Chinese Buffet Style Coconut Shrimp (椰子蝦)

If you are looking for the creamier version of Chinese coconut shrimp served in certain buffet restaurants, please check out the Creamy Buffet Style Coconut Shrimp.

As the summer is right around the corner, I, like many fellow New Yorkers, look forward to a vacation somewhere away from the city. Lately I’ve been day-dreaming about an exotic gateway to a tropical island where I will do nothing but relaxing on a white sand beach by a deep blue ocean. When I get tired I will just sit back on a beach chair to sip my mojito and snack on a serving of Chinese buffet style coconut shrimp. That’s right you heard it! My dream specially calls for the Chinese style coconut shrimp which is one of my favorite American Chinese dishes.

Anyway back to reality, I know I won’t be on that white sand beach anytime soon but I’ll probably be as happy to eat this coconut shrimp dish on my couch while I watch my favorite show. I know sometimes I am just too easy to be pleased :)

I was never big on American Chinese food but once upon a time I was a regular patron to Chinese buffet restaurants. As a poor college student, Chinese buffet was my way of getting a satisfying meal on a budget. Although every buffet offers a large selection of dishes, I am rather selective to what goes on to my plates. My main targets are always the seafood especially shellfish and good fish dishes. I also like good stir-fried and barbecued dishes.

Over time, the coconut shrimp emerged as one of the winners. Unlike the traditionally breaded and fried crunchy coconut shrimp, the Chinese style is shrimp in creamy white coconut sauce. If you’ve had it you know this is some serious yummy shrimp I am talking about. If you enjoy a sweet and tropical seafood dish, this will be perfect for you.  Cut back the sugar if you prefer but seriously if you’ve already gone this far why not just finish it all the way :)

P.S. if you dig this coconut shrimp dish you might also like another famous American Chinese classic called Crab Rangoo (cheese wonton)

*Update – due to popular demand, I have posted the second coconut shrimp recipe featuring the sweet and creamy coconut sauce.

[stextbox id=”info” bgcolor=”B2FAEE”]

Chinese Buffet Style Coconut Shrimp – Ingredients

1 lb Medium shrimp
1 small Broccoli
1 cup Coconut cream
2 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Mayonnaise
Shredded coconut
½ cup of bread crumb and 1 tbsp of corn starch, combined

For Shrimp marinade:
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Cooking wine
½ tbsp ground pepper

[stextbox id=”custom”]

Chinese Buffet Style Coconut Shrimp – Step By Step

1. Peel and devein the shrimp. Mix with the marinade and set aside for at least 15 minutes. Can be done ahead of the time.

2. Cut the broccoli into small chunks. Blanch in boiling water until the color starts to shine. About 2 minutes.

3. Slightly cover the shrimp with bread crumb and corn starch mix. Fried over medium heat until the shrimp turns golden outside. About 2-3 minutes. If you don’t want to waste a lot of oil, you can do fry in batches.

4. Remove the excess oil on a paper towel.

5. In a sauce pan, combine the coconut cream and sugar over medium heat. Mix until all sugar dissolves.

6. Add the mayo and fried shrimp. Mix until the shrimp is well glazed. Serve on top of cooked broccoli with a sprinkle of shredded coconut.


PS: I notice that there are different versions of this Chinese buffet style coconut shrimp but this is the version I enjoy the most. You can also substitute the shrimp with Chicken to make a coconut chicken dish.

If you also enjoy Chinese buffet please share your favorite buffet dish.


  1. Your Coconut Buffet Style Coconut Shrimp can I use coconut milk or does it did to be coconut cream

  2. can I use coconut milk or it have to be cream for my coconut shrimp

  3. Pingback: Buffet Style Coconut Shrimp |

  4. Hi! I’m about to make this recipe for the first time. I was doing some reading because I sent the hubby to get me the broccoli, coconut cream and shrimp. He brought home Cream of Coconut which he said the grocer found in the liquor aisle. After reading up on it a bit… it seems as though the difference between coconut cream and cream of coconut is that one is unsweetened (coconut cream) and one has lots of sugar (cream of coconut) hence why one is found in the liquor aisle (used in mixed drinks). He said he couldn’t fiND coconut cream. I’m gonna try this recipe with what he bought, but I’d like to know if there’s a difference so I can try it again with the right stuff. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi There, thanks for reaching out to me. From my memory, aside from being sweet, cream of coconut is not as strong as coconut cream so you might need to use a little more than what my recipe indicated. Also since cream of coconut is sweet, I’d not put in any sugar before tasting it. I hope this helps.

  5. I have been looking everywhere for this recipe. I had this dish at a buffet once and have never been able to find it since. Thank you so much.

  6. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find the majority of your post’s to be
    what precisely I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content for you personally?
    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write about here.
    Again, awesome website!

  7. Thanks, Yi, for directing me to this recipe! I will try it and let you know what I think. The big surprise is the mayo. In my many attempts to duplicate the buffet style sauce, I never thought of mayo. Interesting!

    • Hi Connie, yes the mayo is definitely an unusual ingredient in Chinese cooking. Please let me know how it turned out. Thanks .

  8. Well Today i tried to cook this and i love it! its second best to the one down my road! (because I messed up on a few things)

    • hello Jennifer, thank you so much for the feedback. I am glad to hear that you liked the recipe and the dish came out as a runner-up :)

  9. Hi, I’m looking for two recipes found on the buffets the honey walnut chicken with the creamy sauce, and the other is mussels with the white cream sauce on them


  10. Hi, I’m looking for two recipes found on the buffets the honey wallet chicken with the creamy sauce, and the other is mussels with the white cream sauce on them


  11. Ukeupaymi uuopiil rooraqao: Aerosolgrafia aeeiho xiakeruad.

  12. I used this same recipe but substituded chicken for shrimp (only because that’s what I had in the house). It was fantastic. Thanks!!!

  13. Hi Yi,
    Yes, I am talking about the crispy fried shrimp coated with salt and pepper. Yes me too.

    Thank you!

  14. Hi Yi,
    I really enjoyed following and making your recipe today. Thank you so much for this. However I was wondering could you post how to make the chinese buffet salt and pepper shrimp? I’ve tried to follow other people recipes but it never turned out well. Thanks

    • The salt and pepper shrimp is also one of my favorites. Just to be sure, you are talking about the crispy fried shrimp coated with salt and pepper right? When I go to a buffet, I like to suck the flavor from the shell and then get to the meat…so good!!

  15. I love your website and I love this recipe! I tried it out today and it was delicious and surprisingly easy. Thank you! Keep the great recipe coming…

    • Hello Lanel, I am so glad that the recipe turned out good. Thanks for your kind feedback. I think you might also like the creamier version of coconut shrimp I posted on the site!

    • No problem..I have tried other ASian websites but you are the best one by far. Okay I will try it next time I cook the coconut shrimp. Thank you for providing me with both options.

  16. Can I sub the coconut cream for coconut milk? I accidentally picked a can of the milk from the store the other day.

    • Hey Iris, yes you can use coconut milk instead. I would use more of the coconut milk than mentioned in the recipe since coconut milk is not as strong as the coconut cream. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks.

  17. I’m 19 and can’t get cooking wine. What other substitutes can i use?

    • hi Kikyo, i don’t think there is an age restriction on purchasing cooking wine. You should be able to get it easily in any local supermarkets.

  18. Pingback: Creamy Coconut Shrimp Buffet Style | Yi Reservation

  19. Hi again. I had asked you about the other shrimp in sauce recipe as others have and am waiting patiently. I assume that you have been very busy with other things, so I feel kind of guilty in asking for another recipe on top of that one. So if you can’t do it I understand. If you do have time, I could use a good recipe for Potstickers. My family loves these and I buy them out of the frozen foods section so I know a homemade version would be 100 times better! Also I feel dumb asking this but what do people mean when the say Dim Sum? I appreciate everything that you do so I hope you keep the recipes coming…
    Thanks again,
    Dawn D

    • hi Dawn, thanks for your request. I make potstickers or dumplings in general whenever i have time. I do agree that the homemade verion is better than the store bought (at leaset it’s MSG free). I will post the recipe shortly. Thanks for the patience.

  20. Hi there. I like the sound of your coconut shrimp but I too, am looking for the recipe for the shrimp in a creamy white sauce also found on buffets. It is not really sweet but is a little sweet. On the buffet that I go to they call is Sour Cream Shrimp, but it sure does not even have a hint of a taste of sour cream. I noticed some other readers also asked about it and you said you would be posting the recipe. I have looked for it but do not see it on your site yet. Are you still going to post it? Oh and by the way I just love your site, everything sounds so delicious!

    • hi Dawn i’ll post the saucy version soon. Sorry been a little busy lately. Will be back with updates soon.

    • Sorry u are so busy, but I know I asked about this months ago!!!! Come on, so many of us are waiting and waiting for your wisdom here. lol

    • hi kajern, i apologize for keeping you waiting. I promise i’ll post the recipe sometime this month. Please check back soon.

    • Hi kajern, i figure you’d be happy to hear this. I have finally posted the second recipe on coconut shrimp. Please check out the new post and let me know if this is what you’ve been looking for. Thanks for your patience.

    • hi kajern, just would like to follow up to see if you have had a chance to try the cream style coconut shrimp recipe I posted recently. I also post a youtube video in the recipe so hopefully it would be a little more helpful. Would love to hear your feedback :)

    • Hi Dawn, I posted the creamy coconut shrimp that might be the recipe you are looking for. Please check it out and let me know. Thanks.

  21. I am looking for the Shrimp that is smothered in the white creamy sauce that they have at the buffet and the shrimp is like the one above but the sauce isn’t as white and creamy as the one I like, I’ve tried to ask what the recipe is but no one will answer me.

    • Hi Kimberly, thanks for stopping by. The recipe you are looking for is a popular request so I will post a full recipe shortly. Please stay in tuned.

    • I’m looking for that recipe too . . . my kids LOVE it! In the meantime, I’m excited to try this one!!

  22. Well… those didn’t last long! They turned out just dandy :)
    I see what Sandra was talking about. It seems it should be dumpling like and whole shrimp was used in the dry version I have seen. Either way this was great. My sauce was a bit runny and I added corn starch to give it more body. Only I added too much but wound up with a yummy coconut dip or glaze to use.

    I must say that it took supreme willpower not to stop at the battered stage – Salt & Pepper Shrimp! The light breading was perfect. I am gonna do this with chicken bits using the marinade and bread crumb mix and wok them with diced onions.

    I used a white Zinfandel wine I like drinking called Blue Heron. It makes a great all-purpose cooking wine for seafood, beef and mushroom dishes like Stroganoff. It’s about $5-$7 at Meijers.

    Yi, you have opened up new cooking avenues for me with these recipes and I thank you sincerely. Wish me luck on my next goal – Fried Rice.

    • Ooops.

      I made a boo boo and got my wines mixed up.

      Blue Heron is my table wine.

      Beringer is my cooking wine.

    • hi Grebbler, thanks a lot for your feedback. I am glad that you enjoyed making this dish home.
      I like the idea of making a coconut chicken dish. It will taste just as good as the shrimp!
      I would love to hear more after you’ve done the fired rice.:) Thanks again!

  23. YES YES YES!!! I LOVE coconut shrimp! Excited to try this recipe! Always ordering it! So excited I found this on pinterest!!! Eeeeekk!!! Can’t wait! Thanks!

    • hey Hayley, thanks for your visit. I am glad you like this coconut shrimp dish. Please let me know how it comes out!

  24. Pingback: Crab Rangoon (Cheese Wonton) | 炸蟹角 | Yi Reservation

  25. I was looking for and I think another person above maybe the same thing.. from a chinese buffet is similar to this but the shrimp is minced and its in sort of a dumpling and its fried alittle but not to much and then the coconut cream sause is over top of the dumpling. I would like to have know how to make that. I’ve searched the web but cant seem to find the right recipe. I dont have a picture of it but just know the shrimp is minced and it might have onions in it or other things and its inside a dumpling and lightly deep fried. It might be similar to dim sum but the dumpling has coconut sauce. They call it coconut shrimp at the buffet place and its not the general coconut shrimp you see with the whole shrimp.
    Ok found this link: They look like that but with the coconut sause.

    • Hi Sandra, thanks for stopping by and providing the picture. Is the dumpling wrapper thick like the cheese wonton (crab rangoon)? It sounds to me it’s a shrimp dumpling (or wonton) coated in sweet coconut sauce. If that’s the case I will be interested in re-creating this dish and share it here :)

  26. Ni hao Yi, I have been looking for a recipe for something that we eat when we go do Chinese. The ingredients are, “Mock crab, onions, celery, some kind of cream sauce and topped off with mozzarella cheese” and it”s baked.
    I’m hopping you can help me find the recipe.
    We are trying out your recipe for coconut shrimp next week. we think that is soooo yummmy. :O)
    Thanks for your help.
    Zi Jian Jeanie

    • Hello Jeanie, thank you for visiting my blog. From your description, I get an idea of the dish you are looking for. Is the cheese on top of shell fish (ie clam and mussel)? The baked stuffed clam/mussel dish I see at the local Chinese buffet fits the description. I’d love to post a recipe if you give a little more detail. Thanks.

    • Thank you for replying to my question. No the dish I’m talking about only has mock crab, onoins, celery and a cream sauce with mozzarella cheese on top.
      But thanks for the time. :O)
      Tomorrow is the day we try your coconut shrimp. :O)

  27. Hi- what type of cooking wine do you suggest using?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Karen, thanks for your visit. I’d say any Chinese cooking wine would work. The brand I normally use is called Shaoxing Wine and it looks like this. Alternatively, you can also use any cooking wine from your local grocery stores. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks.

    • I always use a dry sherry to cook Chinese food. It is very tasty and imparts a richness that light wines like White Zin and Pino Grigio never can! You’ll find the sherry (I use any New York State version) in the fortified wine section along with Port and Marsala.

      BTW, I’ve made the creamy version of the coconut shrimp without the mayo, and it is pretty close. I also make it with chicken when the budget is tight. I prefer to dredge the egg-white-dipped meat with cornstarch and coconut flakes and deep fry it just before serving, so it’s nice and hot. Then I plunge it into that creamy sauce and serve over rice. The combination of the crunchy and the smooth sweet sauce is a texture party in your mouth made in heaven! Tides me over until I can go down to Florida and eat at the Chinese buffet in Naples again!

  28. Hi Yi! Im new to cooking and your site helped me alot. I made about 4 dishes already and all are deliciousss!! :) Thank you so much for sharing your recipes! :)

  29. My favorite is fried tofu with back bean sauce! Yum :))

  30. Iv been searching for two days for a good recipe of the creamy coconut shrimp almost like this but is was tempura fried, and alot thicker than these. I really wish I knew how to make it that way can you help!

    • Hi Heather, here are quite some variations in this dish. From your description, I’d say the shrimp is first batterd in a tempura batter which I am sure you’ll find plenty of recipes on the internet. As for the sauce, I know some places mix coconut milk with sugar and some custard powder to form that thick sauce. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  31. just the recepe i have been looking for the coconut shrimp at the buffet is out of this world thank you so much

    • Thanks for your visit Cristy. I hope you’ll enjoy this homemade version as well:)

    • i bought the coconut CREAM in the can at the oriental store in flint. gal there said she knew nothing about it cause she is Korean. I really want to make this myself at home. I have been saving it until I get the recipe. My adult son opened it. Grrrrrr. Now it is sitting in the fridge waiting. I tried it with some fish sticks and it is a good flavor, but i want the shrimp like at Fortune Buffet. Any ideas? It is just really creamy looking, sweet, not tempura, not breaded

    • Hi kajern, from your description this dish sounds like one of the variations to make Chinese creamy coconut shirmp. I found a picture of what I think the right dish. Could you please let me know if this is what you are looking for: thanks

    • it looks similar but it seems to be more colorful in your pic. do u have this recipe?

    • that is the picture of the recipe i wanted can you get the receipe for the one that you showed the pic on looks creamy and like the one in the buffet restaurant seems like sweet and honey coconut flavor,, thnks

  32. how do u make the crab ragoon they serve on the buffet

  33. I’ve been looking for this recipe for a while now. This has been a favorite dish of mine when going to buffets! Thank you so much. I will definitely try this at home tonight :-)

  34. hi wanted to ask is coconut milk the same as the cream because thats what i found and if not can you subsitute it for the cream thank you

    • Hello Kat, the answer is yes for the most part. However I’ve seen some coconut beverage labelled as coconut milk from time to time. The right one normally comes in a tin can. Hope this helps.

    • yes i have the coconut milk blue can lol found it in walmart i did see cream in the coconut isle but it was very expensive compared to the milk i thought could add a little dash of cornstarch to make it thicker …thank you for your reply love your site and i will be coming back alot


    • You are very welcome Kat it’s my pleasure.

    • You can substitute the coconut miilk for the cream, but if you need the mixture to be thicker, just add the stuff used to thicken, not flour, but….cant think of the word now.

  35. Thanks for sharing this. This is my favorite Chinese buffet treat, especially when eaten with a side of pickled ginger!

    • Hi Stephanie, I am glad that you enjoy this dish. Never had pickled ginger with this dish before but it sounds fantastic!

  36. that looks good i would eat that maybe today thanks

  37. hi i was wanting to ask how do they make the creamy like coconut shrimp and fried ragoons thats my favorite foods.

    • Hi Kevin, to make the creamy version of the coconut shrimp, please use 3 times of the coconut cream and sugar plus 2 times of the mayonnaise. Can also use some corn starch to thicken the sauce.
      Regarding the fried ragoons, the stuffing is basically made of crab meat (mostly imitation crab meat) and cream cheese plus a few other things. I can put up a full recipe if you would like to know all the steps. Thanks for your visit!

    • At local Korean grocery, I found both coconut milk in the can and also coconut thick like cream, like an extract that is very thick, yes, more expensive, but it is the real deal. There is a big difference, trust me! It doesn’t take much of the thick type.

    • yes, will u put up the recipe

    • complete recipe for the coconut shrimp please?

    • still waiting for the exact recipe for the crab ragoon……………or is it rangoon?

    • hi Kajern, the recipe is on the way!

    • Hi kajern thought you’d be interested to check the crab rangoon recipe I just posted on my site. Hope you find it helpful!

    • Ok Thank’s alot and yeah i would like the recipe for the ragoons when i get some from the restaurant the take up most of the carry out box they give you…

    • You are welcome. Will post it shortly!

    • I also want the white creamy coconut shrimp rice balls that I have had at Fortune Buffet here in Flint. So delicate flavor, sweet like a dessert (very addictive). How can we get the recipe for those?

    • Hi Kajern, thanks for your visit. Do you have a picture of the white creamy coconut shrimp rice balls you had? Is it steamed or fried? I’d love to post a recipe if I know see what it is. Thanks!

    • either one will do. i will try both to see which one it is. i know it is very sweet like a dessert.

    • i think it is fried. it is very sweet and soft and tastes desserty. do u know how to make it? No, i wish I did have a pic. I wonder how the restaurant would feel if i went and took a pic while i am there eating? lol

  38. Thank you so very much! I’ve tried to find this recipe forever!

  39. Me and My family love chinese buffet style coconut chicken. We also love the sugar biscuits you can get on the chinese buffet.

    • Hello Rebecca, thanks for stopping by. Regarding the sugar biscuits are you referring to the Chinese donuts? I love these fluffy Chinese donuts as well. They are soft and just have the right amount of sweetness.

  40. want to make coconut chicken is the sauce made like the one for the shrimp

    • Yes absolutely! Might need to add more coconut cream since chicken has less flavor than shrimp. Please let me know how it comes out!

  41. Coconut shrimp is a big weakness for me so I try to save it for restaurants only, but this looks so good I may have to try it. I found crab legs at a Chinese buffet the other day, so I ate a ton of those. I usually find my way to the crab rangoons, egg roll, sometimes sesame or sweet and sour chicken, fried rice… whatever looks good. I’m happy that I found this site today so I can try some more authentic recipes, and best of all, make them at home!

    • I am glad that you like the recipes here. As always please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions, and questions here!

  42. The recipe looks great but im looking for the one thats creamy fried shrimp in cocanut sause its got some peas in it and i thinl tiny carrots.

    • Hello Kim,
      I believe you are talking about the saucy version served in some Chinese restaurants.

      To cook that you will need to first fry the shrimp and cook the chopped carrots and peas separately. For the creamy sauce you’ll need 3 times of the coconut cream and sugar plus 2 times of the mayonnaise. Mix everything together and thicken it with corn starch at the end.

      Please let me know if this helps!

    • That sounds like the one I was looking for.I will let ya know how it turns out in a couple days.Thankyou so much for your help.

    • Please do. I’d love to hear your feed back!

    • When adding frozen peas to chinese recipe, do NOT COOK THEM, just add them at the last minute to the pan or wok, stir them in and the heat of the dish will do the trick. Amazing is how little oil is actually needed, even for fried rice. I use no salt in my recipes, but I do have plenty of flavor. I use ginger, garlic fresh or powdered, onion fresh and powdered or flaked, pepper flakes, lemon or lime, sometimes even orange zest, and i do love a touch of sesame oil along with sesame seeds.

    • I totally agree, the frozen peas /beans get cooked so quickly you really just want to toss them to the pan for a few stirs.

  43. Where do you get the coconut cream? This is my favorite dish at the buffet!

    • Hi Christine, coconut cream can be found in all major grocery stores – at the international foods section. You can also find it in all Asian supermarkets. Alternatively, you can also order it online. Please let me know how it comes out!

  44. Pingback: Braised Eggplant in Sweet Bean Sauce - Step by Step | Yi Reservation

  45. this is one of my fav gringo chinese dish too!! (altho ive managed to exercise some self control and haven’t ordered this for ages coz of high cholesterol). the version ive tried doesn’t use coconut milk but just loads of mayo plus chunky pineapple pieces…YUM!!!

    • Yup I’ve had the version with pineapple as well. I have cut down the amount of mayo for health reason but I agree the creaminess you get at a restaurant is mostly from mayo and heavy cream (which I subbed with coconut cream)

  46. OMG I’ve been looking for this recipe for the longest time!! I LOVE coconut shrimp and I pig out on it every time I go to the buffet restaurants in my area.
    Thanks and I will be sure to try it out.

    • My pleasure Fiona. Please let me know how it comes out.

    • Problem I have when making coconut shrimp is that I like to use placo (sp) breading but it wont stick to the shrimp even though I did follow the rules and dish an egg wash to put the shrimp (or fish) in first, then into the breading flakes. When I put it in the deep fryer, all the breading came off. What did I do wrong? I know that it will work if I use mayonaise to make it stick, but I get sick from that.

    • One suggestion I have is after you coat the bread crumb, don’t fry it right away. Let it site for 10 minutes so the bread crumb would be stuck to the shrimp or fish.

      Also make sure the oil is at the right temperature. When the oil is not hot enough the bread crumb flakes tend to come off. I always wait until the oil starts to release smoke.

      Hope this helps.

    • ty for telling me that. appreciate your help and your recipes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *