I remember back in the day when I used to go clubbing, my friends loved to go out after a night of dancing and drinking to eat. Many turned to pizza, others favoured burritos, but my friends loved to eat dim sum (and they weren’t even Asian). Even though dim sum is normally eaten during lunch time, we were able to find a place that opened until the wee hours of the night serving these bite-sized, tapas-like nibbles. Although there are plenty of dishes on a typical dim sum menu, one popular dish is called “ha gow” (as pronounced in Cantonese) though it is probably more commonly seen as “har gow” (Mandarin).
Har gow is steamed shrimp dumplings. The filling is normally made with shrimp and bamboo shoots that have been marinated in a simple seasoning of shaoxing wine (rice wine), sesame oil, salt and sugar. The shrimp mixture is wrapped inside a thin,white wrapper, so when it steams it becomes translucent and you can see the beautiful orangey colours of the shrimp peeking through. Often, these wrappers are made with wheat starch mixed with other starches like potato or tapioca starch and you will often find a pleating pattern on the sticky and delicate wrapper. Although the dish mainly focuses on shrimp, some people like to dip it in soy sauce or hot sauce to enhance the flavour of the sweet shrimp. So if you’re a shrimp lover, try some har gow on your next dim sum outing. 🙂