Har Gow: A Culinary Gem from Malaysia

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Har Gow, also known by various names such as Xia jiao, ha gau, ha gaau, ha gao, and ha gow, is a traditional Cantonese dumpling that has found its place in the hearts of many, especially in Malaysia. Originating from Guangdong, China, this dish has travelled far and wide, becoming an integral part of dim sum culture in various regions, including Malaysia.

Historical Roots:

The prawn dumplings first made their appearance in the outskirts of Guangzhou near the creek bazaar Deli. Over time, they have become a benchmark for evaluating the skill of a dim sum chef. A well-made Har Gow is characterized by its pleated shape, often resembling a shrimp bonnet. When served alongside shumai, another popular dumpling, they are collectively referred to as har gow-siu mai.

Distinctive Features:

The hallmark of a perfect Har Gow lies in its intricate details. The dumpling should have at least seven, and preferably ten or more pleats imprinted on its translucent wrapper. The skin, while being thin, should be robust enough to hold the filling without breaking when picked with chopsticks. The shrimp filling should be cooked to perfection – neither undercooked nor overcooked. The portion should be just right, allowing it to be consumed in a single bite.


Har Gow, along with shumai, cha siu bao, and egg tarts, are often referred to as “The Four Heavenly Kings” of Cantonese cuisine. As a testament to its popularity and significance, Har Gow continues to be a favourite among many, transcending borders and becoming a beloved dish in Malaysia.


Article curated by Suwaytha Gopal