Chive Dumplings at the Yang Sheng Restaurant in Ottawa
Steamed Chive Dumplings are a relatively common Dim Sum item, but you are more likely to find them in the larger restaurants specializing in Dim Sum service, and generally less so elsewhere. The Yang Sheng Restaurant in Ottawa’s Chinatown actually has a fairly limited range of Dim Sum items, but they did offer a version of this particular specialty as well as more popular, mainstream dumplings. Sadly, they weren’t very good.
The Chinese characters for this dish on the menu at Yang Sheng were 韭菜餃 (jiǔcài jiǎo), which essentially means ‘Chive Dumplings’, although the first two characters can also refer to ‘Garlic Chives’ or ‘Leek’. In English, however, they were called ‘Shrimp and Chive Dumplings’, which sounds a little more interesting, but, unfortunately, I was left a little suspicious as to how accurate that description actually was.
The dumplings, on arrival, did look good. They were made with the typical rice flour and starch dough wrappers that have that very translucent and slightly granular look common to this type of steamed dumpling, and they were fairly nicely formed. As it happened, though, the attractive appearance belied the actual quality.
The wrapper ended up being both excessively chewy, and also slightly tough at the same time, which managed to combine the results of being both undercooked and over-steamed. I am not sure which was true, or how that result could have come about, but the overall effect was very poor.
As for the filling, I have to question whether either Shrimp or Chives were used. There didn’t seem to be any chunks of shrimp in the dumplings, and the combination rather more suggested fish and spinach rather than the advertised ingredients. Perhaps this might have been okay if the dumplings had been named as such, as the taste wasn’t actually bad, but it wasn’t what I expected, and, along with the poor wrappers, made Chive Dumplings at the Yang Sheng a definite disappointment.