Simple Pork Dumplings
Simple Pork Dumplings

These Simple Pork Dumplings are perfect for those beginners to dumpling cookery who would like to try their hand at making Pot-Sticker Dumplings entirely from scratch, but who are not quite ready enough to tackle any difficult folding techniques with the wrappers. If you follow along here, you can learn a Chinese trick or two for preparing a delicious dumpling filling, as well as the easiest way to make and roll a home-made dumpling dough.

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Chiu Chow Fun Gor at Fan's

Chiu Chow Fun Gor at Fan’s Restaurant in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

This Dim Sum specialty was described on the menu as ‘Dumpling Diced Meat w/ Peanut’, but the Chinese character listing identified it as the classic 潮洲粉粿 (Cháozhōu fěn guǒ). The filling was very nice, although containing fewer ingredients than other versions, but the wrappers were not that good at all.

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Bean-Curd Roll at Yimin Dim Sum House

Bean-Curd Roll at Yimin Dim Sum House in Ottawa

I ordered five different Dim Sum items at the Yimin Dim Sum House in Ottawa’s Chinatown when I visited to try the place out. The Steamed Bean-Curd Roll with Pork was not only the best of all those I sampled, but is, as of this writing, among the very best of all the versions of this classic I have been served.

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Water Chestnut Cake at Fan's
Water Chestnut Cake at Fan’s

Water Chestnut Cake at Fan’s Restaurant in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

This Dim Sum specialty appeared as ‘Pan-fried Water Chestnut Cake’ on the menu at Fan’s Restaurant in Dartmouth. In Chinese, it was rendered as ‘馬蹄糕’ . which simply means ‘Water Chestnut Cake’ without specifying the cooking method. Not having had this before, I was rather expecting a savory dish rather like the more common ‘Turnip Cake’, or ‘蘿蔔糕’, in which a steamed cake of shredded Chinese Radish and other savory ingredients is sliced and then pan-fried before service. The traditional Water Chestnut Cake, it turns out, is nothing like that at all.

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Ginger Beef Bean-Curd Roll
Ginger Beef Bean-Curd Roll

Bean-Curd Roll with Beef at the Palais Imperial in Ottawa

The name for this Dim Sum offering at the Palais Imperial in Ottawa appeared on the menu as ‘Ginger Beef Dumpling’ in English. The Chinese characters amplify this to read ‘Ginger Scallion Beef Dumpling’, indicating that scallion is included as well (although, in this case, it was as a steaming ‘companion’ ingredient, rather than as an addition to the filling. What is a bit curious, though, is that the item is identified as a dumpling (餃), and not as a ‘roll’ (卷), which would be more common when dealing with a bean-curd skin (tofu-skin) wrapper as is the case with this particular offering.

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Squid Tentacles Deep-Fried at Fan's
Squid Tentacles Deep-Fried at Fan’s

Squid Tentacles Deep-Fried at Fan’s in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

My first experience with a Squid dish at Fan’s Restaurant in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, was a delivery order of Ginger-Fried Shredded Squid. I remember remarking, at the time, that it was one of the nicest squid dishes I have ever had. Their Dim Sum Menu, served on the weekends, also features a dish of Deep-Fried Squid Tentacles (pictured above), and this turned out to be among the best of all Deep-Fried Squid dishes I have been served in any type of restaurant, Chinese or otherwise.

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Beef Xian Bing - 牛肉餡餅
Beef Xian Bing – 牛肉餡餅

Beef Xian Bing – 牛肉餡餅

These little delicacies are a northern Chinese specialty. The word ‘Bing’ refers to a wide range of flat, usually unleavened, wheat ‘cakes’ and the word ‘Xian’ specifically indicates that this cake is ‘stuffed’ or ‘filled’. Mostly, the filling is some sort of meat or other, so you can basically think of these treats as ‘Chinese Meat Pies’. Here, I am using Beef, along with a little Leek, to fill my ‘pies’, hence the – 牛肉 (niu rou) prefix to the Chinese characters for Xian Bing (餡餅).


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Black Bean Steamed Clams
Black Bean Steamed Clams

Black Bean Steamed Clams

Clams and Chinese Salted Black Beans are quite often paired together, but most commonly this happens in stir-fried dishes. Here, they are steamed together with chili, garlic and scallion to make a terrific appetizer or Dim Sum style dish.


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Snow Peas with Chinese Sausage
Snow Peas with Chinese Sausage

Snow Peas with Chinese Sausage

The sweet, apple-like quality of preserved Chinese Sausage is often paired with more robust green vegetables such as Gai-Lan, or green-beans, but it also works very nicely with the more delicate crispness of fresh snow-pea pods.

The recipe given below has been designed as a small appetizer dish, or a Dim Sum type offering, but it could easily be made in a larger quantity and served as a main dish in a Chinese meal, or even as a side-dish on a western table.


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My Taiwanese Pickles
My Taiwanese Pickles

These Taiwanese Pickles were inspired by a dish of ‘Taiwan Pickled Vegetable’ served to me at a Dim Sum Restaurant. That version was also composed of slivers of Red Bell Pepper, Cucumber and Ginger, and the dish was obviously a salt-macerated ‘quick’ pickle. The pickling medium (more of a dressing really), was quite sweet, just a little sour, and had just a faint touch of chili heat…

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