Like dumplings, every culture has a meatball recipe. From Italy to Sweden to China and beyond, the delicious reward of rolling ground meat and spices together seems to be a pretty universal concept.

Whether you want to tuck into a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, wolf down a meatball sub in front of the game or throw a cocktail party with mini-meatballs, we'd be hard-pressed to find an occasion that they weren't appropriate for (yes, you can even make vegetarian versions, if you're into that kind of thing). We found some of our favorite meatballs from around the world to share with you today. Let us know if we missed your favorite version, and bonus points will be awarded to anyone who throws a Meatballs of the World party.

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  • Imperial; Portland, Oregon

    “The taste is part duck à l’orange, part mole, and part a sweet and sour stew that I remember my grandmother cooking for our family during the holidays,” says chef Vitaly Paley of his superb meatballs. Paley first grinds a mixture of duck, prunes, house-cured and -smoked bacon, toasted bread crumbs and spices (star anise, cinnamon, red pepper flakes and wood-fire-dried oregano). The meatballs are roasted, then braised with prunes, carrots, dried pasilla chile, red wine, cream, sherry, brandy, charred onion and duck stock. The aromatic dish is finished with crispy orange gremolata. “The result is sweet, sour and spicy,” says Paley. <strong>Plus: <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/best-pizza-places-in-the-us" target="_blank">Best Pizza in the U.S. </a></strong>

  • Locanda Verde; New York City

    Chef Andrew Carmellini didn’t grow up eating meatballs. “I’m half Italian, but that half is from Friuli and Tuscany—there were no Neapolitan meatballs whatsoever,” he says. Still, Carmellini (an F&W Best New Chef 2000) prepares awesome lamb meatball sliders. Except for the Italian goat cheese, every part of the dish is made in-house: Carmellini grinds the lamb with onion, simmers the meatballs in tomato sauce, then serves them on Parmesan-onion buns with cucumber pickles. They’re fantastic and reminiscent of the old-school type—the kind one might think Carmellini grew up with. <strong>Plus: <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/americas-best-bread-bakeries" target="_blank">America’s Best Bread Bakeries</a> </strong>

  • The Meatball Shop; New York City

    Meatball specialists Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow now have three locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn for their cozy restaurants, with the slogan “We Make Balls.” The meatball options range from classic beef laced with ricotta to spicy pork and vegetable; you can choose from accompanying sauces like classic tomato or Parmesan cream. Holzman and Chernow tend to think broadly: You can have smashed balls, balls on top of your salad and naked balls. Maybe this makes you to think of some good punch lines; if so, there’s a place to submit ball jokes on the Meatball Shop’s website. <strong>Plus: <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/best-pizza-unexpected-places" target="_blank">America’s Best Pizza in Unexpected Places</a></strong>

  • Marabella Meatball Co.; Philadelphia

    Here, you can build a sandwich like beef-pork-veal meatballs with marinara sauce and aged provolone. (Toppings like prosciutto and broccoli rabe are $1 extra.) Owner Judy Marabella’s family owns the Jersey Shore’s Marabella’s Family Restaurant, in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, where they serve meatballs on several of their pastas. <strong>Plus: <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/best-bacon-burgers-in-the-us" target="_blank">America’s Best Bacon Burgers </a> </strong>

  • Moochie’s Meatballs & More!; Salt Lake City

    “We put meatballs on everything!!” says owner Joanna Rendi. Indeed. You can get their meatballs atop spaghetti, macaroni salad, Mediterranean salad (“It may sound weird, but it’s a really great salad!”), potato salad (“It’s what we eat in the back!”) or chicken Parmesan salad. Or you can transform their handmade meatball sandwich into an “atomic meatball” with the addition of feta cheese and jalapeño sauce. Unlike most meatball places, this one shares space with a ceramics store, Circle Pottery Gift Shop (Rendi’s husband is a potter). <strong>Plus: <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/best-burgers-in-the-us" target="_blank">Best Burgers in the U.S.</a></strong>

  • Haulin Balls; Las Vegas

    Any meatball lover who has ever looked longingly through the pages of a muscle car magazine, get ready to have your mind blown. Haulin Balls is a Vegas food truck with a trompe l’oeil image of a full-size black muscle car detailed on the side. Wait, there’s more: The car is adorned with flames. Haulin Balls offers six “ballwiches”: pulled pork; ground beef; Thai-style turkey with lemongrass, ginger, cilantro; lamb and tzatziki. <strong>Plus: <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/americas-best-bars" target="_blank">America’s Best Bars</a> </strong>

  • Parm; New York City

    Evoking old-school Little Italy joints, Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi’s Parm serves the best meatball parm: juicy, meaty, saucy and cheesy. —F&W Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin <strong><a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/best-meatballs-in-the-us/8" target="_blank">Click Here for More of the Best Meatballs in the U.S.</a></strong>