The Shu Mai at the Sushi Village in Ottawa were sloppily prepared, even ugly to the point of being unappealing, but they were still pretty decent when it came to taste and texture, especially for a Japanese restaurant.
Shu Mai are, of course, a Chinese specialty, and almost always available on Dim Sum menus. They are, however, beginning to become more common in non-Chinese establishments, with Japanese restaurants seeming to lead the charge these days.
The Sushi Village restaurant in Ottawa actually offers a fair number of dishes that are of Chinese origin, but some, like their notably poor General Tso’s Chicken, have been singularly unimpressive. I will say, though, that their Shu Mai, turned out to be among the best I have had in a Japanese restaurant thus far.
As already noted, the appearance of the Shu Mai at Sushi Village was nothing to write home about. They were sloppily filled and unpleasingly formed into a lop-sided irregularity that didn’t speak well of the kitchen at all. There was a dot of something reddish-orange added as a garnish that really could have been almost anything. Carb roe is often used as a Shu Mai garnish, with diced carrot being used a cheaper substitute, but this was neither and had absolutely no taste at all.
That being said, the wrapper, while just a little dry in a couple of places, was thin the way I like it, and very nicely steamed. The filling, which was just a simple combination of ground pork and ginger was very simply prepared and quite delicious. The texture, which featured a mix of very finely ground, and coarsely chopped fatty meat, was excellent and produced a tender, juicy result.
I don’t think there was much seasoning added to the meat blend, other than a little white pepper and salt, but the taste, though simple, was exquisite. The fresh ginger that was added was extremely finely mined and it the amount was just enough to enhance the rest of the filling without being intrusive. Ultimately, though not quite on the level of those at a proper Dim Sum restaurant, these Shu Mai were pretty darned decent.