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What's this dim sum item?

  • jgg13 Aug 6, 2007 08:51 AM
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Was at Hei La Moon yesterday (which was awesome: we were right where the carts come out and it was the moon festival ... everything was even better than usual, and lots of items I don't typically see). I found an item that I'd never seen before (there or anywhere else).

Basically it was a big clump of the fried rice that comes in the bowls, but surrounded by that sweetish/fluffy white dough that you see the char siu bau and such wrapped in (but smooth on the outside). It was oval shaped - looked like it was made as a 'loaf' and then sliced.

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  1. Hmm - I think I know what you're speaking of but I don't know the exact cantonese name for it. The rice filling is known as "lor mai" (also served fried on a plate with an inverted transparent bowl on top") and the steamed bun is known as "bau" (perhaps "lor mai bau"?).

    It's alright but I find it to be way too starchy (flour plus rice? no thanks). The sticky rice is actually steamed so it might be a bit on the bland side (as opposed to its fried counterpart). If this is your cup of tea though, I'd recommend the sausage rolls ("lap cheung geeun", sausage is slightly sweet and more delicate than say kielbasas or italian sausages) or the custard buns ("lai wong bau") which is perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.

    6 Replies
    1. re: tarragonoxide

      Yes, that's the right description (the rice w/ the transparent bowl). Didn't know the name of that either :)

      I'll have to watch for the sausage rolls - I'm pretty sure they came by yesterday. We were getting so full on our "favorites which don't often seem to come by" that we didn't get too many new items. The sausage rolls basically look like pigs in a blanket? Those were offered to me at one point but our table was massively full at the time :)

      1. re: tarragonoxide

        It's called "nor mai guen" (literally translated as glutinous rice roll). And if you wonder about whether it's "lor mai" or "nor mai", it's officially "nor mai".

        1. re: kobuta

          Kobuta - A bit unrelated but do you know the reason for the difference between "LOR mai" and "NOR mai"? (e.g., Mainland Cantonese v.s. HK Cantonese)

          1. re: tarragonoxide

            No regional differences at all. It's just an unfortunate, "lazy" habit a lot of cantonese speakers have to pronounce words that start with the "N" sound with an "L" instead. I catch myself doing it every now and then. Words beginning with an L sound do exist, but probably not nearly as often as you might hear in some casual conversations.

            1. re: kobuta

              I'm not actually sure it's "laziness" but it might be a regional accent thing. For what it's worth, I know that in Mandarin Chinese, the sweet sticky rice is called "nuo mi." However, I'd grown up under the mistaken impression that it was called "luo mi," because of a similar N-L transposition that my parents did.

              The most extreme version of this transposition is in Hunan Province, where N's get flipped over to L's and H's get changed into F's, hence the province is called "Fulan" if you say it in a strong enough local accent. I think as I say this is a regional variant, though, not laziness.

              Back to the original topic -- a nuo-mi-bao sounds bizarro to me. Sort of like risotto-stuffed tortellini or something.

              1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                It's more prevalent in overseas Chinese, but I do detect it in HK and even Canton/Guangzhou when people speak fast, so I really don't think it's a regional accent.

                Nor mai guen is really good. I used to have neighbor who made these fresh and would bring them over. The sticky rice is a little savory, but not stuffed with all the seasonings you get in the standalone dish. When you mix it with the slight sweetness of the bao, it's a great combo. Much better than it sounds. Unlike a bao though, it's not completely encased. I believe the dough is wrapped around a long strip of sticky rice and then sliced after it's steamed.

      2. We were there too, at 11 it was great yesterday. Packed too!

        3 Replies
        1. re: hargau

          Yeah. OTOH, it was a bit less of a wait then when I was there on chinese new year. Going on the big days seems to be better in terms of food quality, but I always like that place.

          1. re: jgg13

            I cant remember but not sure if they had the basement open at chinese new year. That basically doubled the capacity and shortened the wait.

            I prefer the rice in the lotus leaf, im not a fan of the stuff in the bowls. I have had the kind with the dough you describe, its more of a dessert and sweet. I think it was cold, was a long time ago since i got that one.

            1. re: hargau

              They did have the basement open on new year, that was the first tiem I'd seen it before. I'm really glad they had it open yesterday, that would have taken forever (we were also there right around noon, which made the crowds pretty heavy).

              I like the lotus leaf w/ treats in the middle better too, but really I like 'em both.

        2. The item you're speaking of shows up pretty regularly in their carts. Had some in, hm, May, I think. Too heavy for me, but I love the banana leaf wrapped chicken sausage glutinous rice.