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Jan 25, 2013 04:37 PM

Any Shrimp with Lobster Sauce Chinese takeout fans?

This is my new favorite take out dish. Do you like it over rice or eat it more as a soup?

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  1. I eat it as a soup, but have been known to dip fork-fulls of rice into it. I love - love - LOVE this dish, even if it's mediocre.

    What you must understand is I've been a partner in three Chinese restaurants and I've had some of the best Shrimp in Lobster Sauce one can have and not be in China.

    We've actually used lobster tomalley (instead of the ubiquitous cooked pork bits), and there's a big difference between the usual "egg drop soup-style" SLS and the real way they make "egg blossoms" in the wok to create this dish properly...

    But like I said, whether it's manna from the wok of a Chengdu-trained chef or the stuff that's gloopy and full of frozen peas and carrots from the corner take-out, I'm on it. Eat it usually like soup but like I said, I have the steamed rice close at hand.

    All of this being said, the *ultimate* Shrimp in Lobster Sauce doesn't involve Shrimp at all -- it's "Lobster Cantonese" -- which I've had in China and in the U.S. and it's delectable to me (once again, whether short-cuts are taken or if it's the real deal).

    3 Replies
    1. re: shaogo

      <What you must understand is I've been a partner in three Chinese restaurants and I've had some of the best Shrimp in Lobster Sauce one can have and not be in China.>

      You probably won't find many "Shrimp in Lobster Sauce" in China.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Yes, you do. But it's not called that.

        In Beijing, and moreso in Hong Kong, the chefs use that "egg drop soup" kinda sauce very often.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I love
          Shrimp in the Sauce you're supposed to put on Lobster *
          in The States, but never had it or saw it on a menu in Beijing.

          Even at the "foreigner style" Chinese restaurants.

          I DID see it on menus in HK.

          * Just like "chicken fried steak" doesn't have any chicken

      2. I don't eat it very often at all. I like it over rice.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Over rice as well for me.....but I rarely order it for two reasons.....I can't find anyplace that makes it with large sized shrimp and uses real ground pork and not something to simulate it..... It's also got to have thins sliced green onions and whole eggs drizzled in.

          1. re: fourunder

            Good points - the extra large gigantic jumbo shrimp are my best part of the lobster sauce at my favorite takeout place.

        2. Over rice, but with plenty of sauce where it's almost like soup.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cheese Boy

            I don't do take-out that often, and the place I go to has a very limited menu (they do take-out only). So no shrimp with lobster sauce at home. When I go back to NY to visit family, we sometimes go to a local place and that's the only thing I order.

          2. Over rice. But I only order it out when I'm under the weather. I much prefer to make it myself at home as it should be made - with the authentic Cantonese lobster sauce with preserved black beans, etc., etc.

            Takeout places seem to pretty much only dredge shrimp in a bit of cornstarch, add a few green peas & egg-drop soup, & call it "Shrimp with Lobster Sauce". Either don't have a clue, or are - most likely - cutting costs.

            52 Replies
            1. re: Bacardi1

              I've never known Lobster Cantonese or Shrimp and Lobster Sauce to include Fermented Black Beans, unless it was specifically requested, here in the New York/New Jersey area....but then it called *with Black Beans or Black Bean Sauce*. In the Boston area, Lobster Cantonese and Shrimp in Lobster Sauce wold often be served in a brown sauce, but it was made and flavored with Dark Soy or Double Soy Sauce, not fermented black soy beans.

              As for the cost of fermented black beans....the cost is negligible...and I've never heard of ...or seen any restaurant or take-out place make or serve anything you I would disagree with your notion of cutting costs as a primary motive for how the dish is made in any particular location. The inclusion of Egg Drop Soup would make it yellow....and I've only seen it made with a white sauce....or as noted brown if requested. For all intents and purposes, the chicken stock on a wok line is free and a product of carcass scraps....egg drop soup requires eggs, so there is a cost, where as the stock has not.

              1. re: fourunder

                Yea, none of the places here serve it with black beans

                1. re: fourunder

                  Sorry if you've never seen it served this way. I've had it served it to me in New York's Chinatown decades ago. Remember it fondly - although picking through all those lobster shells & black beans was messy.

                  Sorry for those of you who didn't get to enjoy it that way, but preserved black beans were & ARE a traditional ingredient in Lobster Cantonese. And the traditional Lobster Cantonese sauce IS a traditional ingredient for "Shrimp with Lobster Sauce".

                  1. re: Bacardi1

                    Yea I think you are correct. My statement was to highlight your mention that "takeout places seem to pretty much only dredge shrimp in a bit of cornstarch, add a few green peas & egg-drop soup" which I think is true at least in my area but makes for a very satisfying dish to me. I have seen the black bean version in NYC Chinatown and would love to try it one day.

                    1. re: Bacardi1

                      Considering my extended family owns or owned over two dozen restaurants in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts over the last 60 years......and made/makes a lot of money off of selling both Lobster Cantonese and Shrimp and Lobster Sauce....there's no need to be Sorry for me.....and I think I'm qualified to know what is traditional, as opposed to what can be included as a possible common ingredient and variation of the dish in any particular restaurant's version. Based on that history and fact...and by reading and studying on the history of Chinese Food in general.

                      So no, it's not a traditional's a variation....but if you don't believe me, maybe you can believe someone else.



                      heidipie Jan 10, 2002 12:13 AM
                      In "The Chinese Kitchen" by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, the Lobster Cantonese doesn't have black beans. She goes so far as to say that "this traditional preparation from Guangzhou has not changed in hundreds of years." And in "Every Grain of Rice: A Taste of Our Chinese Childhood in America," by two women who grew up in San Francisco's Chinatown, the Lobster with Special Sauce recipe does have black beans. So maybe the black beans are a traditional west coast variation, which explains the difficulty in obtaining New Jersey-style Shrimp with Lobster Sauce out here


                      and this....



                      For the best friend was my father....and my extended family were uncles and cousins...all who owned Cantonese/Polynesian Chinese American restaurants.

                      1. re: Bacardi1

                        <Sorry for those of you who didn't get to enjoy it that way, but preserved black beans were & ARE a traditional ingredient in Lobster Cantonese>

                        With all due respect, your statement is wrong. That is not the traditional way to serve it. It may taste good to you, and who is to say it does not taste good, but that is not the original version. Just because your grandmother took you to NY Chinatown and had it, does not make it authentic. I think you completely went over board when you wrote "Either don't have a clue".


                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Isn't the lobster with preserved black beans (in a lovely, viscous clear sauce) called dou-sze long-xia, rather than Quandon long-xia (sorry my transliteration really stinks!)

                          1. re: shaogo


                            You have a very good point, and read much more careful than I originally did. What was described above by Bacardi "picking through all those lobster shells & black beans was messy" is unlikely to what fourunder and I were talking about.

                            There is indeed a version of shrimps with lobster sauce with additional of fermented black bean, like this:


                            This is not the authentic version, but even in this version, you won't have lobster shell anywhere close to the dish. Most "Shrimp with Lobster Sauce" do not even have lobsters, and even for the nicer ones with lobster meat, they don't stir fry the lobster with shell on.

                            I think that is a completely different dish.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              "Most "Shrimp with Lobster Sauce" do not even have lobsters."

                              You're right. Chinese (transliterated) is "xia long fu" which means, essentially, "shrimp in the sauce we also make for lobster." The only part of the lobster that goes in the sauce is occasionally the tomalley. Else it's basically a thick, egg-drop kinda sauce (with or without black beans, as evidenced here) and sometimes with peas, carrots, or the dreaded chopped water chestnuts...

                              1. re: shaogo

                                This was my understanding as well and when I order it never expect it to have lobster but a friend mentioned to me that there is a traditional Cantonese dish with lobster in it

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Yes - that's called "Lobster Cantonese", & the sauce does NOT have lobster in it. The sauce is simply a complement to the lobster. Get it?

                                  It's THAT sauce, which is used to sauce the lobster, but does NOT have lobster in it, that is used for "Shrimp with Lobster Sauce". That's why Lobster Sauce is called "Lobster Sauce". Because it's normally used to sauce Cantonese-style lobster, NOT because it has any lobster in it.

                                  1. re: Bacardi1

                                    OK, thanks that has been my general understanding. Either way it's delicious :)

                                  2. re: fldhkybnva

                                    shaogo and fldhkbnva,

                                    Agree. Some of the lobster sauces have lobster (just because restaurants want to be high end), but almost all of them do not. In Chinese cooking, as you two well know, the better and the fresher the sea food, the lighter the seasoning and the sauce. The idea is to not overwhelm the fresh seafood. This is why many fresh fish is simply steam with a touch of ginger, soy sauce and garlic...etc. The less fresh fish are seasoned with heavier sauce or deep fried. The same is to be said here too. If you have good shrimp, there is no reason but to use the light white/pale egg drop like sauce.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      In New York and New Jersey Chinese Kitchens....those that do not fry the lobster first, then add a sauce to the lobster.....definitely do use the actual lobster being served to make the sauce.....or in other words the Lobster Sauce does contain Lobster....or lobster is used to make the the lobster itself is cooked in it along with the ground pork..

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        <.those that do not fry the lobster first, then add a sauce to the lobster>

                                        I don't disagree. Some certainly do contain lobster.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          lately, Ive seen this recent trend to try and reinvent Lobster Cantonese.....The Cut-Up Lobster is dipped in a cornstarch slurry, then deep fried. I imagine the purpose is to let the sauce adhere to the lobster shell...but as indicated by others the lobster is picked out of the shell first before eaten....The sauce is already cornstarch heavy, and if properly thickened, i.e. the cornstarch is allowed to cook out, then I really do not see the need for the textural component to deep fry. the lobster in the shell.....shrimp yes, lobster no.

                                          btw. my point was to highlight the actual lobster flavors the sauce while being made.....not to say there would be actual shelled lobster meat in the sauce.

                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  The Shrimp & Lobster Sauce recipe that I make all the time, out of one of Grace Young's books does contain fermented black beans, I'm pretty sure (tor what it's worth). It also uses a stock made from shrimp shells & clam juice for the 'lobster' sauce. I have no idea how authentic it is (it's really tasty though).

                                3. re: shaogo

                                  Shaogo and fourunder,

                                  Just happened to run across a menu and it demonstrates this well. Here you can see items #100 and #101. #100 is 蝦龍糊 (shrimps in lobster sauce). #101 is the 豉汁蝦 (shrimps in fermented black bean sauce)

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Very Nice.....thanks for posting and to end the argument for me.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Chem and Shaogo,

                                      From the archives of my Father's restaurant menu from Circa 1960's.....

                                      Pay close attention to the pricing you can see...

                                      Shrimp Egg Foo Young.....2.25
                                      Lobster Egg Foo Young....3.25
                                      Crabmeat Egg Foo Young....2.25

                                      Lobster Cantonese.......4.00
                                      Jumbo Shrimp and Lobster Sauce.....3.75
                                      Jumbo Shrimp with Black Bean Sauce.....3.75
                                      Lobster Sauce (Plain).........1.50
                                      Lobster Cantonese Style, without Shell.....6.00

                                      My father used Ocean Garden White U-15 or 16-20s on Shrimp exclusively and gave a 12 count. the Lobster were 1 1/4 pound.

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        <Lobster Sauce (Plain).........1.50>

                                        You (your father) sold just the lobster sauce? :)

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Did you click on one of the pictures? It expands it so you can see the pricing.

                                          He didn't fool around....Apparently, it was popular enough to get it's own line on the menu......and he ground his own fresh pork from the pork butt scraps to boot....for both the Lobster Sauce and Dim Sum.

                                          1. re: fourunder

                                            <Did you click on one of the pictures?>

                                            Yeah, I did. I looked at both. Anything else I should pay closer attention too?

                                            <.Apparently, it was popular enough to get it's own line on the menu>

                                            Probably great for poor college and graduate student. Just the lobster sauce and the rice.

                                        2. re: fourunder

                                          You know what gets me is that way back when Shrimp with Lobster Sauce was actually made with fermented black beans - at least in NY's Chinatown - everyone loved it, but no one made it that way at home because fermented black beans were pretty much unavailable to the general public unless they lived near Chinatown.

                                          But now that there are Asian markets everywhere - not to mention the internet (where I bought my last batch via Amazon) - no one seems to want to use fermented black beans.

                                          And they're so wonderful in so many different dishes. Plus, they literally last FOREVER in an airtight container in the pantry, so no storage or spoilage issues.

                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      *when you wrote "Either don't have a clue"*. ....or, * I much prefer to make it myself at home as it should be made - with the authentic Cantonese lobster sauce with preserved black beans, etc., etc.*



                                      Help me out please.....
                                      I cannot read any dialect. Does your link mention ground turkey or peas to be authentic?

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        Oh for heaven's sake - as far as authenticity, I was talking about the preserved black beans.

                                        I use ground turkey because my husband can't eat pork products, & add the green peas simply because I like the flavor & the added color.

                                        1. re: fourunder

                                          *Chinese Country White Gravy*....maybe I should give it a try on Country Fried Steak.

                                  2. re: Bacardi1

                                    I would love that recipe if you're willing to share!

                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                      I'm more than willing to share, but you'll have to wait a bit. I've been making this for decades - since my grandmother took me to NY's Chinatown for it, & since I was able to buy preserved black beans in order to make it in an authentic fashion. Since then I've been making it by the seat of my pants - lol!!

                                      But we've been having a hankering for it lately, so I'll post how I do it. It really is delicious, & much tastier than what you get from takeout. :)

                                      1. re: Bacardi1

                                        Great, I look forward to it. Perhaps I won't have to worry about transforming into the Michelin woman if I find a great recipe to make at home instead of takeout. I hoard salt pretty well and even a bowl of shrimp with lobster sauce from any takeout place makes me quite puffy.

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          Here's the recipe used by the my family's various endeavors.....


                                          * 16 ounces Shrimp (16-20)
                                          * 8 ounces Ground Pork
                                          * Peanut or Vegetable Oil
                                          * 1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic
                                          * 1 Teaspoon Minced Ginger
                                          * 2 Tablespoon Sherry
                                          * 1-2 Cups of Chicken Stock
                                          * 1 Tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
                                          * Salt
                                          * White Pepper
                                          * One or Two Whole Eggs
                                          * 2 Thin Sliced Green Onions.
                                          * Cornstarch Slurry

                                          Method/Cooking Instructions:

                                          * Heat Wok
                                          * Add Oil
                                          * Add Ground Pork and Brown
                                          * Add Garlic
                                          * Add Ginger
                                          * Add Shrimp
                                          * Add Sherry ...wait 30-60 seconds
                                          * Add Stock
                                          * Cover Wok until Shrimp starts to turn Opaque
                                          * Add Seasonings...salt, white pepper and light soy sauce.
                                          * Add Cornstarch Slurry to thicken
                                          * Add Lightly Scrambled Egg
                                          * Add Green Onions to sauce or to the plated dish.

                                          ** If you want to add in the fermented black beans, then do so when you add the garlic.

                                          ** If you want a brown sauce, add Dark Soy Sauce, Double Soy Sauce or Oyster Sauce after you add the cornstarch only need a small amount.


                                          1. re: fourunder

                                            This looks nice. Have you tried to substitute 1-2 cups of chicken stock with the so called "Clear Stock" or "Supreme Stock" (上湯) (same thing, different names)

                                            The one on the top

                                            I don't know if it makes a huge difference, but many recipes I read use the supreme stock. It may not make a huge difference because there are plenty other meats there already.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              With regards to the the home, all the cooking was done by my the restaurant, my Father.. I am familiar with the Clear, or Supreme Stock, but have never made now, sorry to say, I have never used it.

                                              I'll have to change that one day.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                In my experience, the clear stocks make a difference only in soups where the more subtle flavor can be appreciated and the clarity is valued. When I make a clear Chinese ( or other general Asian style) stock for "general" soup bases, I use pork and chicken bones. I use the traditional French method (leaving it cloudy, no raft) for chicken stock for cooking applications.

                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                  <the clear stocks make a difference only in soups where the more subtle flavor can be appreciated and the clarity is valued>

                                                  I was thinking just that -- or approximately that. My clear stock or supreme stock is made from chicken, pork tenderloin, beef shank. All preboiled to remove blood, and all lean meat to provide a clearer and more subtle taste. Also cured ham and dried orange peel....etc.

                                              2. re: fourunder

                                                Important ! ! !.

                                                I should have added immediately after, or just below...

                                                * Cover Wok until Shrimp starts to turn Opaque


                                                * Remove Shrimp from Wok to prevent over cooking.

                                                I don't do so myself, but for a first time attempt, it may be prudent.

                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                  Ahh, yes the traditional!

                                                  You forgot the msg but let's not get into that here.

                                                  Also, it's nice you mentioned the brown style -- the style associated with New England but more particularly Boston. Musthroom (thick) soy sauce renders it so!

                                                  1. re: shaogo

                                                    I like Mushroom Soy, but rarely purchase it for the pantry. I recently purchased Vegetarian Oyster Sauce....I'm on the fence about whether I like it or not.....probably no in the end for stocking it in the pantry....It's hard enough using up the can of Traditional Oyster Sauce.

                                                  2. re: fourunder

                                                    I plan to use this recipe to make Lobster sauce this weekend as I have a serious craving but would love to be able to make it at home. Can I just reheat on low in the microwave?

                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                      Another fourunder winner! I made this tonight for lunch tomorrow and couldn't help but give it a taste! It's so light, so delicious and exactly like the dish I order from my local Chinese place...or, used to order. The only thing is that it didn't thicken very much which is OK with me as I usually eat it as a soup so more broth to drink is great. How much cornstarch do you add?

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        fourunder is very knowledge. For everything I understand, he phrase it so well. For everything I don't understand, I know he does not bullsh*t.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          Exactly, I can't wait for lunch and to try the next fourunder specialty.

                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                            Wow, this is delicious and I highly recommend it to any lobster sauce fans. I even reheated in the microwave as that's all I have at work and the shrimp are still tender. It has a lovely, subtle delicious flavor but much more flavorful than the dish from my local takeout place. I don't think I'll be ordering it from there much in the future, as this was so quick and easy.

                                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            Thanks for the kind're not too shabby yourself.

                                                          3. re: fldhkybnva

                                                            How much cornstarch do you add?

                                                            Very nice to hear you enjoyed the recipe.

                                                            With regards to the your query......with a cornstarch slurry, there really is no measurement. You take 4-5 tablespoons and mix with cold water.......when you add it to any dish, you do so by pouring in a stream of the slurry until it thickens. One reason it may not have thickened enough for you is that it needs to cookout and a lot of heat is needed.. That's why I added the addendum above to remove the shrimp to allow the sauce to thicken.

                                                          4. re: fourunder

                                                            Glad this thread has been revived! This is the style Shrimp with Lobster Sauce I grew up with in the '60's. The closest Chinese restaurant was an hour away and us kids would be so excited that we actually behaved well on the drive!

                                                            I always sat where I could get glimpses of the kitchen when the swinging doors opened as the server exited. It was a hive of steam, great aromas and bustling activity. I was completely captivated.

                                                            This style shrimp is hard to find where I now live and even harder to find it prepared well. Sometimes you just want a taste of your childhood...

                                                            1. re: meatn3

                                                              Being a child in the late 60s early 70s, I remember my folks drinking beer and likely apple cider, when at 1:00am, they'd pack me up in the family car (a 1963ish chevy corvair) and drive to chinatown, about 25 minutes into the city where they'd drink more and order chinese food.
                                                              I'd barely get a mouthful and wanna go back to sleep. With the help of an always cheery waiter, my dad would put 3 chairs together as a bed for me. I'd sleep as they ate, then back int0o the car and drive home.

                                                              Soooo politically incorrect on so many levels, but hey, it was the era...

                                                              Like you, I grew up captivated by chinatown (although Montreal's chinatown could be called "china block": its roughly 3 square blocks) with its restaurants, groceries, stores, streets, etc etc.
                                                              In fact I still love it today and its usually our go-to dining spot.

                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                My area had nothing resembling a Chinatown. The lone restaurant was named China City so I guess they were aiming high!

                                                                Political correctness aside, there is something magical about late night escapades remembered from a sleepy child's perspective.

                                                          5. re: fldhkybnva

                                                            This link is pretty darn close to the way I make my Shrimp with Lobster Sauce.


                                                            Only differences are that I use ground turkey in place of ground pork in the lobster sauce, no sugar, & I also toss in about a cup or so of frozen green peas for a bit of additional color. Other than that, that's pretty much how I do it.

                                                      1. re: Sarah

                                                        Your 2nd link above is pretty darn close to the way I make my Shrimp with Lobster Sauce.

                                                        Only differences are that I use ground turkey in place of ground pork in the lobster sauce, no sugar, & I also toss in about a cup or so of frozen green peas for a bit of additional color. Other than that, that's pretty much how I do it.