Restaurant: New Port Restaurant
City: Sunnyvale, CA
Siu mai was one of the dumplings ordered during dim sum with coworkers.
Shumai (simplified Chinese: 烧卖; traditional Chinese: 燒賣; pinyin: shāomài), also spelled as siu mai or shaomai, also called pork dumplings (although often other types of dumplings could also be filled with pork), is a type of traditional Chinese dumpling served as dim sum. Cantonese shumai is the most well-known variety from the south-eastern province of Guangdong. As prepared in Cantonese cuisine, siumai is also referred to as “pork and mushroom dumpling.” Its standard filling consisting primarily of ground pork, small whole or chopped shrimp, Chinese black mushroom, green onion (also called scallion) and ginger with seasonings of Chinese rice wine e.g. Shaoxing rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil and chicken stock. Bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and pepper can also be added. The outer covering is made of a thin sheet of lye water dough. The center is usually garnished with an orange dot, made of crab roe or diced carrot, although a green dot made with a pea may be used. The decorative presentations vary. (Wikipedia)
The Cantonese shumai, the oldest variation, is believed to have originated in the Guangdong province in southern China in such a teahouse. The Guangdong province, particularly the central capital city of Guangzhou (home to the third largest harbor in China), would have encountered a lot of trade and foreign merchants (Schlotter 234), thus making it an ideal location for dim sum and consequently shumai. Although the first documented evidence of shumai is from the Song dynasty (Dunlop 191), it is possible that shumai was “born” alongside the emergence of tea, foreign foods, and many other dumplings during the Tang dynasty (Anderson 54). The origin of the dumpling itself in China is widely debated, but there is evidence to indicate it is a central Asian/Near Eastern borrowing (Anderson 180). (Food For Thought: Dumpling Migration)