Name:Ngor mai gai
Primary Ingredient(s): Rice and Sausage
Method of Preparation: Steam
If there is one variable that tend to separate dim sum neophytes from those well versed in ordering the classic food, it’s the act of letting one’s eyes determine how delicious a dish may or may not be. Whether it’s turning away from an order of chicken feet to letting color dictate ordering decisions, folks who’ve grown up accustomed to the Western tradition of food and food preparation typically have to rethink their approach to eating. Those of us who come from the European culture of restaurant and food preparation have to learn to leave that cultural baggage behind.
Take the below picture as an example. There are three dishes, two of are a bland white color (Hum Bow, Ha Gao), the other is wrapped in a steamed lotus leaf that has had most of its color leeched out of it (
Nuòmǐ Fàn ngor mai gai). At first glance, those of us from the west may dismiss each of these dishes as bland and unexciting. We would be wrong on all three counts.
Upon opening the ngor mai gai, one could be excused for not getting excited over the dish. After all, what meets the person willing to open the lotus leaf is glutinous steamed rice that has a gray tint about it. Gray food has never excited anybody.
But with the first bite of the rice, the world opens up a fair amount. Because hidden within the rice are the causes of gray color – Sausage and Chicken. The sausage compares quite favorably with the best of British bangers, as it is both sweet and savory, flavors that, thanks to the steam, have been drawn out from the sausage and deep into the rice itself. The Chicken adds a roundness of flavor to the rice, giving it a nice foundation, and making it more than just “sausage flavored rice”.
And when you come upon a piece of the sausage in the rice? Heaven (if you’re a fan of sausage). Because while the flavor comparison with British bangers is apt, the texture is a little more refined than a banger, as it becomes clear that Chinese sausage has less filler added to it.
Of course this may be a restaurant decision. The Chinese sausage found at other Dim Sum locations may vary.
Sure it may not be great to look at. But it’s a delight to eat. I’ll definitely be having more of this. Hopefully I’ll get a better looking picture out of it as well.