I posted this picture of a "dumpling" on Twitter last weekend and it generated quite a response. Many people felt that the word dumpling implied something small and I'll admit I was surprised when they set a plates of these in front of me. Of course looking back at the menu later I realized that they were actually, "pot stickers," shrimp and leek pot stickers to be exact. Of course those much smaller dumplings you can see in the back of the picture are the pork pot stickers so you can understand how there could be some confusion.
Dumplings can be steamed, boiled or fried. Pot stickers are known as such specifically because of their cooking method. They are seared and then steamed in the saute pan so that they cook through. The steam evaporates and the bottoms are crisped again at the very end of the cooking. When properly made they have a tendency to stick the the pan, hence the name "pot sticker." In Chinese restaurants that differentiate between pot stickers and dumplings on the menu, anyone ordering a dumpling will likely receive them in a steamer basket.
In this case the size proved to be somewhat detrimental to the experience. The dumplings were stuffed full of a tasty mixture of tiny shrimp, Chinese leeks, and glass noodles. The downside was that they were very difficult to eat and to dip in the accompanying sauce. Perhaps if we had someone experienced in eating them at the table we could have figured out the trick but as it was we struggled. We enjoyed them but probably would not order them again. Size matters in cooking. Some dishes, like fried chicken, are deliberately designed to be messy and interactive and some things are better in one or two bites.