Bao 生煎包 at Dumpling Shack

Old Spitalfields Market, Brushfield St, Shadwell, London E1 6BG, UK

The king of all dumplings, sheng jian bao are Shanghai’s greatest gift to the world, even more so than the xiao long bao which they surpass by virtue of being fried. Before Dumpling Shack in Spitalfields opened there was nowhere to get them, and since they opened there is still nowhere else that holds a candle. However, while not a restaurant, sheng jian bao can be picked up from Lillian of Shanghai Supper Club on certain days and times if ordered with her in advance. Or, for the lucky few, via Jason’s Li’s Dreams of Shanghai Supper Club.

Old Spitalfields Market, Brushfield St, Shadwell
London E1 6BG, UK

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16. Kibbeh at Dede Tantuni

44 Stoke Newington Rd, Clapton, London N16 7XJ, UK

Most of the kibbeh people know are deep fried, cracking with bulgur wheat and immensely tasty. Those teardrop mincemeat dumplings can be found at (Lebanese) Yasmina in Acton and (Iraqi) Juma in Borough Market. But consider the boiled version, the purists choice, where they are sweet and sticky as gulab jamun, filled with syrupy meat juice. Those kibbeh, known in Turkish as icli kofte (see also, Hala) are the star of Dede Tantuni, where they are a must order alongside the titular tantuni itself.

44 Stoke Newington Rd, Clapton
London N16 7XJ, UK

17. Fufu at Chuku's

274 High Rd, Tottenham, London N15 4AJ, UK

This category is so fluid that almost anything, up to and including the universe itself, can be considered a dumpling. Are west African swallow foods dumplings? Well if knodel are dumplings then so are banku and fufu, those marble white globes of starch pounded into elastic stress balls. The Ghanaian banku, made from a mix of cassava and fermented corn, has a slightly sour taste and at Asafo in Streatham comes shaped like a Twinkie, to pair with fried tilapia or okro soup. Pounded yam fufu can be found almost anywhere, but at the new Chuku’s in Tottenham they come, not as a whole chunk, but divided into three manageable pieces, bobbing in a tricoloured egusi soup like little matzo balls.

274 High Rd, Tottenham
London N15 4AJ, UK

18. Mantu at Kabul E Palaw

88 High St, Walthamstow, London E17 5LD, UK

Basically big boy manti, mantu are the Aghani variation on the mince meat dumpling that spread themselves flatter, looking like collapsed brain globes, covered in yoghurt, split peas, and chilli oil. A mantu quarter of sorts is springing up in Harrow, where Masa and Mazar both serve good examples, but at Kabul-e-Palaw in Walthamstow Skyn-thin skins and a generously spiced filling that works well spilled over a plate of rice.

88 High St, Walthamstow
London E17 5LD, UK

19. Ravioli at anywhere and everywhere

Blackheath Ave, Greenwich, London SE10 8XJ, UK

Some people might be thinking why is ravioli on here, but despite the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) scaremongering, Italian restaurants are still perfectly safe places to eat. It’s now possible to eat ravioli LITERALLY ANYWHERE in London: at every single new-wave pasta place that has opened up in the last week: Padella, Bancone, Officina 00, Palatino, Pastaio, Manteca, Lina Stores, the other Lina Stores, the other Padella, Legare. Another one has probably opened since this was written.

Blackheath Ave, Greenwich
London SE10 8XJ, UK

20. Cepelinai at Berneliu Uzeiga

485 High Rd Leytonstone, Leytonstone, London E11 4PG, UK

Lithuanian cuisine is an exercise in how many combinations of pork, potato, and dairy it’s possible to eat before exhaustion sets in — with enough sauerkraut and beetroot horseradish, the answer is “all of them”. The high point of the entire cuisine is surely cepelinai — little zeppelin balloon dumplings — which, at Leytonstone’s Lithuanian chain pub Berneliu Uziega, come stuffed with pork or cheese curds, the potato casing providing a proper Taiwanese QQ texture, with a genius chopped bacon and onion condiment on the side.

485 High Rd Leytonstone, Leytonstone
London E11 4PG, UK

21. Momo at Maya DD's Restaurant

25 Anglesea Rd, Woolwich, London SE18 6EG, UK

London’s axis of momo runs from Woolwich Arsenal station to Plumstead, where the Gurkhas settled by the barracks and gave up guns and took up knives to start great restaurants. These ice gem pleated dumplings, Nepalese momos, are well served at Kailash Momo and even better served at Maya DDs where they come boiled, fried, souped, drenched in sweet chilli, or bobbing in a tangy Nik-Nak orange pickled curry (the mighty jhol momo). It’s possible to eat four or five variations here and never feel fatigued.

25 Anglesea Rd, Woolwich
London SE18 6EG, UK

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