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Jan 19, 2011 09:44 PM

what's Conpoy?


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  1. It's dried scallops, just the main muscle without any of the other parts.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Tripeler

      Yup, and the online encylopedia has an entry for it too

      Although it seems the best kind to use these days are the Hokkaido hotategai.

      1. re: K K

        Does anyone have an online source for quality dried scallops?

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. I think we gotta conpoy goin' here, good buddy!

        2 Replies
          1. re: nooyawka

            It has one - the heart at the bottom right of every post!! Seek and ye shall find!!

        1. ... something essential for good rice porridge?

          ... perfect with braised and sliced abalone?

          ... great for making chicken stock?

          ... umami, where are thou?

          17 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Chicken stock? I thought it was supposed to be very fishy, pungent. Doesn't that take over?

            1. re: rworange

              No. I rarely make either chicken or pork stock without some conpoy.

              It's a perfect complementary profile, and it's the same reason I never use conpoy for fish steak (or fish head stews). Sort of like gilding the lilly.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Ipse is right, chicken stock with conpoy is the basis for Cantonese "superior stock". From that you can build upon it for multiple applications.

                One very easy comfort food Cantonese dish is runny/smooth scrambled egg stir fried with scallions and conpoy. Quick fix and delish over rice.

                1. re: K K

                  So, the wiki article says there is two kinds of conpoy. Do you have a preference?

                  How much do you put in chicken soup and when?

                  1. re: rworange

                    The Japanese kind. But I worry less about place of origin and pedigree, and more about the process of how it was dried and made.

                    Put in the conpoy when you first start the stock process, or when you begin making the soup.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      How much conpoy for a pot of soup?

                      What are good brands? What is the optimal drying and, um, making process?

                      1. re: rworange

                        You are supposed to soak the dried conpoy first. Or you can skip the process and cook it first with hot water for a few mins, then drain the water before using it (e.g. stir fry). How much you use is up to you, but you should not need a lot.

                        1. re: rworange


                          Not sure there is a "brand". I buy mine by weight (e.g., grams) straight from a big glass container (at a store that sells Chinese herbs). You have to trust your supplier.

                          Smell it, feel it in your hands, nibble a bit if you can. Different ones have different flavor profiles. Some are sweeter, others are brinier, and the cheaper one are just salty and very flat.

                          And, K K is right about the amount to use in stocks and soups. Really just about personal preferences.

                          Just a note. It certainly is not for everyone. This is why I don't typically recommend conpoy for making stocks when replying to posts on the subject of chicken stock, etc.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            one other note (assuming you buy them somehwhere where they are loose and you pick them yourself (like they often are in Chinatowns) The bright orange ones tend to have a much more pronounced flavor than the brownish ones.

                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                              The bright orange ones tend to have a much more pronounced flavor than the brownish ones.


                              I think that depends. Sometimes additives will be added to conpoy during the drying process which can create an brighter (orange?) hue.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                There are really no hard and fast rules with picking conpoy from a shop but:

                                - Generally the bigger/fatter the dried scallop, the more expensive

                                - Brighter is not necessarily better, some say a slight darker hue is better. What is more important is that it should not stink or smell wacky. It should have a pretty pronounced scent, maybe an aroma of the sea, but pleasant (that can be subjective), not spoiled or fishy (if so the starting fresh product wasn't all that to begin with)

                                - They say the less cracks/wrinkles in the dried scallop, the better the quality (and higher the price)

                                - Definitely stick with Japanese (Hokkaido) scallops for conpoy.

                            2. re: ipsedixit

                              Yeah definitely, the flavor profile that conpoy adds is a personal matter.

                              In addition to stir fry, the Cantonese also like steaming pork patties with it, which can give a less subtle but healthier flavor than say steaming the pork with salted fish. It is also a perfect if, instead of stir frying a runny scrambled egg with scallions, that you steam the egg mix with conpoy (really brings out the flavor).

                              It also helps to pair conpoy with dried baby shrimps (hsia mi in Mandarin or Ha Mai in Cantonese). That combo can be quite unbeatable in certain broths.

                              1. re: K K

                                It also helps to pair conpoy with dried baby shrimps (hsia mi in Mandarin or Ha Mai in Cantonese). That combo can be quite unbeatable in certain broths.


                                Sometimes I used that combo to make niou rou mien (or Chinese beef noodle soup).

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Yeah throw in mushrooms with conpoy, dried shrimp and that broth essence is the Cantonese diced winter melon soup to the upscale whole soup in the winter melon itself.

                                  1. re: K K

                                    I recently used conpoy in my chili with fantastic results.

                                    Wrapped about 4 conpoy pieces in a cheesecloth and threw it in my chili pot and let it simmer away. Then removed when it was all done. Much better than using fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Yeah it is amazing what it can do. I am even more amazed at how those in Chinese herbal medicine field figured out its healing properties, although it may be limited to improvement in urinal passage or something minor if I didn't misread.

                                      1. re: K K

                                        You talk to a herbalist long enough, and you'll soon believe that everything has some sort of healing properties -- if prepared and consumed properly.

                                        The only thing I ever really care about healing is my appetite ...

              2. In HK a popular dish is conpoy and bamboo shoot (fresh bamboo is sort of like lightly roasted carrot in texture and flavor) but the conpoy is usually not really scallop. I think the restaurants sub some kind of seaweed? It is avdelicious dish!