Dim Sum Series: Lo Mai Guy – Sticky Rice (with) “Chicken”

Jong is a sticky rice dumpling that I talked about a few weeks ago. I ended it by saying that there is something that looks similar and that this is called “lo mai guy”. Lo mai guy is a Cantonese-Chinese dish that can be found on many dim sum menus, which is basically a menu with a bunch of little dishes similar to the concept of Spanish tapas. However, unlike jong, lo mai guy is wrapped in a lotus leaf instead of a bamboo leaf. If you smell the leaf, it’s very reminiscent of something herbal or something with a very earthy smell and those are the flavours that go into the rice while it steams.

Although it has glutinous rice like jong, my palate is always more psyched about eating lo mai guy. There’s something more lively in the flavours in a lo mai guy dish and it just seems more neo-age than it’s retro-like counterpart. Despite having similar ingredients, they taste quite different from each other. I find that lo mai guy is greasier and the rice has more pungent flavours, whereas the rice in jong is very subtle but the ingredients on the inside are more pungent. Lo mai guy also seems to be more moist whereas jong tends to be on the drier side. Even though these days lo mai guy mainly contains ground pork and mushrooms on the inside, historically it was prepared with more ingredients like Chinese sausage, salty eggs and little dried shrimp. It also had chicken! This is why lo mai guy roughly translates as “sticky rice (with) chicken” (at least originally). I’m going to blame the changes due to times of austerity, where many restaurants have cut back and use as minimal as possible to save money.

Another interesting difference between the two is that jong is wrapped in a pyramid shape, whereas lo mai guy is normally a rectangular parcel.

Just a word of caution: be careful you don’t eat the leaf. Not that it would be harmful, but it’s not meant to be eaten. I’m pretty sure it would be tough and chewier than gnawing on a piece of dry leather and nobody wants that. 🙂

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