Even the frozen, convenience version of this staple dim sum should offer juiciness and a rich flavour from its pork filling. Janice Leung steams in
Doll Dim Sum Shrimp Shao Mai Beyond the flavour of white pepper, these offer nothing but blandness. The mince has some hard, gristly bits, despite otherwise being an overly fine, mousse-like paste. They keep their shape well after steaming and are quite bouncy, but then, so are pencil erasers.
HK$10.50, Wellcome and ParknShop, citywide
Chan Kee Dim Sum Pork Shao Mai with Mushroom
These mounds of finely minced pork are dense and quite firm, holding their shape well after steaming. They are moderately bouncy if dry. The shiitake mushrooms have the intense dusty flavour typical of low-quality ones, rather than a meaty, well-rounded umami.
HK$10.70, ParknShop, citywide
Imperial Banquet Deluxe Shrimp Shaomai
While these look grey and unappetising after steaming - a process that too easily makes the wrapper soggy - they taste closest to the real thing. The pork juices are rich, even though there could have been more. The whole shrimp on top adds extra texture and flavour.
Wan Chai Ferry Shrimp Shao Mai
These are topped with half or whole shrimps and dusted with bright orange shrimp roe. They have intense shrimp flavours but seem out of balance, as the pork is relatively bland and isn't juicy enough. The dumplings vary in size within the pack.
HK$13.80, Wellcome and ParknShop, citywide
Amoy Shrimp Shaomai
These dumplings have both pork and shrimp, but it's hard to tell they have either. They are doughy and dry, with an artificial shrimp flavour. The only hint that they might not be all fake is the presence of diced shrimp on top.
HK$12.80, Wellcome and ParknShop, citywide