Thursday, December 11, 2008

Don't Judge Dim Sum by Its Cover...

...judge it by its shrimp dumpling. In one of my previous posts, I had described that the popular items most commonly known in dim sum are "ha gau" (蝦餃) and "siu mai" (燒賣) - these are steamed shrimp dumpling and steamed pork dumpling. Since I'm not a big pork fan, I used a restaurant's "ha gau" (shrimp dumpling) as a benchmark of its dim sum on my trip in Hong Kong. It turned out to be a good indicator!

I have to say that I was very disappointed to have dim sum back in the States the day after I returned. I find that I have lost my appetite since I came back. Even what my foodie cousin considered to be mediocre dim sum in Hong Kong is better than the ones here. The difference between dim sum in HK and the States is really far and wide in most cases.

Above, a perfect looking Shrimp Dumpling

Anyways, there were three criterias I used to judge a shrimp dumpling: appearance, texture and taste.

  • Appearance - First off, don't let the size of the dumpling fool you; larger size does not equal to quality! The dumpling wrapper should be somewhat translucent; you should be able to see the pinkness of the shrimp peek through the wrapper. The more clear, the less chewy and thinner the wrapper will be.

  • Texture - The less chewy, the better (see appearance above). Also, if the dumplings are not served hot, the wrapper will be chewy (but beware of the shrimp inside, which could be super hot). If a shrimp dumpling is made well, you should be able to bite through it without much resistance. The wrapper should be soft, not soggy and not doughy. The shrimp inside should not be minced; you should be able to bite into sizable chunks of shrimp goodness.

  • Taste - Shrimp dumplings are usually made with bamboo shoots and sometimes, pork fat. You should be able to taste the shrimp (preferably sweet and fresh taste), with the flavor not supressed or overwhelmed by the dumpling wrapper or other ingredients in the filling.

So, using my shrimp dumpling indicator, I found that Jade Garden in Causeway Bay (1 Hysan Avenue, 3rd Floor 香港銅鑼灣廣場二期3樓) is one of the best dim sum places of the ones I've been to in HK. The worst shrimp dumpling I had in HK was in Sau Kei Wan...I doubt you'll find yourself there, so I won't even bother.

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