Pockets of dough filled with scrumptious ingredients are cultural culinary mainstays around the world — and here in Ottawa too. For 101 Tastes, we scoured the city for the 5 best dumplings (aka momos, mantus, pierogies, gyozas…)
Roku Bar + Bites Big Mak Gyozas
Brothers-in-law Robert Sayaphet and Peter Mak perfected their gyoza by doing pop-ups around the city before they opened Roku Bar + Bites in Chinatown. There are pork, seafood, and veggie gyoza on Roku’s menu, but the most popular one has consistently been the Big Mak. Described as “a Big Mac in a dumpling,” the gyoza delivers everything you’d expect from the signature Golden Arches burger: a ground beef centre served with shredded lettuce, diced sweet pickles, a secret sauce, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds (no bun, of course, but the pan-fried dumpling makes for an even tastier snack).
Roku Bar + Bites, $10. 610 Somerset St. W. KS
House of Targ Pierogies
Go for the pinball, and stay for the perogies at House of Targ. The all-perogy menu includes three kinds of perogies wrapped in Targ’s “secret dough,” as well as a vegan option and rotating features. Servings include six golden fried perogies and come with the traditional fixings: cold beet salad, sauerkraut, and sour cream. Plus, any order can be topped with bacon and caramelized onions. The Traditional will satisfy cravings for the time-honoured Eastern European dish, while Kickstart My Heartichoke mixes up the game with artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, and cream cheese. Fuel up before trying for that high score. (And there’s no need to worry about missing your order — each order is announced in a voice fit for a Mortal Kombat game.) Six for $12, 12 for $20. House of Targ, 1077 Bank St. KS
Dumpling Park Pork & Chive Dumplings
The turquoise trailer on bright Astroturf is more than just a cutesy front (though Dumpling Park is incredibly instagrammable). Co-owners Krista O’Leary and Kellie Vu make their dumplings from scratch, using a family recipe. Dumpling Park has served them for four seasons now, and they can barely keep up with the demand for pork-and-chive dumplings, their signature dish. A bowl gets you six dumplings served with zucchini noodles; if you’re hankering for more, get the mega size (10 dumplings, zucchini noodles, jasmine rice with soy broth). Dumpling Park, $9–12. 538 Rochester St. KS
Supreme Kabob House Mantus
From Sardinian culugiones to the dumplings of China, pockets of dough filled with savoury concoctions exist in many forms, in many cultures. Mantu were born in the middle of a cultural swath between Asia and Europe; Afghani mantu are shaped a bit looser than Turkish mantu, but the approach is similar. Filled with spiced meat and dressed with dried mint, sumac, garlic yogurt, chili peppers, hot butter tomato sauce, and sometimes lentils, you will find heat and the cooling effect of the garlic yogurt and mint in every bite. Some of the best Afghani mantu in the city can be found at Supreme Kabob House. 12 for $14.
Supreme Kabob House, 2750 Iris St. SK
Sula Wok Tibetan Momos
There’s no denying that momos are having a moment. Dumpling connoisseurs truly appreciate this take on the Tibetan version of a potsticker. Xin-Hui Su (a.k.a. Sula) of Sula Wok restaurant perfected her craft in southern China at her family’s Tibetan-themed Yak Café, so she truly knows her stuff. Tender and fragrantly addictive, these comfort-food classics are a true pleasure. Tibetan beef and pork-and-chive are our go-tos, though Sula does cook up vegetarian options. Shredded pickled veggies on the side provide the perfect counterpoint to the richness of the momos. An order of a dozen is a good-sized snack for two — but you won’t want to share, so do yourself a favour and get your own. 12 for $12.
Sula Wok, 184 Main St. SB