Turnip Cake (Lo Bak Go)

  • Author: Joyce | Pups with Chopsticks
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 3-5 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main, Side, Snack
  • Cuisine: Chinese


A traditional turnip cake with a twist! This Chinese turnip cake’s traditional ingredients have been switched up with bacon, aged cheddar, caramelized onions and dried scallops for a creamier, and more full flavoured turnip cake! These are some serious mini flavour bombs!



Turnip & Dried Scallop Preparation

  • 950g Chinese turnip (Daikon Radish), approximately 10 inches in length and 3 inches wide
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 small dried scallops (optional)

Turnip Cake Batter

  • 2 cups and 3 tablespoons rice flour
  • 2 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 cup turnip water (reserved from the turnip)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon miso (white)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

The Rest of the Ingredients

  • 810 strips bacon (or 1 1/2 cup of pancetta) (chopped into small pieces)
  • 2 small onions (sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cup sharp old cheddar (grated)

Garnish (Optional)


Preparing the Turnip &  Dried Scallops

  1. (Optional if you are using dried scallops) Add the dried scallops in a small bowl and cover it with 1/4 cup of hot water. Make sure the scallops are fully immersed in the hot water. Keep it covered to ‘steam’ in the bowl for at least 30 minutes or until soft.
  2.  Peel and remove the ends of the turnip. Cut the turnip into half or thirds to make it easier to cut.
  3. Cut the smaller pieces in half lengthwise so that it can sit flat side down on the cutting board so it doesn’t roll around while you are cutting it. Cut them into thin 2mm slices and the stack them 3-4 slices high and cut across into 2mm matchsticks.
  4. Once the turnip has all been cut, add it to a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of salt and massage it into the turnip. Give it a few good squeezes, you want to work the salt into the turnip to draw out the water and to soften the turnip so that it is pliable in the batter.
  5. Set the turnip aside for 20 minutes and occasionally flip the turnip and massage the salt into it.

Caramelizing the Bacon & Onions

  1. Chop up the bacon into small pieces and slice the onion into thin slices.
  2. In a frying pan set to medium heat, brown and caramelize the bacon and onion together. Once it has been browned and the onion has been caramelized, set it aside.
  3. Grate the cheese and set aside

Making the Turnip Cake Batter & Steaming it

  1. In a large bowl, combine the rice flour, corn starch, sugar, and white pepper.
  2. Pour out 1 cup of turnip water from the turnip and add it into the flour mixture. (If the turnip does not produce 1 cup of water, measure out the turnip water it produces and add water to it until it reaches 1 cup.)
  3. (Optional) If you are using dried scallops, add in the scallop liquid as well. It should be a little less than 1/4 cup of water.
  4. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of water with the miso until it has dissolved. Once the miso has fully dissolved into the water, add it into the bowl
  5. Mix everything together until there are no lumps. The texture should be like a light pancake batter. If the batter is too thick, add in 1 tablespoon of water at a time and mix until it is the right consistency. If the batter is too runny, add in 1 tablespoon of rice flour at a time and mix until it is the right consistency. To check the consistency of the batter, coat the back of a spoon with it and run your finger through it. The line you create should stay intact.
  6. Once you have the batter at the right consistency, add in the turnip, dried scallops (optional), bacon, onions, and cheese and mix everything together. It will look like you don’t have enough batter but as long as everything is well coated with the batter, you should be good 🙂
  7. Oil the pan you are steaming the turnip cake in very well so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. I like to cut out a small piece of parchment paper to place it on the bottom and oil the sides of the pan very well to make sure that the turnip cake cannot stick to the pan.
  8. Steam it in a steamer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  9. Once it is finished steaming, let it cool in room temperature for an hour and then put it in the fridge to let it fully cool before removing it from the pan and cutting it. This is very important because the cheese makes the cake very soft and gooey when it is still warm, so you don’t want to work with it until the cheese has had a chance to harden in the fridge.

Pan Frying the Turnip Cake

  1. Once the turnip cake has had at least 3-4 hours to cool in the fridge remove it from the pan. You might need to run a spatula or knife around the sides of the pan. Then flip the pan upside down and wiggle it out.
  2. Cut the turnip cake into 2 cm cubes, and pan fry it in oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat. (If you have extra bacon fat from browning the bacon, you can use some of that as well with a bit of oil! :)) Pan fry them until they are brown and crispy.
  3. Enjoy immediately. Turnip cake tastes best when it is hot or still warm.


  • IMPORTANT : You must make sure the turnip cake has been cooled in the fridge and and the cheese has had enough time to solidify before cutting it so that the turnip cake can hold it’s shape in the frying pan.
  • If you have some extra bacon fat from caramelizing the bacon, use it to fry up the turnip cakes! 🙂


  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 515 cal
  • Sugar: 13 g
  • Sodium: 1130 mg
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Carbohydrates: 57 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 27 g

Keywords: turnip cake, lo bak go

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