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Our Seven Favorite Dumplings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, of course, is best known for the pierogi. Our love of dumplings extends beyond that, however. These seven dumplings are our favorite restaurant versions of their various styles.



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photos by Laura Petrilla

 

A dumpling is a “small mass of dough cooked by boiling or steaming.” That’s a fine definition for Merriam-Webster. But I prefer the way Mike Chen, owner of Everyday Noodles in Squirrel Hill, defines them. “Dumplings are thin-skinned, small and stuffed,” he says.

Chen, by the way, loves dumplings. When he was a teenager in Taiwan, he once ate 100 xiaolongbao, better known in the United States as soup dumplings, in one sitting. Respect. 

Stuffed and sealed, boiled or steamed dough packets spread along the old Silk Road, the ancient network of trading routes that connected Asia and Europe. Along the way, gyoza, wonton, manti, pelmeni, zwetschgenknödel and ravioli all found places in the hearts and minds of their geographies. 

Pittsburgh, of course, is best known for the pierogi. Our love of dumplings extends beyond that, however. These seven dumplings are our favorite restaurant versions of their various styles.
 


 

Pierogi

Butterjoint

Celebrating the pierogi isn’t unique to Pittsburgh. No other city, however, seems to love the Polish dumplings as much as we do; costumed pierogi even battle for glory after the fifth inning of Pittsburgh Pirates home games. Naturally, it’s tough to choose a favorite.
 


 

What we love about Butterjoint, in addition to the perfectly browned-in-butter finish of the previously boiled packet, is you have the option to follow tradition with a straightforward pierogi filled with airy potato and cottage cheese plated with caramelized onion and sour cream, yet also get something that breaks with tradition in a way that seems, well, traditional.
 


 

At certain times of the year, kimchi substitutes for sauerkraut and goat merguez for kielbasa, yet the plate always feels rooted in Pittsburgh. Executive Chef/Owner Trevett Hooper and his squad work as a team every Monday to prepare the week’s haul — he says the crew makes anywhere between 500 to 700 per week, depending on the time of the year.

214 N. Craig St., Oakland; 412/621-2700, butterjoint.com
 


 

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