Fresh Pear and Shrimp Stir Fry

Every time I’m back in Hong Kong, I head straight for a good dim sum restaurant. If you haven’t had dim sum before, it’s as close to competitive eating as I’ve ever experienced. And I’m not talking about the amount of food consumed, either. In Hong Kong, many dim sum restaurants don’t have a nice, orderly wait list, buzzing beepers or call-aheads. Instead, you start by taking a calculating, broad sweep of the entire layout, and in a split-second survey which dining guests are closest to asking for the check.

You then divide up your party, assign tables (even the kids) and plant yourself right there at the table like hungry vultures.

This signals that you are next to take that table. Not too close, because if the table considers you rude, they’d just linger at the table longer to piss you off. But not too far, because another waiting patron could come squeeze in and take claim.

The moment that the very first guest lifts his/her torso to get out of the chair, you must quickly, effectively and stealthy signal to the rest of your party to dash over and take control of the table-handoff situation. Timing is important. Because if the rest of your party doesn’t recognize your signal, too much time passes or worse yet, ANOTHER waiting party sees your signal and makes a mad dash in for a hostile takeover, you’re totally screwed. And once more than half the table is seated by hostile takeover, you have no chance in hell to get the table back, even if it was rightfully yours.

And I haven’t even gotten to the best part – since the cart-pushers are paid on commission, there’s competition for having the A+, easy-selling dishes like Shrimp Har Gow (you wouldn’t want to be stuck with Black Moss Lotus Seed Steamed Duck Tongue that only a few people would find appetizing). They even jockey for floor space with pushers teaming up to cart-block a path to a good table with hungry guests. Yes, it gets nasty.

Thank goodness we don’t have to experience that type of competitive sport here in Tampa Bay. A few weeks ago, I was shooting a television segment at Publix Greenwise and then afterwards scooted over to T.C. Choy’s Asian Bistro across the street and got to enjoy a dim-sum lunch sans vultures.

I’ve asked them for a recipe to publish, and this is a brand new one that will be part of their new menu. While it’s not a typical “dim sum” dish, it certainly is a very popular recipe from Hong Kong.

pear-shrimp-stirfry-4

Fresh Pear and Shrimp Stir Fry Recipe

adapted from T.C. Choy’s Asian Bistro

serves 4 as side dish

1 whole pear, peeled, cored and cut into small wedges
4 ounces thinly sliced carrots
2 tablespoons cooking oil
4 ounces snow peas
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Blanch the pear wedges and carrots for 30 seconds, then drain immediately. Pat the shrimp very dry. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, sugar, chicken broth and cornstarch. Set aside.

2. Heat a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add in the cooking oil and swirl to coat. When the oil is shimmering, add the shrimp and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the grated ginger and continue stir frying for 30 seconds. Add the peas, carrots and pears and toss well. Stir fry for 1 minute. The shrimp should be just barely cooked through.

3. Pour in the chicken broth mixture, stir and let cook for an additional minute, until shrimp is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Comments 37

  1. Noro

    Yeah! A good way to use up my pear and shrimp before leaving for vacations (1 month ^^).
    thanks for sharing.

  2. Lori

    Headed to Hong Kong in three weeks and I can’t wait to try the dim sum there. Thanks for all these table tips, by the way! Any favorite dim sum place there we should consider?

  3. Natanya

    This almost feels like a fall stir fry to me because of the addition of the pears. It would be unexpected for many folks at a dinner table as well, without being scary because it’s too different, which is always great for encouraging people to expand their horizons. I like that it’s such a fast dish as well – perfect for a weeknight.

  4. MaryMoh

    That looks so delicious. I have not taken my dinner (already late) & that makes me more hungry. I wish it’s in front of me now!!

  5. Elizabeth

    Mmm, very different flavours. I think I like it. I will have to try with all the fresh pears I bought at the market this weekend. Now to find some shrimp.

  6. bb

    LOVE HK dim sum! Was a highlight last year. More than the crazy scene at the dim sum halls what I miss are the street side siu maai (and octopus, and fish ball, and etc.) vendors and the Bee Cheng Hiang barbequed beef stands.
    Lori, not dim sum, but for amazing (and super cheap) noodles try Tsim Chai Kee in Central. I salivate thinking about it.
    thanks J for the cool recipe. Looks Hong Kongalicious!

  7. Chris Mower

    Your description of squeezing in for table space totally reminded me of when I lived in Guatemala, except there it’s a fight for a seat on the bus. Sometimes the buses would be so packed, we’d have to jump on the ladder on the back, ha ha. Anyway, I’ve been looking for a new Chinese recipe to try out, thanks for posting this one.

  8. Betty

    Jaden,

    I’m laughing out loud so hard because I so remember doing the dim sum stakeout as a child. I must admit I was kinda shy back then so was a easy push over from the other diners. And what about stalking the cart ladies with all the good items at the other side of the restaurant? Heading straight for her cart with your ticket and grabbing as many steamers as you can back to your table. There is absolutely nothing like a good battle to stimulate your appetite, eh?

    I’ve been to T.C. Choys in Tampa and while its much more civilized, it just doesn’t feel like dim sum.

  9. Dawn in CA

    Dim Sum? Yes, please. And I would totally be up for the table battle you describe! Better than waiting in a loooong line of people like we do in No. Cal. ;)

    But seriously… how on earth did you get the adorable butterfly carrots? Did you cut them with a knife (ain’t gonna happen in my kitchen), or use some kind of mini cookie cutter? Do tell.

    made with cutters specifically made for vegetables – look in a Japanese market ~j

  10. alice

    I’ve never tried a dish with pears and shrimp but this looks really good, quick, and easy. Thanks for the recipe.

  11. Eat. Travel. Eat!

    I’ve never experienced that many people looking for seats at any dim sum restaurant in HK before…but I have only been to several places in HK over many years that I keep going back to. Nor have I tried pear and shrimp both together before! Love the photos and the flower behind the food :).

  12. Rachelle

    LOL! We just played that same find-a-seat game last Saturday night at Seasons52. Walkin around trying to see if people were on dessert and coffee or had their checks yet. Brian asked why I couldn’t just relax and enjoy my wine while we waited and I had to explain the “game” to him. :o) This dish looks AWESOME! And healthy. I need to start getting back to healthy dinners … been baking too much.

  13. Veronica

    Haha Interesting to hear about Dim Sum restaurants in HK. I’ve only been to one Dim Sum restaurant and that was in San Jose, CA last year. There were many open tables there (perhaps we went at a good time),but the cart ladies still flew by the tables like it was a race. It was quite entertaining to watch.

  14. katiek @kitchensidecar

    when i go to HK, I head straight for the beef brisket noodle place on gough. I have tried to recreate their broth – to no avail.

    any dim sum recommendations?

    I’ve done the conrad hotel and a place in metro park.

    I haven’t been back in forever! ~j

  15. Carrie Hasson

    I’m going to take a trip (at least one!) to Japan while I’m here and I look forward to my dim sum adventure! We have a lot of restaurants here that serve dim sum, esp. want to try in Chinatown…just don’t know where to start! It’s all new:) Recipe looks beautiful and delish (and easy peasy!), can’t wait to try in on the fam!
    ~X

  16. Chris

    Full contact dining, that sounds like lots of fun!

    The pear and shrimp pairing took me by surprise but I bet it’s tasty. Are the pairs still a bit crunchy, like a water chestnut, after cooking?

  17. cakebrain

    haha! I seem to recall experiencing something like that on a trip there too.
    However, you have GOT to come to Vancouver to try our Dim Sum. All the great HK Dimsum chefs came here and started up fabulous restaurants. Plus, we Canadians are pretty polite waiting in line and we get little cards with numbers which are called in an orderly fashion. Unless you know the owner. or the waitress. or the busboy. hm. Well, you’re kind of famous, so you could probably budge in line too. Just take me with you.

  18. rxgator07

    Just got back from a trip to Toronto and just had to get my dim sum fix since there are not that many places here in Orlando that have the variety as you would get in Toronto with what? 400,000 ethnic Chinese? Anyhoo, that Canadian politeness went out the window when my Mom almost got into it with another patron over the last dish of fried eggplant stuffed with fish. This lady started flagging down the cart lady with “Hellooo” trying to get her attention but My Mom had already went up to the cart and handed her the white card that the cart pushers mark. You snooze you lose!!! If you happen to catch No Reservations with Tony Bourdain on the Travel Channel the Hong Kong episode, the last segment has him enjoying dim sum in a busy HK restaurant and you get to witness the frenzy at busier dim sum places.

    Oh, the other great thing about dim sum in larger cities, competition driving down the price. At TC Choys, each dim such dish as I recall costs like $2.50 minimum. In Toronto, the place we went to it was $1.50 per dish Canadian money.

  19. Alta

    This sounds really yummy. How did you cut those “thinly sliced carrots”? I think there’s more to this than what you describe…because in your photo, they have cutesy little notches in them. :)

    aha! ancient chinese secret! naah…just fancy restaurant chef knife magic. the chef at the restaurant did these carrots. ~j

  20. Jules

    I made this last week as a quick weekday meal. I was worried the ginger alone wouldn’t make for sufficient seasoning, but it was nice! The saltyness of the broth and the sweetness of the pear balanced nicely. Thanks for the recipe!

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  22. Hungry man

    A great page. Thanks for your delicious hints. I’m looking forward to trying one of your recipes. Do you know what the calorie count is on this dish? Can it be posted?

  23. Pingback: 15 Chinese New Year Recipes: Dumplings, Beef, Pork & Shrimp

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