Why This Afghan Mantu Is TikTok's Most Requested Dumpling

Cuisines of the world tend to vary quite a bit from location to location, and we don't just mean from one country to another. Just look at the differences in America's regional barbecue styles alone and you'll see what we mean. But if you look past all of the differences for long enough, soon you'll start seeing some interesting similarities between favorite foods from around the world. One notable item that seems to be a favorite across the globe? Dumplings.

From gnocchi to gyoza, pierogi to pelmeni, it seems like just about every culture has its own dumplings. But some are more popularized in the U.S. than others. This means that there are likely tons of delicious dumplings for Americans to explore and enjoy beyond their familiar frozen Costco mini wontons. Conveniently, TikTok is one of the best places to learn about them. In fact, there's one popular TikTok account with more than 7 million likes that's featured dozens of dumpling recipes from around the world. But among all of the varieties of dumplings that humans have created over the centuries, the TikToker, Em, says that Afghan mantu are their "most highly requested dumpling."

What are Afghan mantu?

Not to be confused with mandu, the Korean dumplings that had Costco fans in shambles, mantu are a dumpling from Afghanistan. They also shouldn't be confused with Turkish manti dumplings, which are baked and boiled. Afghan mantu dumplings feature a wheat flour wrapper that's stuffed with a seasoned meat mixture, usually made with beef or lamb. The dumplings are steamed, and in TikTok user MyriadRecipes' video, they show how to fold the mantu dumplings in the traditional manner. To serve, mantu are often complete with a tomato or yogurt-based sauce, or both. The result is a savory, meaty dumpling with a silky wrapper, and the tangy, creamy addition of tomato and yogurt only makes things more delicious. 

According to Afghan Kitchen Recipes, mantu are "perhaps the most popular dish from Aghanistan." They shared that you can buy mantu from street vendors that pop up "at markets and busy streets much like hotdog stands." (No offense to hot dogs, but we'd much rather snack on mantu at our next baseball game.) Blog Afghan Cooks shared this helpful tip if you want to try mantu for yourself but don't feel like fussing around with making dough from scratch: Use store-bought wonton wrappers. "Even Afghans use these wrappers when in a rush," they assure readers, so if that's what's been holding you back from trying this popular Afghan dumpling recipe, there's nothing stopping you now.