My favourite thing to do after a night of moderate partying is to eat. In Vancouver, there was no shortage of late night restaurants. Well, I’m not in Vancouver anymore. Lucky for me, I found Chuen May Food, a store that specializes in homemade dim sum.
The store itself is spotless. I’ve peered behind into the kitchen and I have seen first hand how clean the equipment and work areas. I also talked to the owner about the local ingredients she uses. She informed me that unlike some competitors, she never uses the scraps and end pieces of meat. For example, she buys whole local chickens and the best ingredients she can find. I can tell.
Before you see the photos, I’ll warn you that I use very little oil when I cook up the dumplings and spring rolls. As I have an unhealthy penchant for mayonnaise, I try to cut calories in other ways. If I used more oil, the spring rolls and dumpling would have a more consistent golden hue. I also bake my spring rolls instead of deep frying it. My picks at Chuen May include the Pork and Vegetable Dumplings ($15 for 50), Pork and Cabbage Spring Rolls ($35 for a huge bag), Sticky Rice ($7.00 for 2 large or 3 small), and Ground Pork and Mushroom ($8).
For the dumplings, I drizzle about a teaspoon onto the pan and throw the dumplings on medium for 15 minutes. I put some water on the pan and put a cover on for the first 7 minutes. When I can see the dumpling plump up, I flip it over so that the dumpling is crispy all over. The dumpling wrapper is thick enough to hold the meaty goodness inside. The pork is mixed with minced Chinese greens and ginger. I like to put a little mayonnaise and red rooster sauce while L prefers to make his own soy based sauce.
For the spring rolls, I lightly brush the shell with oil and chuck the tray in the oven at 400 degrees for about ten minutes. I watch for the spring rolls to turn a golden brown, then I shut the temperature off and let it sit inside the hot oven for a few more minutes. These spring rolls are quite large and filled with ground pork and bright green cabbage. I dig the saucy almost gravy-like filling, and I think I can detect Chinese five spice.
Before I cook the Sticky Rice, I defrost it in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat it, I plop the lotus wrapped parcel in a bowl filled halfway with water. I nuke it for about 5-7 minutes, depending on its size. If you have the time and patience, you can steam the sticky rice instead of microwaving it. I love the big pieces of Chinese mushroom, fat chunks of juicy chicken, and lap cheong (Chinese sausage), which makes for a substantial snack.
Recently, I tried the Ground Pork and Mushroom dish. For this dish, you need a steamer or a tray in a covered pot. I improvised and found a little ramekin or miniature baking ornament. I let the water simmer for about 15 minutes, then I turn off the heat and let it sit for five minutes. L really enjoyed this dish. The meat is so tasty and succulent and cooks in a broth-like juices. This dish tastes like sui mai, a pork based dumpling served during dim sum. I liked the addition of the shredded beige vegetable with its crunchy texture.
I love Chuen May Food Products. The food is superior to the vast majority of dim sum restaurants I’ve consumed in Calgary. The frozen food is made daily and sells out regularly. Cash only. Chuen May Food Products is located on 221 1 St SE Calgary, AB T2G 2G3 (403) 232-8364