Crab Rangoon

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Crab Rangoons
Place of originUnited States
Main ingredientsWonton, cream cheese, crab meat or imitation crab meat, scallions, garlic
Crab Rangoon
Hanyu Pinyinxiè jiǎo
Cantonese Yaleháaih gok
Literal meaningCrab horn
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Hanyu Pinyinzhǎ xiè jiǎo
Cantonese Yaleja háaih gok
Literal meaningFried crab horn
Second alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese仰光
Hanyu Pinyinxiè yǎng guāng
Cantonese Yaleháaih yéuhng gwōng
Literal meaningCrab Rangoon

Crab Rangoon, sometimes called crab puffs,[1] crab rangoon puffs, or cheese wontons,[2] are filled crisp dumpling appetizers[3] served in American Chinese restaurants.[1][2]


The filling is made with a combination of cream cheese, crab meat or imitation crab meat, scallions or onion, garlic, and other flavorings.[3][4][5][6] A small amount of the filling is wrapped in each Chinese wonton wrapper. The dumpling is then shaped by folding the wrapper over into a triangle,[1][3][7][8][9] by creating a four-pointed star,[1][2] by gathering it up into flower or purse shape,[1][5] or by twisting it into the traditional wonton shape.[6]

The appetizers are cooked to crispness by deep-frying in vegetable oil or by baking.[3][4][5] They can be served hot or cold.[3][5] In North America, crab Rangoon is often served with a sauce for dipping: either soy sauce,[6][10] plum sauce,[11] duck sauce,[10][12] sweet and sour sauce,[1][4][7][10] or hot Chinese mustard.[8][13]


Crab Rangoon was on the menu of the "Polynesian-style" restaurant Trader Vic's in San Francisco since at least 1956.[14][15] Although the appetizer is allegedly derived from an authentic Burmese recipe,[16] the dish was probably invented in the United States by Victor Bergeron, founder of Trader Vic's.[17][18] A "Rangoon crab a la Jack" was mentioned as a dish at a Hawaiian-style party in 1952, but without further detail, and so may or may not be the same thing.[19] There is additional evidence that Wayne Schmidt helped commercially develop the dish as a popular appetizer in the Mid-West in the early 1980s.[20]

Though the history of Crab Rangoon is unclear, cream cheese—like other cheese—is mostly nonexistent in Southeast Asian and Chinese cuisine, so it is unlikely that the dish is actually of east or southeast Asian origin.


They may be referred to as crab pillows, crab cheese wontons, or cheese wontons.

In the Pacific Northwest states of the US, crab Rangoon are also known as crab puffs, although this primarily refers to versions that use puff pastry as a wrapper instead of wonton.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f López-Alt, J. Kenji (2011). "Crab Rangoons (Crab Puffs) With Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe". Serious Eats. Serious Eats Inc. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Crab Rangoon (Cream Cheese Wontons)". Rasa Malaysia. Bee Interactive Corp. March 5, 2015. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Parkinson, R.L. (2003). The Everything Chinese Cookbook: From Wonton Soup to Sweet and Sour Chicken-300 Succelent Recipes from the Far East. F+W Media. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-60550-525-1. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Rossiter, M. (2011). Anti-Inflammation Diet For Dummies. Wiley. pp. 178–179. ISBN 978-1-118-14542-5. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Symon, Michael. "Crab Rangoon". The Chew. ABC Television Network. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "CRAB RANGOON". Nasoya Recipes. Nasoya Foods USA, LLC. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  7. ^ a b Batali, Mario. "Crab Rangoon". The Chew. ABC Television Network. Archived from the original on April 27, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Lagasse, Emeril. "Crab Rangoon Pot Stickers With Hot Mustard Sauce". Emeril Lagasse. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  9. ^ Farmer, Brooke. "Healthy Baked Crab Rangoon". Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "Crab Rangoon". weightwatchers. Weight Watchers International, Inc. 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018. Notes: Serve with reduced-sodium soy sauce mixed with chopped scallions or prepared sweet-and-sour or duck sauce, if desired. Just make sure to account for any increase in SmartPoints values.
  11. ^ Menu: Dim Sum, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc., 2017, retrieved April 27, 2018, Hand-Folded Crab Wontons » Creamy crab filling, bell pepper, green onion, spicy plum sauce
  12. ^ Hirsch, J.M. (April 25, 2007). "How to make Crab rangoon — without the deep fry". The Courier. Lee Enterprises, Incorporated. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  13. ^ Lagasse, Emeril. "Hot Mustard Sauce". Emeril Lagasse. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  14. ^ Town & country 110:4405:39
  15. ^ Herb Caen, Herb Caen's guide to San Francisco, 1957, p. 100
  16. ^ Ned Cronin, Los Angeles Times, Jan 16, 1957, p. c3
  17. ^ Carolyn Walkup, "Trader Vic's to resume U.S., foreign expansion" Nation's Restaurant News, March 6, 2006 full text
  18. ^ Nosowitz, Dan (August 14, 2019). "What the Heck Is Crab Rangoon Anyway?". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
  19. ^ Anne Ryan Lesh, "National President Entertained by Engineers Auxiliary", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 24, 1952, p. 5 full text
  20. ^ Coe, Andrew. 2009. Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press.