Lobster Cantonese

Lobster Cantonese

There was a time when Lobster Cantonese was a staple at my family’s dinner table while I was growing up in the Catskills, but it has fallen out of favor.

My father used to make this Lobster Cantonese in lobster sauce while working at Chinese American restaurants that offered both American and Chinese versions of lobster.

For those who have tried shrimp with lobster sauce, you understand what I mean. That condiment’s name has to come from somewhere.


Prepared using full, live lobsters from Maine, this dish is truly a delicacy. They are then cooked in a silky white sauce of minced pork, aromatics (ginger and scallion), and egg and are served in bite-sized pieces.

Accompany it with some white rice to sop up the sauce and some crisp greens (like choy sum, stir-fried bok choy, or Chinese broccoli) (gai lan). It tastes like nirvana on a dish!

The lobster is “wok-baked” in a shallow fryer for this meal. Because of the powerful wok hei flavor you obtain from flash-frying and high-temperature searing the ginger and scallions in the wok with Shaoxing wine, the Chinese word for this type of flavor is “fragrant,” or xing. People (including myself) can’t stop licking the shells because of the distinctive wok hei flavor it brings out.

Lobster Cantonese, on the other hand, captures the essence of lobster flavor. Imagine contrasting the succulent sweetness of steamed lobster with the dry texture of breadcrumbs on baked lobster. Both are excellent in their own ways.


There was never a “lobster sauce” before this Lobster Cantonese recipe!

Once upon a time (well, I don’t know exactly when), a resourceful Cantonese chef decided to braise chunks of fresh lobster in a flavorful sauce of ground pork and egg. An elegant and delicious sauce is the end result.

People have always enjoyed the meal but haven’t always been able to afford extravagant lobster. Chinese chefs and restaurants came up with shrimp with lobster sauce to capitalize on the demand for a comparable texture and flavor without the high price tag. What happened after that is old news.

Let’s get started on this famous Chinese American lobster meal right away.


  • 4 ounces of ground pork
  • 2 live lobsters (560-680g each)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 scallions (chopped)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons of cornstarch (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons of neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of clear rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper


  1. Cut the live lobsters up into manageable chunks. Get the garlic, ginger, and scallions ready.
  2. The sauce, next, needs to be made. Mix the 2 cups of chicken stock, the sesame oil, the salt, the sugar, and the white pepper in a bowl.
  3. To thicken the sauce, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of chicken stock. If you find you need more thickening, you can produce a reserve slurry by combining the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water in a separate bowl. Stoves and woks might be different sizes, so it’s helpful to have this available.
  4. A bowl and two eggs should be used to make a light egg mixture. You need to separate the yolks from the whites but not completely. A wonderful color contrast is created in the sauce, thanks to this.
  5. Collect some clear rice wine in a bowl. You don’t want your lobster to overcook while you fumble with the rice wine bottle, as this recipe comes together quickly.
  6. Put the pork in a big wok and boil 2 cups of water. Remove any large clumps and continue cooking for another minute or until the pork is no longer pink. Rinse the pork in a fine mesh colander and leave it aside to drain. This method yields a sauce that is free of sediment and cloudiness.
  7. Prepare a medium-heat frying pan by washing and drying your wok. Toss in the minced ginger and oil. Add garlic, ground pork, and lobster when the oil is hot. Cook in a wok for 10-20 seconds. Around the rim of the wok, add the clear rice wine and continue to stir-fry for another 10 seconds.
  8. Give the chicken stock mixture a quick stir, then pour it into the wok. Pile all the lobster pieces in the center of the wok, cover it, and put the heat up to high.
  9. Stir the ingredients together and simmer for 2 minutes or until the lobster shells have colored red. Flip the pieces over to ensure the black shell bits are cooked through and turn red.
  10. Slowly add half of the cornstarch slurry, constantly swirling with the wok spatula, once the lobster has gone mostly red (a few dark areas are alright since you don’t want to overcook the lobster). Allow the liquid to boil and thicken. The consistency should be thick enough to coat a spoon but not sticky. Add extra chicken stock if it thickens too much. A little of the slurry you set aside in case it’s too thin can be added.
  11. Reduce to a low simmer. Gently stir in the barely beaten eggs and the chopped scallions, then let the whole thing boil for about 5 seconds. To ensure the eggs are cooked to perfection, gently mix them into the sauce using a spatula. Place in a shallow serving bowl or on a large plate and serve!

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