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Seeking comfort food? Here are some delicious dumplings to try.

Soup dumplings, gyoza, fufu, pierogies, and more. We could travel the world by eating dumplings around Rhode Island.

A plate of dumplings with chile crisp, a spicy crunchy condiment.CHRIS SIMPSON/NYT
Alexa Gagosz

When I need to address the seasonal blues or a stressful workweek, I skip everyone else’s go-to comfort foods like Shepherd’s Pie or ice cream and turn to dumplings. When I was bartending, I’d end a long night by going to Dumpling Palace, a snug place in Boston that used to stay open until 3 a.m., to split plates of Taiwanese-style pan-fried crab meat dumplings with my coworkers. During the pandemic, I went to my local Asian grocery store and filled my cart with bags of frozen chive-and-pork dumplings, which I’d carefully steam at home so they wouldn’t burst open.

Making dumplings is an art form that involves expert folding techniques, and the perfect amount of stuffing so the dumplings don’t explode when you’re cooking them. It’s a process I usually leave to the pros. The beauty of dumplings is that they come in all sorts of variations, and from all over the world.

Agnolotti is a meat-filled pasta from the Piedmont region of Italy. Dampfnudel is a steamed German sweet dumpling. Kreplach are traditional Jewish dumplings filled with ground meat or mashed potatoes. Kenkey is a ground corn dumpling from West Africa, and is usually served with soups and stews.

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Akashiyaki is a small round dumpling from the city of Akashi in Japan. It’s made of octopus and an egg-rich batter that’s dipped into dashi (a light fish broth). Gyoza is another Japanese dumpling, and it’s usually served with chili oil as an appetizer in restaurants around America. The list goes on, but you get the point. Dumplings are universal.

We could travel the world by eating dumplings around Rhode Island. Here are a few to try this week.

Pork dumplings in chili sauce from Chong Qing House

Chong Qing House in East Providence is unassuming if you’re standing on Taunton Avenue, but inside is an authentic Szechuan restaurant. Their pork dumplings are steamed and delicate, and are served submerged in a bowl of chili sauce that’s so spicy it ignites the tongue and makes your lips numb. You’ll most certainly have leftover chili sauce. I took it home and used it in a rice bowl I made with leftover hanger steak and asparagus.

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Pork dumplings in chili sauce from Chong Qing House in East Providence, R.I.Alexa Gagosz

Pierogies at Krakow Deli Bakery & Smokehouse

We’re heading to Poland next, via Woonsocket at Krakow Deli Bakery & Smokehouse where siblings Krystian Przybylko and his sister Marta Samek prepare hearty pierogies. There are a range of fillings for these Eastern European dumplings, including potato and onion, cheese and prune, and a classic cabbage. Przybylko and Samek came to the US from Poland in the 1990s, and learned how to make pierogies from their grandmother nearly 40 years ago. If you want to learn how to fold the dumplings yourself, Krakow hosts pierogi-making classes every Sunday.

Krakow Deli Bakery & Smokehouse fill an order of Polish breakfast food in Woonsocket, R.I.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

Fufu at Toyin African Restaurant

Fufu is a starchy dumpling that’s typically made of yam or cassava, and is used to sop up delicious West African stews. In Providence’s West End neighborhood, Toyin African Restaurant served these pounded yam dumplings warm with generous servings of egusi soup.

Fufu with stew.DAVID MALOSH

A vegetarian option at Jayd Bun

In South Kingstown, Jayd Bun co-owner Annie Parisi learned how to cook in Tianjin, China. Today, she is known as one of Rhode Island’s top chefs for noodles, buns, and warm soups. If you’re craving a vegetarian dumpling, there are plenty of places to go, but Jayd Bun offers some of the best with their “Jin Jin Dumplings,” which are named after her toddler daughter. They come as eight open-ended dumplings filled with spinach, mushrooms, and tofu wrapped in a clear mung bean noodle.

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Pork bao at Jayd Bun.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Ravioli from Prica Farina Fresh Pasta Co.

Ravioli is one of Italy’s most beloved dumplings. There’s the classic ricotta filling, but Rhode Island’s chefs are more creative than that. In Warren, Prica Farina Fresh Pasta Co. prepares all sorts of raviolis – 450 to 500 pounds per week, along with 150 pints of from-scratch gelato, pastries, and breads. Think of fillings like caramelized onions with figs and Prosciutto di Parma. Grab a pound or two and bring it home to pair with your favorite homemade sauce.

Pasta in the display case at Prica Farina Fresh Pasta Co. in Warren, R.I.Glenn Osmundson

Russian-style dumplings with squash at Hangry Kitchen

This is where New England’s love for squash shines. At Hangry Kitchen in Pawtucket, chef Stacy Deetz takes traditional Chinese dumplings and incorporates a squash filling, which is a technique often cherished by Russian-speaking languages. She adds savory bacon to the filling, some miso butterscotch, and a burnt orange drizzle on the plate.

Squash dumplings at Hangry Kitchen in Pawtucket, R.I.Glenn Osmundson

This story first appeared in The Globe Rhode Island Food Club, a free weekly email about Rhode Island’s restaurant industry that also contains information about local events, Q&As with chefs, dining guides, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail each Thursday, you can sign up here.


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.