Har Gow at the Chinatown Restaurant in in Halifax
I have previously mentioned the essential qualities of a proper Har Gow in my review of the excellent Har Gow (蝦餃) at Chu Shing in Ottawa, and contrasted these, at the other end of the scale with the Har Gow (蝦餃) at Le Piment Rouge in Montreal. The Har Gow you see pictured above were served at the Chinatown Restaurant in in Halifax and fell somewhere in between the aforementioned versions in terms of quality.
The Har Gow at Chinatown actually appeared on the menu as ‘Steamed House Special Shrimp Dumpling’. I have noticed that quite a lot of menus here in Halifax don’t use the name ‘Har Gow’ for this Cantonese specialty (although the Chinese name at this place did include the 蝦餃 characters). Possibly, the Cantonese name just hasn’t become that familiar to non-Chinese in these parts.
In any event, the Shrimp Dumplings at Chinatown were definitely ‘Har Gow’ and I almost always order these at a Dim Sum meal, not only because they are a favorite, but because this particular specialty is very often a good benchmark by which to judge the skills of the kitchen.
These ones were pretty decent… they were certainly nicely formed and the shrimp had the slightly crispy texture that comes from long rinsing under running water (a technique that is not always used). The shrimp were about medium sized and very coarsely chopped (there were about three large chunks in each dumpling), and were not seasoned with anything other than perhaps a little white pepper.
The wrappers were, on the whole, not badly formed, but not especially translucent, and were thick enough that a couple of them had a small doughy bits in the center, which indicates a bit of a poor flour mix, or poor steaming. The flaw wasn’t enough to completely ruin them, by any means, but it made it hard to rate them as much higher than middling quality at best.