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Gau Gee

Gau Gee is a classic local Hawaii treat. It’s similar to deep fried wontons but is even more delicious! Featuring a savory pork and shrimp filling.

A plate of gau gee, hot from the fryer

Gau Gee

Gau Gee is one of those only-in-Hawaii treats that locals love and people on the mainland have no idea about. You won’t find gau gee at touristy spots in Hawaii, you gotta go where the locals go ^_^

Gau Gee is similar to wonton (they use the same type of wrapper). But gau gee is folded into a simple rectangle or triangle (wontons are folded into more complex shapes) and deep fried!

The filling is extra flavorful and includes pork and shrimp. Some places pack in the filling real good. Some people add bonus items like shiitake mushrooms or Chinese parsley. Gau gee is like wonton, upgraded.

A batch of fresh fried Gau Gee on a plate. A batch of just folded Gau Gee (not yet fried) on another plate.
Plates of fried and waiting to be fried Gau Gee

Gau Gee In Hawaii

Gau gee is on the menu of many local Chinese restaurants around town. It’s a beloved local pupu (appetizer or snack). So good with beer!

You’ll often encounter big trays of gau gee at potluck parties (either homemade or restaurant bought) and family dinners. Everyone loves gau gee.

If you’re in Hawaii, visit these local spots for an order of gau gee. It’ll be fun to compare your homemade version with the restaurant ones!

Below is the gau gee recipe we make at home. It’s a reliable recipe that uses half pork and half shrimp. Just mix the filling, fold the gau gee, and fry. Pretty easy and very rewarding. A definite crowd pleaser.

Ingredients for Gau Gee laid out: ground pork, shrimp, water chestnuts, green onions, garlic, cornstarch, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, and square wonton wrappers
Ingredients for Gau Gee

Ingredients

These are the ingredients you’ll need for gau gee:

Put the filling in the center.

Method

This recipe has three main parts:

Make the filling.
Get a mixing bowl and combine all the ingredients (except for the wonton wrappers). Mix until everything is evenly combined.

I like to use a disposable glove and mix with my hand. Make sure to mix in one direction so that the filling “sticks” to each other nicely.

A plate of folded Gau Gee, waiting to be deep fried.
Fold in simple rectangles.

Form the gau gee.
Put about 2 teaspoons of filling onto a wonton wrapper. Lightly wet the edges and fold to form a rectangle. Repeat until you’ve used up all the wrappers and filling.

Note: some people prefer to form triangle shape, but we usually do rectangle (which seems to be more common). It’s just personal preference.

Deep frying Gau Gee in a small pot of oil
Fry in small batches (so you can better control temperature).

Fry the gau gee.
Once you have all your pieces folded, it’s time to fry! I like the oil at about 350F. It takes about 2 minutes to fry each side, 4 minutes in total.

Drain on a plate lined with a paper towel to help soak up excess oil.

A batch of fresh fried Gau Gee on a plate
Straight from the fryer.

Eat and enjoy!
Gau gee is best hot from the fryer. It’s still tasty at room temperature (which is how we usually enjoy it at potluck parties), but like a doughnut, getting one straight from the fryer is heavenly.

Dipping Sauce

You can eat the gau gee plain or pair it with a dipping sauce. These are the most popular sauce options:

  • Soy sauce mixed with hot mustard
  • Duck sauce
  • Sweet and sour sauce
A single Gau Gee with a bite so that you can see the interior
One bite in, hot, hot, hot ^_^

Similar Recipes

If you like Gau Gee, make sure to try these other popular Hawaii recipes that are similar in taste:

  • Pork Hash – The filling for pork hash is nearly identical to the gau gee filling. Only difference is that pork has filling includes an egg and gau gee does not. Pork hash is stuffed into a round dumpling wrapper (left open-faced) and steamed.
  • Stuffed Tofu – Cubes of tofu are stuffed with a savory ground pork filling and steamed. Simple and elegant, the pork filling is seasoned with oyster sauce, soy sauce, seasme oil, and offers a similar flavor profile to gau gee.
A batch of fresh fried Gau Gee on a plate
Fresh batch!

Tips and Questions

How long does gau gee keep?

They’re best eaten hot and fresh from the fryer! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Leftovers will keep 3-4 days.

How to reheat gau gee?

Reheat in the toaster oven. I heat it for about 5 minutes at 350F.

No air pockets or bubbles.

When you seal the wrappers, try to push out any air pockets/air bubbles. Otherwise the air pocket will puff up when frying and form a big gap between the filling and wrapper. (A small gap is natural, you just want to avoid a giant gap if possible.)

How big to dice the shrimp?

Some people like to dice the shrimp really small, almost minced. We like to do a slightly bigger dice, so that we can really taste the shrimp, so sweet! I like to cut each shrimp into 4-5 pieces.

Don’t want to deep fry?

Gau gee is traditionally fried, but you can also treat it like a wonton or dumpling. Just boil and eat. Real good in a noodle soup.

Leftover filling?

I love having leftover gau gee filling. Sometimes I even make extra filling or buy fewer wonton wrappers so that I’ll have leftover filling!

Use the extra filling to form little patties, about 2-inches in diameter. Panfry both sides until golden brown. Crisp outside, super juicy inside. Eat with rice!

A batch of fresh fried Gau Gee on a plate
Time to eat!

Gau Gee Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

A plate of gau gee, hot from the fryer

Gau Gee

Yield: 32 pieces gau gee
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Gau Gee is a classic Hawaii treat! It is similar to deep fried wontons but is even more delicious. Featuring a savory pork and shrimp filling. Easy to make: mix the filling, fold the gau gee, fry, and eat! A crowd pleaser for sure ^_^

Ingredients

Instructions

    1. Make the filling: mix together all the ingredients (except for the wonton wrappers). 
    2. Lay a wonton wrapper on a flat plate. Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center.
    3. Lightly moisten all four edges and fold the wrapper in half, forming a rectangular pouch. Seal the edges, and make sure to press out any air pockets. Repeat until you've used up all the wonton wrappers and filling.
    4. Deep fry till golden brown. It should take about 2 minutes to fry each side with the oil at 350F. Serve hot!
    5. Eat plain or pair with a dipping sauce. Popular dipping sauce includes soy sauce mixed with hot mustard, duck sauce, or sweet and sour sauce. Enjoy ^_^

Eric

Thursday 4th of February 2021

Tried pork hash and manapua so far, haven't tried gau gee or half moo yet. So far, I like Sing Cheong Yuan's pork hash because it seems to have other ingredients than just pork, closer to siumay than others. I didn't realize that pork hash supposed to be pork only. Anyway, any recommendation for good dim sum? We are planning to go to Tim Ho Wan at Royal Hawaiian just because of the location, but will travel for good food. Thanks!

Kathy

Thursday 4th of February 2021

Aloha Eric! Sounds like you're having a super onolicious visit to Hawaii, love it! Tim Ho Wan is great. Also check out Jade Dynasty (in Ala Moana Shopping Center) and Legend Seafood (in Chinatown). We have a Honolulu dim sum post here - https://onolicioushawaii.com/dim-sum-honolulu/ :) Enjoy! - Kathy

Alan

Monday 30th of November 2020

Yup; gau gees are one of my all time favorites. When I lived in Honolulu and worked nearby, I would always eat my lunch at the old McCully Chop Suey restaurant. My favorite lunch there was three pieces of pork hash and a large plate of deep fried gau gee mein. Now I gotta get my gau gee fix at Wo Fat restaurant in Las Vegas, NV. Even my haole wife loves gau gees too!

Most people think that gau gees are a Hawaii thing. I thought so too since you can never find gau gees outside of Hawaii. But I had a friend who was born and raised in Guangzhou, China who told me that gau gees are a normal, everyday Cantonese dish. When I asked him why you can never find gau gees outside of Hawaii he said he noticed that too, but he said to believe him that gau gees are standard, Cantonese fare. In fact, he invited me to have dinner with his family once and they made gau gees for me to eat! Super delicious and the same stuff that I had always been used to.

Kathy

Monday 30th of November 2020

Hi Alan! Oooh man gau gee mein is da best!! Wow I didn't know about gau gee being a common Cantonese dish...no wonder only the Cantonese restaurants in Hawaii offer it. Thanks for sharing! So much to learn ^_^ - Kathy

JB

Sunday 29th of November 2020

Oh wow, I completely forgot about gau gee until this post! We used to get from Kin Wah on the windward side with my family and if someone brought to a party, they got extra points from everyone.

Thanks for sharing this recipe - never knew that it was so simple to make!!

Kathy

Sunday 29th of November 2020

Ooo so many people seem to love the gau gee from Kin Wah! I still haven't been but it's on my list for sure :) Haha totally get you about the "extra points"...we always knew which uncle/cousin/friend would bring the good stuff! - Kathy

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