Sunday 18 November 2012

Wu Gok 芋角 - A Dim Sum Legend

When I saw this list of Top 5 dim sum, I let off a few ai-yahs! and shook my fist angrily at my computer. It's not that any of the dim sum listed are unworthy, but limiting a must-order list to five dishes is, quite frankly, ridiculous. I mean who orders just five different varieties of dim sum when going to yum cha? Moreover, the list didn't have any deep-fried dishes. What's that all about? Who doesn't order deep-fried dim sum?

In particular, one deep fried dim sum has a special place in my heart: wu gok 芋角 (on English-language menus, these are often listed as taro croquettes or yam croquettes). These croquettes are to fried dim sum what har gau are to steamed dim sum, and along with cheung fun these three classics form the 'Holy Trinity of Dim Sum'. (Yes I am well aware how ridiculous that sentence is, but since when have I ever had a sense of proportion when it comes to food?)

Wu gok, when properly cooked, has a wonderful frilly crisp outer that gives way to a soft fluffy layer of mashed taro before yielding to a filling of ground pork and Chinese mushroom in light gravy (be warned, the filling can scold if the croquettes are fresh out of the fryer!). It is this contrast in textures that makes wu gok such a legend in my books. So the next time you are ordering dim sum, make sure the box for wu gok is ticked. After all, you wouldn't want me to go on about it like a grumpy old Chinese uncle, now would you?


  1. Where's the best pkace you've had wu gok? My favourite also!

  2. My default order HAS to have (or I'll sulk) taro croquettes, prawn and chive dumplings, har gau, the fried turnip/radish one (蘿蔔絲酥餅), either fried doughnut or scallop cheung fun depending on my mood...

    I really never miss those unless I go somewhere that doesn't have one or other...

    Most often there will be more seafood-oriented steamed dumplings. And there will be another fried item or two, usually sesame wrapped prawns. And if I'm with a few more people so we can order more, I have to have cold Thai baby octopus.

    And maybe a rice parcel. And sometimes char sui bau but sometimes the version with chicken coriander in it. And maybe curried whelks.

  3. It's one of our favourites that always gets ordered... along with Glutinous Rice. We always order Har Gau, but not quite as fanatical about it as yourself. We also always order Cheung Fun... I tried the dough stick type but wasn't sure. Prefer the prawn and pork ones myself.

    I was recommended a new place which I haven't tried yet - China Palace near the excel centre. Website menu looks decent enough.

  4. I want the Holy Trinity of Dim Sum now. I've always loved Dim Sum for breakfast - whenever we'd visit the Shwe Dagon pagoda in Yangon in the morning, we'd go for dim sum straight after.

  5. Thebao - a good question! In common with har gau, it's not so much 'where to go' for wu gok but more a matter to avoid places with bad wu gok. A cop out I know!

    Kavey - my, my! We should make you a honorary Chineser.Most bases covered by your list, but I'd add fried cuttlefish cakes (mak yu beng) to the list.

    Frank - I know of China Palace but due to its location I haven't made the trip out there yet. Let me know if it's any good if you do head out there.

    meemalee - I knew dim sum is found all across SE Asia, but for some reason I hadn't realised that it's popular in Burma, too. I shouldn't be surprised, after all the Burmese I know have great taste in food!

  6. I couldn't help but chuckle at your post Mr Noodles!
    Yes, Wu Gok would feature on my to-order list and I like Kavey's selections too :) I would have to order the cuttlefish cakes to keep my Mister happy as well :)

    @ Frank - we went to China Palace for Yum Cha when at Excel last December. As far as I can remember it's MSG loaded and great if you want raging thirst for the remainder of the day. I wouldn't warrant it a second visit. :(

    1. PlumLeaf - Mister PlumLeaf is a very wise man! Mak yu beng (cuttlefish cakes) are another fried dim sum classic.