Crispy Gau Gee

Crispy gau gee is a popular fried dumpling, similar in taste to a fried won ton but different in shape. It wasn't until I began writing this post that I realized that this is one of those Hawaii-only Chinese dishes (like cake noodles) that you rarely find outside of the islands. They are easy to make, don't require any complicated folding methods, and are so tasty. It is surprising that crispy gau gee hasn't made its way beyond Hawaii.

Crispy gau gee

What is crispy gau gee?

Gau gee are simple filled dumplings, folded in a rectangular, and deep fried. They are typically eaten on their own or served with a dipping sauce of soy sauce and Chinese hot mustard. They are eaten as an appetizer or snack or as an accompaniment to a Chinese meal.

The filling is similar to other dumpling fillings - a combination of ground pork, minced shrimp, water chestnuts, green onions, Chinese parsley, and seasonings. As with other dumpling fillings, a binder of egg, breadcrumbs, or cornstarch is not needed. Unlike a meatball, you want the filling well-mixed and homogenous.

If you have been to any local party or potluck, you have probably seen an aluminum tray piled with these fried dumplings. And even if you aren't at a party, you don't have to look far to get some. Most Chinese restaurants in Hawaii have crispy gau gee on the menu (check out Honolulu Magazine's top places to get crispy gau gee).

Crispy gau gee

Forming the gau gee

Wrapping the gau gee is simple - place a slightly heaped tablespoon of filling in the middle of a won ton wrapper and fold into a rectangle, sealing the edges with a little water. You will see that sometimes the edges may come apart a bit during frying - this is okay, it creates more crispy edges to enjoy!

You should fry the gau gee shortly after forming them. If you let them sit too long, the moisture from the filling will seep into the wrapper, causing it to get soggy and tear.

Crispy gau gee

Storing, re-heating, freezing

Gau gee are best eaten fresh. If you have any leftovers, re-heat them in an air fryer or toaster oven to regain the crispiness. Don't re-heat in the microwave.

If you are making a large batch, you can freeze the gau gee before you fry them. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place the gau gee in a single layer, not touching. Place the pan in the freezer until the gau gee are frozen through then transfer to a zip top bag for storage.

Crispy gau gee