We heard you like shumai….

There is often a lot of talk about Japan’s take on the Chinese jiaozi dumplings called gyoza, but we should never forget its lesser celebrated cousin shumai. Based on a common dim sum component, these pork-and-vegetable dumplings have a much more tender texture than most gyoza.

Although shumai tends to keep a lower profile to gyoza, it is definitely a popular item at Japan’s many Chinese food providers such as Kiyoken chain in the Kanto area. Here shumai isn’t just a big seller, it’s straight up big!

This bad boy is called the At-Home Jumbo Shumai Mini and was bought by our Japanese-language writer Shawn from a Kiyoken for 3,500 yen (US$31). It comes frozen and needs a bit of preparation at home before eating.

▼ Just cut open the wrapper…

▼ …then microwave for about 10 minutes or less depending on the wattage.

▼ Leave it to steam for another three minutes.

▼ And voila! We placed it along with an iPhone for scale.

This Jumbo Shumai Mini weighs in at a hefty 764 grams (27 ounces), measures 11.5 centimeters (4.5 inches) in diameter and 10 centimeters (4 inches) in height, and it bears an uncanny resemblance to one of those facehugger eggs from the Alien movies.

▼ But enough stats. Let’s dig in!

▼ Oh joy! Our shumai gave birth to a litter of shumai!

To be exact, there are 22 regular-sized shumai within this giant shumai. As guaranteed by the store. The name “Jumbo Shumai Mini” might sound almost offensively oxymoronic, but it does make sense.

According to Kiyoken their regular “Jumbo Shumai” is a popular item for celebrations such as weddings. They say the concept stems from a Chinese custom of putting a small peach dumpling in another dumpling to symbolize a wish for prosperity of the family line.

However, the Jumbo Shumai we bought is smaller than the wedding version as it is intended for a single family or hungry single person to consume at home for smaller occasions such as birthdays or graduations. And so, it’s a “mini” Jumbo Shumai.

There is no shortage of taste in this monster though. It’s just like Kiyoken’s regular shumai, with tender savory pork and sweet green peas.

Of course, the giant shumai shell is also perfectly edible with the same flavor. Shawn was quite polite in cutting his open with a knife and fork, but anyone is welcome to release their inner Goku and just take a big chomp out it while holding it with your bare hands.

The At-Home Jumbo Shumai Mini can be purchased at any Kiyoken store, most of which are in Kanagawa with a few locations in Tokyo and Saitama. However, due to the sheer size and complexity of this item, it must be reserved in advance and cannot be bought by just popping into a store.

It can also be purchased online from anywhere in Japan, but it’s been so popular that it might take some time before the jumbo shumai arrives on your doorstep. So be sure to plan ahead, because with great shumai comes great responsibility.

Related: Kiyoken
Photos: ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]