Abalone and Pork Buns at the Urban China Restaurant in Edmonton
I was served these rather large stuffed buns that Urban China Restaurant in Edmonton. I tried quite a few selections from the Dim Sum menu at that establishment and a fair number of them were really not all that good. This particular selection wasn’t bad at all. The filling was bit ungenerous, but they were very tasty.
This particular Dim Sum delicacy was identified on the menu as ‘Grilled Abalone and Meat Bun’ in English, but was identified in Chinese characters as:
The first two characters specify Abalone, but can be read as ‘abalone fish’, indicating how the Chinese categorize this animal. The next two characters, pronounced ‘Shēngjiān’, are the name of a specific type of meat stuffed Bun coming from Shanghai, while the last character is a bit of an anomaly. It translates as ‘to eat until full’, but this doesn’t seem right in context. Since it is pronounced, with a fractional difference in tone, like the character 包, which means bun, I rather think the menu writer made a ‘spelling’ mistake in this case.
It is a little hard to tell from the picture, but the three buns I was served were quite large, almost as wide as the palm of my hand, and I was rather afraid I would be a little overfull on eating them all, as I wanted to try some other items as well. As it happened, I managed them all and was able to continue.
The dough was a leavened bread, and was obviously pan-fried on both sides. Given the size, though, they must almost certainly have been steamed first, and that made the English identification of them as ‘Grilled’ rather curious. It is possible the name meant that the Abalone was grilled but that seems unlikely so I rather think this was a bit of a naming error once again.
In any event, the filling contained both Abalone and ground Pork and was very tasty. The Abalone was diced very small, and there wasn’t a great deal of it (abalone is very expensive, after all) but it did add a nice, sweetish marine flavor to the umami of the meat. There was, unfortunately, some cilantro added, which I dislike, but it was in small enough amount that it didn’t diminish my pleasure. I could have used a bit more filling to balance out the quantity of dough (as well cooked and nicely textured as it was), but, overall, the Abalone and Pork Buns at Urban China were pretty decent.