Cooking Chinese Without MSG

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - June 21, 2006
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MSG has been blamed for migraine headaches, balance difficulties, shortness of breath, asthma attacks, heart irregularities and arthritis. It is because of reports of adverse reactions in people who have eaten foods that contain MSG that makes it one of the most extensively researched substances in the food supply.

When Li May Tang hired Chih-Chieh Chang to be her executive chef at Shanghai Bistro, she told him that she wanted him to develop recipes alongside her so they would have signature cuisine, and not use any MSG. To the delight of food lovers, their collaboration has resulted in a delicious partnership.

Born in the south of Taiwan, Chef Chang (known by his nickname of Shaio) moved to Gao Xiong City and was involved with his family’s restaurant business making Taiwanese-style dishes and shabu shabu since the age of 13. He worked in numerous restaurants in his native country before immigrating to Hawaii, where he also worked at many well-known restaurants, including King Tsin, China Garden Seafood and Hanaki in Manoa,

It has been with Li May, however, that he has made his mark on the culinary scene, catering to governmental VIPs, artistic headliners, corporate leaders, and others who flock to the beautiful restaurant in Discovery Bay to enjoy the dim sum and delicious creations.

Chef Chang is also known for his carvings, using fruits, vegetables, butter, and ice; his fabulous desserts and miniature animals also delight children and people of all ages.

Shanghai Bistro will be showcased at the Taste of Honolulu June 23-25 so folks can sample Chef Chang’s creations; none of which ever includes any MSG.

Here’s a dim sum recipe from Chef Chang that can dazzle your guests when you make it at home.


(Recipe courtesy of Shanghai Bistro)


* 5 oz. shrimp (shell off)
* 5 oz. scallops
* 1/4 cup green onion (diced)
* 2 tbsp. sesame oil
* 1 tbsp. ground ginger
* 1 tbsp. shoyu
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* Dash white pepper
* Dash wine
* 2 tbsp. celery (diced)
* 1 tbsp. carrot (diced)
* 15 shui mai wrappers

Wash shrimp, drain, and use paper towel to absorb the reminding water. Then chop the shrimp into small pieces.

Wash scallops, drain, and use paper towel to absorb the reminding water. Then chop the scallops into small pieces.

Mix shrimp and scallops in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix well.

Spoon 2 tsp. mixture in the middle of a shui mai wrapper,, fold all sides up and keep middle exposed.

Steam 6 minutes.

Makes 15 pieces.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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