Shanghai Wonton(上海元宝馄饨)

What is Wonton?

A wonton (traditional Chinese: 餛飩; simplified Chinese: 馄饨; pinyin: húntun; Jyutping: wan4 tan1) is a type of Chinese dumpling commonly found across regional styles of Chinese cuisine. It is also spelled wantan or wuntun in transliteration from Cantonese 雲吞 / 云吞 (wan4 tan1) and wenden from Shanghainese 餛飩 / 馄饨 (hhun den). Even though there are many different styles of wonton served throughout China, Cantonese wontons are the most popular in the West due to the predominance of Cantonese restaurants overseas.

Originating from China, wontons have also become popular in other East and Southeast Asian cuisines.

Yang Xiong from the western Han dynasty mentioned “bing wei zhi tun,” which means wontons are a type of bread. The difference is that wontons have fillings inside and are eaten after being steamed or boiled.


Ancient Chinese thought wonton were a sealed bun, lacking “qi qiao” (‘seven orifices’). So it was called “hun dun” (混沌), which means ‘turbidity’ or ‘chaos.’ Based on the Chinese method of making characters, the radicals are changed from water to food; then, they became “hun tun” (餛飩, wonton in Cantonese). At that time, wonton had no difference from dumplings.


For hundreds of years, dumplings had not changed, but wontons became popular in southern China and developed a distinct style. From the time of the Tang dynasty, people began to differentiate the names of dumplings (jiaozi) and wontons.

Differences from jiaozi

Wontons resemble jiaozi (餃子) dumplings but usually have less filling and are wrapped in a thin 6 x 6cm2 yellow square dough wrapper or an isosceles trapezoid and folded into a triangular shape resembling a Chinese gold ingot known as yuanbao (元寶). Jiaozi are wrapped in a slightly thicker circular white dough wrapper with more filling and either flat or pleated edges.


The wonton dough wrapper is sometimes referred to as a wonton skin[and becomes transparent after being thoroughly boiled. It takes a shorter time to boil a wonton. The texture is also very smooth.


Wontons are traditionally served in soup, but jiaozi is usually eaten with dipping sauce.

Shanghai wonton machine(上海元宝馄饨)

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