Chinese Green Dumplings at the Palais Imperial in Ottawa
I was served the dish you see pictured above at the Palais Imperial Restaurant in Ottawa’s Byward Market. It is a bit of an old-fashioned place, and the service has occasionally been a bit surly, but the dishes they serve are generally pretty decent. The little Dim Sum specialty you see pictured above was definitely non-standard, and not at all as I was expecting from the menu description, but it turned out to be very good indeed.
In the inset to the above picture, you can see the item as it appeared on the menu. It is not a great picture, but it roughly indicated a slightly a slightly translucent dumpling with a very green filling. The first two Chinese characters beneath the image are 韭菜, which can mean ‘leek, or ‘chive,’ and my server asked me, when I placed the order, whether I wanted chive or ‘sweet pea pod’. I went with chive and was expecting, from that, and the picture, that I would be getting some sort of vegetable dumpling.
What I received, as you can see in the main picture, is something that looks very much like well-formed Har Gow. It is not easy to tell, but these dumplings were actually pretty large and a little difficult to eat with chopsticks. They held together well, though, and the wrapper was well-steamed and tender.
What surprised me, in the event, was that the filling was not what I expected. There were chives present certainly, and in large enough amount to be very noticeable taste-wise, but the rest of the filling, indeed the bulk of it, was minced shrimp. It caught me off-guard, given the menu description, and I might have been disappointed by it save for the fact that it was very, very good indeed!
In all, the Chinese Green Dumplings at the Palais Imperial were an interesting and delicious novelty, and I am surprised that varying the classic Har Gow hasn’t been experimented with more extensively elsewhere.