The Shu Mai (燒賣) at the Yangtze in Ottawa’s Chinatown weren’t very pretty, but they proved to be really good and got a 5 out of 5 Rating.
The Yangtze Restaurant in Ottawa’s Chinatown is one of that diminishing number of Dim Sum establishments still using cart service. I am not a fan of this method, in all honesty, but I don’t mind having to seal with at Yangtze as their Dim Sum is usually of very good quality. Their Shu Mai (燒賣), seen pictured above, didn’t look all that attractive, but their texture and flavor certainly won me over.
I have mentioned before that forming the little stuffed pleated ‘bags’ for Shu Mai isn’t all that easy, and the results are often diminished appearance-wise by the steaming process. Here, the Shu Mai at Yangtze pretty much consisted of beige meat with a wrapper that was very nearly the same color, and so indistinct as to look more like an intermittent ragged frill around the edges. They were drably monochromatic, save for the curious red dot at the center, and just didn’t look all that appetising.
Happily, the appearance was misleading. The stuffing was Pork and almost nothing else, not even any discernible seasoning. That may sound bland and uninteresting but, in fact, it was delicious. The meat was well processed, with an excellent ratio of fat to meat, and the result was delightfully textured, really juicy, and with lots of flavor.
On a final note, I have previously mentioned elsewhere that I dislike overly large Shu Mai, especially when they become heavy, and unwieldy when trying to eat them in several successive bites using chopsticks. The Shu Mai at Yangtze, I was pleased to note, were of the diminutive, one-bite variety and this feature, along with the great taste and texture, more than made up for the initial unimpressive appearance.
By the way, I am still unsure as to the nature of the red dot on top of the meat. It wasn’t ketchup, or hot sauce, as far as I could tell, and it really had no taste at all. It was obviously added for garnish rather than flavor, but the mystery as to what it was will, I suppose, forever remain unsolved.