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.
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.
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.
These are the ingredients you'll need for gau gee:
- Ground pork
- Water chestnuts
- Green onions
- Soy sauce
- Oyster sauce
- Sesame oil
- White pepper
- Square wonton wrappers
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Tips and Questions
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.
Reheat in the toaster oven. I heat it for about 5 minutes at 350F.
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.)
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.
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.
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!
Gau Gee Recipe
See below and enjoy ^_^
- ½ pound ground pork
- ½ pound shrimp, peeled and diced
- ½ of an 8 ounce can (about 8 pieces) water chestnuts, diced
- 2 stalks green onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 32 square wonton wrappers
- Make the filling: mix together all the ingredients (except for the wonton wrappers).
- Lay a wonton wrapper on a flat plate. Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center.
- 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.
- Deep fry till golden brown. It should take about 2 minutes to fry each side with the oil at 350F. Serve hot!
- 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 ^_^