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Frozen dim sum

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I was shopping at the Asian grocery market earlier today. I saw a few packages of frozen dim sum: har gow, siu mei, wonton, and sui gow (dumplings).

I now live fairly close to a few Chinese restaurants which offer dim sums, so I have no desire to buy any of them. I remember I used to live 40 miles from a dim sum restaurant. That was the time that I stocked up on a few of these every time I shopped. When I was desparate for the taste of dim sums, I will take one pack out and put it in the steamer.

What do you all think of frozen dim sum? Do you buy them? Sure it's convenient, huh?

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Depends on the producer. Here in Atlantic Canada, we have a small Asian/Chinese grocery and they get theirs from a source in Montreal, 550 miles away. They are good. But to get a fix, any port in a storm.

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The first time I did a Lunar New Year dim sum buffet ( yup...buffet!) at my old restaurant, we ordered from a little shop in Winnipeg (2.5-hour drive) that made and froze dim sum for sale to grocery stores. I didn't have the know-how at that time to make thousands of these little treats for the hords in Brandon.

The product was good. .. very uniform in size and appearance. The fillings were flavourful and they steamed up nicely. The only complaint I had was the filling for char sui baos...too much dough and not enough filling.

I went that route for 2 years, then Mrs. Wong's little shop burned down acouple weeks before Xmas, and that was when I called in my Mom and her little old lady friends. They patiently sat in a back room, spent a week showing me how to make those pesky pleats in har gow and sui mai, and made more than enough for our next event. The left over dim sum was what got me to serve luncheon platters. I froze them individually, then steamed up upon request.

Today, I still make ahead when I know I need a large supply...like for my foodblog. The key is to keep them well sealed, but not for too long. I didn't do that for Ben on his visit because he gets fresh all the time?

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Frozen no problem with me either. I make them and freeze them, and I buy them frozen from the Asian markets, and they seem fine. Even the soup dumplings (xiao long bao) from a restaurant in NYC, (which got the ball rolling on their popularity in the area again) sells them on the side, and I've frozen those -- successfully.

I'll take them any way I can get them!

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I'm not a big fan of frozen dim sum. There are several restaurants serving dim sum in my building (I live on top of a giant shopping mall in Hong Kong), including a private club whose Chef does the best har gao in the world, so I'm totally spoiled.

That said, we usually have a couple of packages in the freezer so that the delectable Ms. A, who is a non-cook, has something quick and easy to heat up when I'm not in town. The supermarkets here have a huge range of frozen dim sum and dumplings, mostly made in China from big brands like Amoy (now part of the Danone megacorp).

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I got hooked on certain frozen dim sum: the steamed buns with lotus-nut paste filling, and scallion pancakes.

Iv'e never actually had either of these at a dim sum restaurant though, so there is no measure of "dissapointment". Plus, they're so easy to heat up quickly when Im too lazy to cook.

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They're not the same as fresh ones but they're decent. Sometimes, you gotta make room for the industrial-type foods. But I'll fight tooth and nail for the last steaming hot & fresh hai gaow!

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It's an abomination.

It's like, tater tots.

Dim sum are supposed to touch the heart. Where's your heart if you're not gonna drive/travel/hike somewhere good for quality dim sum?

Frozen? I do not even think about it.

It fucking frightens the shit out of me.

I won't buy frozen foie gras, I won't buy bottled pasta sauces, or ready cooked tv dinners.

But I guess you're not after dim sum in its pure simplicity.

Contentious, but sometimes, the emotions are strong.

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I find them soooo disappointing!

(But I'll use the frozen ones when I get a strong craving. I know it's not going to be the same, but it helps the craving).

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It's an abomination.

It's like, tater tots.

Dim sum are supposed to touch the heart. Where's your heart if you're not gonna drive/travel/hike somewhere good for quality dim sum?

Frozen? I do not even think about it.

It fucking frightens the shit out of me.

I won't buy frozen foie gras, I won't buy bottled pasta sauces, or ready cooked tv dinners.

But I guess you're not after dim sum in its pure simplicity.

Contentious, but sometimes, the emotions are strong.

LOL! Tell us how you really feel!

There was a time that I wanted, and made, everything from scratch, but so many good things have come on the market that I have choices that are as good as my old recipes.

I have frozen dim sum in the freezer, ready for instant gratification when I want it. And I will (and do) travel for dim sum. But how do I know that some places do not use frozen dim sum? Do we know what goes on in a busy kitchen?

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How about some name brands? I'd be willing to do some taste testing! :rolleyes:

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Dim sum are supposed to touch the heart. Where's your heart if you're not gonna drive/travel/hike somewhere good for quality dim sum?

Frozen? I do not even think about it.

It's admirable in principle. I've done that. I used to live in San Diego when there was absolutely no decent dim sums around. There, we drove 120 miles, one way, to the Los Angeles China Town to satisfy our crave for the "real" thing. May be my taste buds had warned out. It would be hard press to do that again.

In practicality, the frozen ones, ready in a matter of minutes, may be a good trade off for a 4-5 hour round trip endeavor...

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all I can say is I don't like the Trader Joe's frozen hargau and shiu mai. Bought it once as a curiosity.

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I have frozen dim sum in the freezer, ready for instant gratification when I want it.  And I will (and do) travel for dim sum. But how do I know that some places do not use frozen dim sum?  Do we know what goes on in a busy kitchen?

On develops relationships and one seeks out proper dim sum parlours. It's like any other restaurant odyssey. It's quite simple just to ask politely and most times you'll get told. Taking a peek into the kitchen is always a good one. Look for tall boy steamers and racks of bamboo and messy prep areas, and pastry skins and dough everywhere. Stake out the kitchen entrance in the morning. Dim sum chefs usually arrive around 5.30am, as we all know service for dim sum should end shortly after lunch.

Period.

:raz:

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Like I said, any port in a storm. You may want to and have the time to drive from Adelaide to Sydney to get a fix of fresh dimsum, some of us just "have" to make do with what's at hand. Tout a son gout, oui?

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I shouldn't confess this -- but I will.

One time I took a half package of frozen jiaozi from the freezer. I was going to put some water on and put the dumplings in the boiling water while frozen. They thaw singly in the boiling water.

BUT -- I was distracted and forgot all about the dumplings until they were half thawed and all stuck together. What to do. I wasn't going to toss them, that was sure. Sooooooo, I made one huge potsticker! I put oil in a frying pan, put in the thawed mess of stuck-together dumplings, flattened them out in the pan like a thick pancake, and browned the bottom. I then proceeded as with potstickers ---- added ome water, let them steam, and then let the water cook off and let the bottom crisp. Inverted on a plate, I used a pizza cutter to cut wedges and pigged out!

Not bad!

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Like I said, any port in a storm. You may want to and have the time to drive from Adelaide to Sydney to get a fix of fresh dimsum, some of us just "have" to make do with what's at hand. Tout a son gout, oui?

It's like, a 3 day drive from Adelaide to Sydney. Anyway, the dim sum is better in Adelaide anyway! :cool:

The point I was trying to convey is very simple:

It's about dedication and the innate need to have something good. If its innate, not all people have it, but that's no great sweat is it? Sure, if there are good frozen products, then good, I buy frozen peas and carrots.

Anyhow, in the interest of empirical science, I purchased a batch of frozen dumplings. These were not strictly dim sum dumplings, but rather pork and vegetable dumplings of the Shanghainese variety. They were sourced from a renowned dumpling parlor in Melbourne's Chinatown, called funnily enough, The Shanghai Noodle House. The instructions were simple, do not defrost, just steam or fry. When frying, one has to sizzle the base and then lid on for steaming effect.

Worked well. Tasted just like the ones in the parlor, and with comparable MSG to boot. In this one instance, I was wrong in that the result was commensurate with the original results, but we're not talking industrial frozen food.

In order to simplify further, perhaps I'm just a dim sum snob.


Edited by PCL (log)

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sort of caught in two minds

low quality - but curiously addictive

maybe best to think of themselves as a category of their own rather than lump them with dim sum - this might mitigate some of pcls righteous indignation. e.g. the difference between dried pasta than fresh pasta

you can get some almost acceptable brands in london (eg Royal China's "Royal Gourmet" brand).

Probably the best description would be cribbed off of the hitchhikers guide: "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike dim sum"

J

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In order to simplify further, perhaps I'm just a dim sum snob.

It is OK to be a 'dim sum snob'!! I am that way with Chinese food. I smugly look at my dishes, in a Chinese restaurant, and compare them with the fried rice and beef and broccoli (eaten with a fork) at the next table.

Not that there is anything wrong with FR and BB, but you know what I mean. (I hope)

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Not that there is anything wrong with FR and BB,  but you know what I mean. (I hope)

What's wrong with them? They are my favorite dishes! LOL!

I remember when I used to work as a waiter in Chinese restaurants, the most popular dishes were "sweet and sour pork, and almond (or cashew) chicken".

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Beef and gai lon or broccoli is one of my favourite standbys at home. :hmmm: But I won't order it in a restaurant, if you know what I mean.

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Beef and gai lon or broccoli is one of my favourite standbys at home. :hmmm: But I won't order it in a restaurant, if you know what I mean.

I always order gai lan at Chinese restaurants where Chinese frequent. They are always done al dente, without any meat, just a splash of oyster sauce. This is my favourite veg!

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There's broccoli and there is gai lan. One is a wonderful vegetable either by itself or in a dish, and the other makes a dish look pretty! (IMMHsnobbishO! If you know what I mean. LOL!)

One time, while on a tour in China, we were served Sweet/Sour Pork, and you should have heard the cheers! They even insisted on seconds! (groan) If it had been a Hebei or Henan type of SS, then OK, but it was cloyingly sweet.

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Topic people!!.. Topic!!!

Kai-lan qualifies as dim sum. Try freezing that!!

I'm not entirely convinced by Jon's argument to classify them separately. Pasta is pasta as dim sum is dim sum. It's just a matter of how good they are and what one's tolerances might be.

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Frozen baos are pretty decent (especially if you buy fresh ones in bulk and freese them yourself :biggrin:) but what I really don't like are the fried dim sim you get in the fish and shops in Australia - they're sort of like deep fried floury siu mai :shock:!

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