Chiu Chow Fun Gor at the Yang Sheng Restaurant in Ottawa’s Chinatown
The Yang Sheng Restaurant on Somerset Street in Ottawa’s Chinatown was already a pretty old restaurant in that neighborhood, even when I made my very first visit there some 20 years ago. It is a little dingy and not well-kept inside but they have always managed to serve me decent dishes, including various Dim Sum specialties. I forget exactly how the dumplings you see pictured above were named on their menu, but they were clearly the Dim Sum favorite 潮洲粉粿, or Chiu Chow Fun Gor. They weren’t the absolute best I have ever had, but they were still a fairly decent rendering of the classic dish.
The filling in these Chiu Chow Fun Gor, was pretty standard. In addition to the peanuts, there was ground pork, black mushroom, carrot, and, just possibly, some diced daikon, all of which was in a sauce reminiscent of hoisin. It had a very nice contrast of texture, good umami richness, and just a touch of sweetness to round things out.
The execution of the dumplings as a whole, however, was less impressive. The wrappers were decently folded but, as you can see in the picture, they were very thick and did not have the slight translucency expected with this type of dumpling. Like Har Gow, this specialty is made with a wrapper made from a combination of starches, rather than glutinous flours, these being Wheat starch, Tapioca, and either Cornstarch or Potato Starch.
Overall, the Yang Sheng Chiu Chow Fun Gor were very heavy and unwieldy when it came to picking them up with chopsticks, and they fell apart under their own weight when lifted, indicating that they had probably been over-steamed. The taste of the skin was okay, but the entire production was marred by the less than stellar job of wrapping. Yang Sheng has done much better with other things.