A Web of Dumplings

I made it to Zhongshan without any problems on the road, despite the furious winter weather that still rages north of Guangdong province. I had barely settled in when my parents announced we were all going to dim sum.

My parents would never let a visit pass without going to dim sum at least once or twice, especially at their apartment complex's restaurant. It's affordable, reliably good, and like Cheers, it's where everybody knows their names. "Hi 关先生 and 关太太...oh, your daughter's back again, huh? Must be an occasion to celebrate." "Would you like the usual table and your usual pot of tea?" After 20 years in the service industry in the US, it's no wonder my parents love being on the receiving end of good service in their retirement years.

Dish after dish came to our table. There were the usual har gow (shrimp dumplings in translucent wrappers) and Chiew Chow dumplings filled with pork and greens. Then came a web of something crisp with dumplings underneath. Turns out, these were pan-fried dumplings, except the pan-frying method was a tad more elaborate than swishing around a hot wok for a few minutes.

After adding oil, the chef would sprinkle a web of flour in the pan before adding a layer of dumplings on top. This method requires the chef to have more control over the temperature of the pan, because here you can't use a spatula to shift contents around the pan if the dumplings start to cook unevenly.

This way of pan-frying requires a bit more work, but I think the finished plate's wow factor is worth it. The filling was a juicy combo of pork and chives. And texture-wise, adding a bit of flour to the bottom seems to make the dumplings crispier and less oily than many other pan-fried versions.