From dim sum to baos, we try them all in our latest taste test.
By Ashima Sethi
I’ll be honest, I’m as big of a fan of dim sum as they come. A traditional Chinese meal often eaten for brunch, dim sum consists of small plates of various fried and steamed delights that are eaten in succession, perfect for those who like to sample a little bit of everything (like me). Beyond full meals, a lot of dim sum is great for snacking on too, my favourites being prawn toast, pot stickers, and steamed dumplings. All of my favourites traditionally feature meaty ingredients, so I was deﬁnitely curious to try Krop’s line of plant-based dim sum and Chinese-inspired products, all of which are totally vegan and not something I’ve ever seen before!
Plant-based hakao (six pieces per pack, THB 110)
Hakao, also known as har gow, is a traditional Cantonese dumpling that’s known for its delicate, white, translucent wrapper that envelopes a deliciously-seasoned seafood filling. Originally created in Guangzhou, the idea for the dish was born out of a need to transform the shrimp caught by the local fisherman into dumplings that locals would love. In the same way that an original har gow is stuffed with a tender, savoury filling, Krop’s vegan variety does not disappoint!
Plant-based hakao with vegan cheese (six pieces per pack, THB 120)
Similar as the aforementioned original-style har gow, Krop’s plant-based hakao with vegan cheese is a great choice for those who like their dim sum just a tad more indulgent. Featuring an oozing centre filled with vegan cheese, you can pair it with an array of different dips in addition to the recommended soy and vinegar-based dim sum sauce. Tender on the outside with a juicy filling, this was definitely a memorable morsel.
Plant-based shumai (six pieces per pack, THB 110)
Cantonese shumai is another kind of dim sum that’s often served together with har gow. Originating in Guangdong and Guangxi, the original form of shumai consists mostly of ground pork, mushrooms, and scallions, but they can be made from an array of seafood like shrimp and crab, too. The dumpling’s outside layer is made of a thin sheet that protects a meaty centre and it’s usually topped with an orange dot made from crab roe or carrot. As shumai is one of my favourite variations of dim sum, I thought that Krop’s meat-free adaptation still oﬀered that desired juiciness in each bite.
Plant-based shumai with vegan cheese (six pieces per pack, THB 120)
Similar to their aforementioned plant-based shumai, their shumai with vegan cheese is also appetising. Similar to a momo, which is a dumpling from the South Asian regions that can be made from ingredients like spinach and cheese, the vegan cheese adds an added depth of ﬂavour to a traditional shumai dumpling. Because of this, I would recommend trying the dumpling with chutneys that go beyond the soy dim sum dipping sauce!
Plant-based curry bun (four buns per pack, THB 69)
Krop’s buns are vegan adaptations of the traditional bao, also known in Thailand as salapao. Most often steamed, these buns are stuffed with many different fillings, red pork, barbecued pork, and cream custard being the most popular. Krop’s curry buns put a Thai twist on the classic variation with a yellow curry-style filling inspired by the Thai dish, phad phong karee, which is one of my favourite dishes of all time, making this bun my preferred out of their two enticing choices.
Plant-based kaprao bun (four buns per pack, THB 69)
Similarly, Krop’s kaprao buns also take inspiration from Thai ﬂavours, particularly our national dish of phad kaprao. The soft steamed buns are stuﬀed with plant-based ﬁlling that’s seasoned to emulate ﬂavours of soy sauce, basil, chillies, and all kinds of savoury goodness that dominate a plate of kaprao. Deﬁnitely a moreish treat for those who like their salapao buns on the more savoury side.
One of my favourite proteins in the world is pork belly, whether it’s in khana moo krob or kaprao moo krob, I love it all. Therefore, I expected to be extra critical of Krop’s Vegan Crispy Pork (200g per pack, THB 120), particularly if they would be able to emulate that tender tri-layer of meat topped with a crispy, crunchy skin. But I’m happy to report that their vegan adaptation is rather convincing, not to mention versatile, as it can be used in a plethora of Thai and Chinese-style dishes and with a variety of different dips whether it be Masala‘s choice of a kaprao-style dip or the classic nam jim jaew.
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