Shu Mai at the Yimin Dimsum House in Ottawa
The Yimin Dimsum House in Ottawa really didn’t leave me with a terribly good general impression overall. I had a few dishes there that were not too bad, but most, though not horrible, were also rather poor. Their Beef Shu Mai, pictured above, fell somewhere in the middle of the range. They were pleasant enough, but the quality didn’t really rise above mediocre.
Forming really pretty ‘bag-shaped’ pockets with pleats with a circle of dough isn’t all that easy and I actually find that the Shu Mai wrappers in restaurants rarely look all that great. The Yimin Shu Mai were probably a bit below average in that regard, having a somewhat ragged look, but, in all honesty, I don’t do a whole lot better myself.
The wrapper itself was quite thin, had a slightly greenish tint, rather than the more common yellow, and to Yimin’s credit appeared to use homemade dough. Commercial wrappers don’t generally produce a nice texture when steamed, and these were just fine. They were a little chewy, but not overly so, and were steamed sufficiently so that there was no doughy taste at all.
The filling, as noted, was Beef. I generally prefer Pork, or Crabmeat, or either of these mixed with Shrimp, but Beef can be a pleasant change sometimes. Here, though there really wasn’t a ‘beefy’ flavor, and the blandness meant I could almost have been eating anything. It wasn’t processed by repeated stirring to give a smoothly homogenous texture, as is usual in Dim Sum preparations, and the color of the beef remained a very pinkish hue which made it looked slightly undercooked, even though this actually wasn’t the case.
The other addition to the filling was not the scallion I was expecting from the appearance, but rather a fair amount of Cilantro. I can hardly fault the restaurant for using this as lot of people like it, but I am not fond of it and there was too much for my taste. Even aside from that issue, while the filling was generally okay, the overall effect was mediocre at best.