Pocket Levels 101
Pocket foods are a way to see the world. Most places on this planet can claim some sort of specialty made by putting food inside of food and making it somewhat portable. Pockets are comforting, delicious, and an often memory-driven food.
We are often met with the question: “What makes something a pocket food? Aren’t we just talking about dumplings?” We’re glad to look at the world through dumpling-colored glasses, but it would be doing a disservice to the world’s pockets to call them dumplings and call it a day.
Classifying food-inside-of-food, calling them pockets and telling their story is what we do here. While pocket food is the niche where we like to spend our time (and our money!), we are breaking it down to help y’all identify what type of pocket we’re dealing with at any given moment.
As tasty and beloved as they may be, all pockets are not created equal. Allow us to introduce you to the official hierarchy of pocket food. Get on our level!
Level 1: Perfect Pockets
- “Perfect” pockets are fully enclosed, with the outer shell completely wrapped around a delicious filling.
- They can be folded, crimped, formed, or pressed together.
- Perfect pockets can have seams like an empanada, or can be seamless like a Chinese pork bun, pupusa, or papa relleno.
- Examples: Dumplings, empanadas, hand pies, pupusas, mandu, gyoza, cha siu bao, tamales, papa relleno, qatayef, pierogi, pasticiotto, samosa, savory kolaches, turnovers, kubueh
Levels 2-6 are living on the edge of the pocket spectrum: something on the outside is still holding a filling in the center (and a big place in our hearts).
Level 3: Boat Pockets
- “Boat” pockets’ outer shell is made from a base and walls that come up and contain the filling.
- They can be shallow or deep and can be made from dough, like khachapuri, galettes, personal pies, or vegetables, like zucchini or bell peppers.
- Examples: khachapuri, stuffed bell peppers, zucchini boats, hamantaschen, kueh pie tie, siu mai, galettes, sweet kolaches, cheese danishes, Taco Bell Crunch Wrap
Level 4: Hinged Pockets
- “Hinged” pockets have a hinge that allows the walls of the outer shell to wrap up around the filling.
- The opening of hinge pockets can be from either folding over the dough, like tacos or bao, of from splitting open the side of a pocket, such as a pita, falafel sandwich, panucho, or gordita.
- Examples: panuchos, pita sandwich, falafel sandwich, stuffed crepes, quesadilla, arepa, gordita, taco, gua bao
Bonus! Double Pockets!
- Pockets wrapped inside another pocket! Like, pocket-ception!
- Examples: banh xeo, chiles rellenos burritos, croquembouche, spring rolls wrapped in lettuce, tacos from Taco Town.