Nai wong bao – Wonderbao

Distinguished from its taro-filled cousin by a tiny yellow dot, the cloud-like egg-custard bao is so perfectly round and white, it could be something from a Miyazaki film. Once you split the firm, fluffy dough, you’ll find the subtly sweetened custard within.

4/19–37 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne

Gulab jamun – Tonka

Adam D'Sylva's variation on the classic Indian treat is as inventive as it is respectful. Moulded from fresh ricotta cheese and deep-fried, these extraordinary little planetoids are soaked overnight in a saffron infusion. They’re then served with bright strands of saffron and a wafer of edible silver. They are moist, light and a little spongy, deeply perfumed and with a balanced sweetness.

20 Duckboard Place, Melbourne

Milk chocolate dumpling – Charlie Dumpling

Chef Dylan Roberts’ inventive dumplings are doughnut-like globes filled with molten chocolate and mounted on skewers. The richness is cleverly balanced with a raspberry sorbet and a sprinkling of chilli sugar for kick.

184 High Street, Windsor

Chocolate and pandanus dumplings – Easy Tiger

The most refined of the group. Served with melon and salted coconut cream, chef Jarrod Hudson’s creation is a study in the merging of salty and sweet. Rolled by hand to order, the taut, slick pandanus dumplings burst with Monsieur Truffe chocolate. Topped with a dusting of basil seeds.

96 Smith Street, Collingwood

Quark-filled piroshki – The Crimean

Piroshki (or pirozhki, pyrizhky, pirogi, or пирожок) are little bready dumplings beloved of people in Russia, Ukraine and Poland. Usually, they’re stuffed with meat, mushrooms and onions. The Crimean hit upon a sweeter option, instead using the Eastern European curd cheese, quark. Dusted with icing sugar, the doughy spheres are served with fragrant rose jam and a generous scoop of smoky Russian Caravan ice-cream.

351 Queensberry St, North Melbourne

Nutella gyoza – Peko Peko

Fitzroy’s Peko Peko is continuing the gyoza evolution. Instead of a meaty middle, the Smith Street eatery fills its won-ton skins with Nutella, deep-fries them until crisp and dusts them with icing sugar. They’re served with your choice of green tea or black sesame ice-cream, depending on what’s on offer that day.

199 Smith St, Fitzroy