Neal Santos

“Everyone likes dumplings,” says chef Ben Puchowitz of the newly opened East Passyunk hot spot Bing Bing Dim Sum. It’s a simple statement, but it rings true in a remarkably global sense. If you take a quick spin around the globe, you can land virtually anywhere and find a variation on the small, savory — sometimes filled and sometimes not — ball of dough.

Potstickers, pierogies and pasteles are gimmes from Asia, Eastern Europe and South America, but the transcontinental proliferation goes so much further than that. There are Swedish palt, balls of dough stuffed with unsmoked bacon or even reindeer blood; pamonha, Brazilian tamales with corn and coconut milk; and pickert, potato dumplings from Westphalia, Germany, served with liverwurst.

Judging by the wait times at Bing Bing, Puchowitz and his business partner, Shawn Darragh, have created a dumpling-centric golden ticket of a menu that has a wide-ranging accessibility and hits a sweet spot of comfort.

Wilson Tang, owner of Nom Wah Tea Parlor, New York’s oldest dim sum spot, recently opened a second outpost in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. In1950, his uncle, Wally, landed a job in the kitchen of the original location, worked his way up through the ranks and eventually bought the restaurant in 1974. When Tang’s uncle retired in his early 80s in 2010, Tang took over a business that dates back to 1920.

“It is the classic of the classics, your traditional, old-school Cantonese-style dim sum,” Tang says. He compares dim sum to Spanish tapas, a way of eating that involves small, shared plates that’s been around for centuries. But it’s one that’s very at home in the current culinary climate. “Two white guys doing dim sum in Philly? How cool is that?” he says referring to his comrades in dumpling-making, Puchowitz and Darragh.

But dim sum is only the beginning of the dumpling story in Philadelphia. There are international iterations of the same basic formula on menus from Cheltenham to Chinatown, Point Breeze to Port Richmond; enough to keep an avid dumpling enthusiast more than occupied and, well, stuffed.

Explore a world of Philadelphia dumplings right here:

Jumbo buns and kimchi dumplings at Mandoo & Noodles in Cheltenham.

Japanese shumai and potstickers at Rai Rai Ramen in Chinatown.

Handmade Polish pierogies at Port Richmond’s Syrenka Lunchoenette.

A Cypriot take on an Armenian classic at Kanella

Authentic dim sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor

And decidedly inauthentic dim sum at Bing Bing