Delicate Dumplings

Nibble on these far-flung hot pockets, from Diaphanous Afghan ashak to chubby Polish pierogi.

Eastern Chinese: Tang Bao
Yes, that’s a drinking straw sticking out of the house specialty at Wang Xing Ji, an offshoot of the century-old restaurant in Wuxi, near Shanghai. Tang bao is a grapefruit-size orb that’s bloated with soup in a steamer. As with its popular petite cousin, xiaolongbao, one slurps the savory broth before digging into the crab and pork filling. » 140 W. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, 626-307-1188.

Polish: Pierogi
At the grandmotherly Polka pouches of hand-rolled dough encase fist-size quantities of ground pork and chicken, whipped potatoes and cheese, or stewed mushrooms with sauerkraut. The gnocchi-like kopytka are the perfect starchy side for beef stew, but purists simply use a dab of butter. Poles love their dumplings so much; they make berry-filled versions for dessert, too. » 4112 Verdugo Rd., Eagle Rock.

Armenian: Manti
At Mantee Cafe we’ve spotted more than a few diners hoarding whole orders of these boat-shaped dumplings. Served in a garlicky yogurt sauce, the tiny beef- or spinach-filled nuggets are as addictive as Garlic fries. » 10962 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-761-6565.

Afghan: Ashak & Mantu
Ashak, the floppy leek-filled pasta parcels served at Azeen’s, are blanketed in a meaty, tomato-laced, Bolognese-style sauce and swirled with garlic-infused yogurt. Like mantu—a dome-shaped, lamb-filled relation also on the menu—ashak characterizes Afghanistan’s hallmark blend of East Asian and Persian flavors. » 110 E. Union St., Pasadena.

Nepalese-Tibetan: Momo
Sold along the dusty lanes of Nepal and Tibet, the steamed packets and pillowy crescents known as momo hold subtly spiced vegetables and chicken. At Himalayan Cafe, the pickle-curry dip adds a blast of flavor. » 36 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena.

Russian: Pelmeni
Russian dumpling parlors, or pelmennaya, serve this tortellini-like offering, which is made in mass quantities, frozen outdoors, and consumed through the winter. At Russian Dacha Cafe plump morsels float in consommé with a dollop of sour cream. » 5338 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-509-5828.