Chinese wonton soup with pork in black bowl, top view. (Photo by: Anjelika Gretskaia/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
The Difference Between Wontons And Dumplings
Legend has it that Chinese dumplings were first created in 280 AD for medicinal purposes, but today, we enjoy them as a delicious dinner or appetizer. In China alone, there are dozens of variations on meat and vegetables wrapped in dough, including wontons, which are a type of dumpling, but differ from the standard kind.
A standard dumpling, called jiaozi in Chinese, is a half moon-shaped package made of a wheat wrapper — which can vary in thickness, but is usually round — folded around a filling, then boiled, steamed, or pan-fried. Meanwhile, wontons are smaller, made with thinner, square-shaped wrappers, and have a more specific filling.
Traditional wontons contain prawn or shrimp, pork, shallots, and ginger, while jiaozi fillings can vary widely, from pork to tofu to vegetables. Wontons are also much newer than jiaozi: as far as we know, they first appeared in 1644, and were once enjoyed by wealthier classes, but became more of a working class dish after World War II.
Wontons have a distinct, compact shape and can be folded in at least three different ways, but there are an impressive 24 (and counting) ways to fold a dumpling. Wontons are usually deep-fried or cooked in boiling water or broth, and due to their smaller size, they're often eaten as an appetizer or snack rather than a main dish.