I know this dish, law bock gow or turnip cake, is traditionally served on New Year's Day, but since I can find it all year round in dim sum houses, I help myself to a slice or two whenever I get the hankering.
And since I've discovered a place on Clement Street in San Francisco called Wing Lee Bakery that makes the most ethereal turnip cake, I get the hankering often.
I'm really no expert on dim sum, but this version is more tender, pudding-like, than the usual rubbery slabs I've enjoyed (and I do mean enjoyed).
For the uninitiated, turnip cake is made from Chinese turnips, which resemble Japanese daikon but are not the same. The cooked turnip is mixed with rice flour, some of the turnip-cooking liquid, dried Chinese mushrooms, Chinese bacon and dried shrimp, and then steamed in a cake pan for about an hour. When the cake is set, it's allowed to cool and then refrigerated.
At yummy time, the cake is sliced into flat squares like the one you see here, and fried briefly until golden, and then served with oyster sauce or soy sauce.
If your first reaction to this is, "I don't even like turnips, so why would I try that?" then I should warn you that these savory-tinged-with-sweet little bits of heart's delight are, admittedly, a little stinky. And I should probably just let you off the hook.
But every person I've managed to persuade to try them has become — well, hooked.