Taiwanese Dumplings at Sai Woo in Vancouver
I mentioned in a previous post that Sai Woo in Vancouver was once the Sai Woo Chop Suey House back in the day, and is now a rather trendy spot with an Asian-fusion menu. Unfortunately, as I also mentioned in my review of their Korean-style Chicken, the place is really a bar first and foremost, with the food being pretty and well-plated, but not very impressive otherwise. The Taiwanese Dumplings shown above, for example, were nothing like the menu description, and not all that good.
This particular appetizer was named ‘Taiwan-style Guo Tie’ on the menu, and described as being stuffed with ‘Pork-belly, Garlic Chives, Mushrooms and Ginger’. Unfortunately, it was apparent immediately that these particular dumplings were manifestly *not* ‘Guo Tie’, and this very much suggested that the chef was trying to capitalize on an exotic name without knowing what it meant.
‘Guo Tie’ is the Mandarin pronunciation of 鍋貼, which refers to the type of dumpling popularly known in English as ‘Pot-stickers’. These were not that.
First, ‘Pot-stickers’ are almost invariably folded in the standard ‘jiaozi’ style, as illustrated by the very pleasant Pot-Stickers at May-Garden. This is not an absolute requirement, however, but to constitute a ‘Pot-sticker’ the dumplings must be pan-fried in oil, with a little water added partway through the process to steam their upper halves. My own Xian Market Dumplings are folded the same way as the Taiwanese Dumplings at Sai Woo but my dumplings get pan-fried, while Sai Woo’s are clearly just steamed. Sadly, they weren’t very expertly steamed either.
The filling was decent enough but, in all honesty, it really just tasted of the Pork Belly and Mushrooms, with the promised Garlic Chives and Ginger not being apparent at all. I don’t mean to suggest that these last two were mild in taste, but rather that they weren’t included, period. The taste and texture wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very good either. There was a dipping sauce included which appeared to be contain fermented chili paste, garlic and mirin. It was a bit fruity, and was actually reminiscent of a commercial plum sauce, in my opinion. Whatever it was, though, it didn’t add much and, after being fobbed off with something that was not as described on the menu, and mediocre to boot, I could only give this effort a 2 out of 5 Rating.