TV Shows & Podcasts

Make Shrimp Toast, Hong Kong's Crispiest Snack 蝦多士

Learn to make this British-Chinese fusion favorite from the latest episode of Hunger Pangs.

Published Aug. 30, 2023.

There’s Cantonese food, and then there’s Hong Kong food.

For a century and a half, until 1997, Hong Kong was under British colonial rule. The result, gastronomically, was Chinese and British ingredients mishmashed and coalesced into a fascinating fusion.

Shrimp toast is one such example. White sandwich bread gets smeared with a puree of shrimp and speckled with sesame seeds, and then it is deep-fried until it becomes crispy, golden finger sandwiches.


A Very Chinese Cookbook

Equally happy cooking American Chinese takeout or Sichuan banquet fare, James Beard Award- winning writer Kevin Pang and his father Jeffrey offer a wide-ranging and affectionately irreverent look at Chinese cooking. Featuring over 100 recipes from America's Test Kitchen!

That’s why we entrusted British-born test cook Joe Gitter with developing this recipe, and he says this version (he calls them “sesame prawn toast”) tastes exactly like the shrimp toast he grew up eating in London. The funny thing? We can say the very same from growing up in Hong Kong. 

You'll find this recipe in A Very Chinese Cookbook (out October 24, 2023) and demonstrated on the latest episode of Hunger Pangs.

Shrimp Toast 蝦多士 (aka Sesame Prawn Toast)

Serves: 6-8 Total Time: 1 hour

  • 1 pound shrimp (any size), peeled, deveined, and tails removed, divided
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • Pinch white pepper
  • 6 slices hearty white sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 quarts peanut or vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin 

1. Finely chop half of shrimp. Cut remaining shrimp into ½-inch pieces. Using wooden spoon or 4 bundled chopsticks, vigorously stir all of shrimp, egg white, ginger, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in bowl until mixture tightens and becomes very sticky, about 3 minutes.

2. Remove crusts from bread and trim slices to measure roughly 3½ inches square. Spread shrimp mixture evenly over 1 side of each bread slice, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, pressing gently to adhere. (Coated bread can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

3. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet and line half of rack with triple layer of paper towels. Add oil to 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or large Dutch oven until it measures about 1½ inches deep and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Using spider skimmer or slotted spoon, carefully lower 3 slices of bread, shrimp side down, to hot oil and cook until edges of bread are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Adjust burner, if necessary, to maintain oil temperature between 325 and 350 degrees. Using tongs, flip toasts and continue to cook until bread is uniformly golden brown, 30 to 45 seconds.

4. Using spider skimmer, transfer toasts shrimp side up to paper towel–lined side of rack. Let drain for 1 minute, then move to unlined side of rack. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining toasts. (Before cooking second batch, line rack with fresh paper towels.) Let toasts cool for 5 minutes. Halve toasts diagonally and transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle with scallions and serve. 

Note: Serve with Miracle Whip, Worcestershire sauce, or plum sauce. 

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