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Thursday, March 8, 2007

Dim Sum - Siu Mai and Har Gow

Ok...It's been a bit too long since we last posted, but we're back, and with plenty of food. Going back to our Dim Sum series, we're gonna talk about what are probably the two most popular dishes that most people order.


That yummy little treat up there is called Shu Mai (or shao mai in Mandarin). Probably the most often ordered dish at any dim sum, these are basically small pork dumplings wrapped in thin flour wrappers similar to wonton wrappers. The top is left open, and is usually topped off with crab roe, which is that little orange dot you see on top. Often thrown into the mix with the pork are mushrooms, and sometimes shrimp.

Shu Mai is basically a great savory treat that comes out piping hot, letting that aroma add to the sensory experience of eating. The wrapper is barely noticed and mixes right into the taste of the pork filling, which is deliciously savory and has a great bouncy texture to it. The mushrooms make for a great combination too. I often find myself ordering 2 orders of shu mai just because I love them so much.


The only other thing I love as much as shu mai is this. Har Gow, which are these translucent shrimp dumplings. It's basically made up of large chopped pieces of shrimp, and often times, have a little bamboo in it. It's wrapped in a starchy skin that becomes transparent when steamed. The skin is just a teeny tiny bit chewy, giving it a great texture, and when you bite into it, you'll find that the shrimp filling is very fresh and solitary in its taste. There's really nothing else like seasonings or additives that are used to enhance its taste, and you realize that immediately. It's nothing but fresh steamed shrimp, and it's got almost a pure taste to it. It tastes amazing and very relaxing because of that.

With har gow and shu mai, alot of people find that the spicy chinese mustard that comes on the tables make a nice addition. Remember to only put on a little bit of it, as the mustard has a rather strong kick to it. The mustard often works to complement shrimp based dishes quite well.

You'll often find shu mai and har gow in the same carts, and their names will usually be called out one right after the other by the cart servers. These two dishes always go together, and no dim sum experience is complete without them.