I am going to give you a list of food- They are all meat/filling encased by dough and usually fried, but can be baked or steamed. The list is alphabetical.

  • Banh Bot Loc (Vietnam)
  • Buuz (Mongolia)
  • Chuchvara (Central Asia)
  • Coxinhas (Brazil)
  • Empanadas (South America)
  • Gyoza (Japan)
  • Khinkali (Georgia)
  • Knish (Eastern Europe)
  • Kreplack (Eastern Europe)
  • Kroppkaka (Sweden)
  • Mandu (Korea)
  • Manti (Turkey)
  • Maultaschen (Germany)
  • Modak (India)
  • Momos (Tibet, Nepal, India)
  • Pasteles (Puerto Rico)
  • Pastizzi (Malta)
  • Pelmeni (Russia)
  • Pierogi (Poland)
  • Ravioli (Italy)
  • Rissois (Portugal)
  • Samosa (India)
  • Siu Mai (China)
  • Svestkove Knedliky (Czech Republic)
  • Tamales (Mexico)
  • Vareniky (Ukraine)
  • Wontons (China)

I’m sure that there are many more variations of the dough/filling thing…but thanks to travel.earth, we have at least a small list…

So the question is:

Which of these dishes came first? Which one was the very first dough/filling thing?

And which culturally appropriated ones do we shame because they are just a mere copy?

Do you have a dough/filling combo that you think was the very first of its type?

66 thoughts on “Who’s on First

  1. The first ones were probably at some little restaurant in Babylon or something, and there’s a clay tablet somewhere detailing someone’s complaint about them….

    Here in Nebraska, there is a chain of restaurants where their speciality is a baked dough with a spiced meat and cabbage filling. I don’t know what it was originally called in Germany or wherever they came from, but they’re known as runzas here.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. 😁

        I doubt you’ll find them under that name. I think it’s peculiar to Nebraska. But it’s usually just beef, cabbage, and spices rolled up in dough and baked. They have some variations– with meatballs, swiss cheese and mushrooms, or the vegetarian version made with lentils. But it’s just a stuffed sandwich.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I suspect that there was no true first. It is a fairly simple idea and I would have expected disparate and geographically dispersed folks to have stumbled across the process quite independently of each other 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pasties from Cornwall, England. Said to be a portable food for the men working in the mines to have for lunch.
    And now I am hungry….and it is only 8:28 AM.
    I have had the Runzas before mentioned above–they are good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If I were to guess which came First I’d go to the oldest cultures. The Chinese and Hebrews have have been around for the longest, I believe around 6 thousand years of recorded history so it stands to reason that these cultures might have done it first. Just guessing. And Wontons and Kreplochs are the same except the Asian version is made with pork.
    I just googled kreplach and it said that might have come to be around the same time as ravioli. But that’s just a guess.
    I still think the Middle East or Far East were first.
    Personally anything made with dough is usually delicious. I don’t eat red meat these days but cheese or spinach ravioli is yummy and I still enjoy kreplach in matzah ball soup.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha! I remember as a little girl the first time my family took me out to a Chinese restaurant. I thought the owners were Jewish because there was kreplach in my soup. My parents told that story for years about their daughter letting the waiter know how much she loved their kreplach! I suppose we’ll never know who was first. Unless someone finds some petrified wontons! Each culture will take ownership of being the first! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. There’s a show on Netflix with Chef David Chang called “Ugly Delicious” that explores the idea of the similar foods being found all over the world. My favorite dumplings are Har Gow. Also, my friends in Santa Barbara are from Australia and they had a restaurant that served Aussie Pies. Small handheld pies with puff pastry and savory fillings like spinach and feta or scallops.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Soooo, I never thought food could be appropriated. Since I just spent a vast amount of time in a place that is colonized and diverse, I have another opinion on this. I’ll use the empanada as an example. Empanadas originated from X place, but then it was brought to Y place because the people migrated up there. The X people mixed with the Y people and somehow empanadas ended up being made with either flour or corn, neither is wrong, just different and based on what’s available to the X or Y people.

    Here’s my point. Appropriation is usually a negative thing where you take something from another culture, don’t honor where it came from, and pretend it’s your own. I think it’s the acknowledgement. Of course, over time, it’s just like oh…our Y people make corn empanadas. But at first, to not appropriate, there’s an acknowledgement of history.

    I’m GUESSING that’s how all of these filling dishes originated and got moved around and changed.

    I think the issue nowadays is we can see the appropriation happen and also see where there is no acknowledgement of specific aspects of a culture, like a headdress or hairstyle, for example.

    I also think you’d like the documentary High on the Hog (on Netflix).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there’s a slim line between appropriating and assimilation (is assimilation the correct word?) I agree that acknowledging something is key….but when I put on ballet flats I’m not thanking the dancers that chose to wear them way before I thought they were a comfortable alternative to heels….everything comes from something…but I am going to look for that doc

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know I seem pedantic…but I don’t want to revert to people needing to stay in their lanes, because they are supposed to do or be a certain way or thing. In the thirties when my grandfather became a lawyer he was told that Italian immigrants weren’t lawyers, they were laborers because that’s what they were good at…I fear that thinking

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know. You’re not being pedantic.

        I just think sometimes we conflate issues. So, for example, with the food thing, recipes change based on what’s available in the region. And if I’m a chef, then making other meals is like fusion, right?

        But if your business uses idk…Asian models with cornrows as a way to sell clothes or something, then they have appropriated a way of being for a culture.

        Telling a group of people they cannot my be laborers is racist and demeaning.

        I’m trying to see the whole picture though. I don’t think we should ever tell a group they can’t be something, but I do think knowing why and how you’re doing something is important.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The thing is, does anyone really know the origins of anything? My husband is the perfect example of the Jew who observes the high holy days, but has absolutely no idea as to why the rituals. Like, do people understand the thought behind a Friday fish night?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. As an extension or maybe corollary to one of the concepts I got from the book Guns, Germs and Steel, I think that most of the really good ideas, or at least products, developed separately in different parts of the world. I mean, dough could be created from something found naturally in many different parts of the world. From that base, it probably only took a very short stretch of the wide-ranging human imagination (and hunger pangs) to figure out it could be stuffed with something tasty that was found locally in nature in each different place. Voila! Now we have this scrumptious variety of goodies to sample wherever we travel.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a good list for showing that “cultural appropriation” is hogwash. We are human and have similar needs and tastes, but our food choices often depend on our resources. Try new foods. Create new dishes. Take something you like and make it your own. Celebrate diversity, commonalities, and creativity.

    Liked by 1 person

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