You have seen it in most every Chinese Restaurant, small savory and sweet items steamed or fried placed in bamboo baskets. What is actually dim sum?
Dim sum originated with the Cantonese in southern China. The root of dim sum is yum cha, a Cantonese word which literally means "drink tea". Travelers would stop by for snacks at the small tea houses along the streets. The province of Guan Dong is the most famous province that still holds on to yum cha tradition. In Hong Kong and Guan Dong, food is one of the main part of the community. Streets are packed with food vendors and 24 hours restaurants are not a rare sight. Yum cha brunch is a common weekend activity where friends and family gather round at a round table and enjoy steamed or friend Dim sum.
On early days, drinking hot tea during a meal was thought as a contributing factor to weight gain but as it was proved to be otherwise, many vendors started to create more variations of dim sum.
In a typical Dim Sum menu, there are 4 major components: Steamed buns or bao, dumplings, rice noodle rolls and dessert dim sum such as egg tart. Many restaurant also offers porridge or conge, steamed vegetables, roasted meat and soups to complete the menu.
Although originally pork is heavily used as bao and dumpling fillings, due to the wide popularity of dim sum to predominantly Muslim country, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, chicken and seafood are very commonly used.
Ordering dim sun can be a tough task because you want to order all, it comes in small portions, especially when it is a huge menu and you are not familiar with it. Here are few favorites that you will definitely love.
- Cha siu bao: steamed bun with cha siu pork, a Chinese version of BBQ Pork
- Xiaolongbao: steamed dumpling filled with broth and meat, the tasty broth burst out the dumplings when it is bitten.
- Mantao: steamed or fried bun with no filling. This fluffy buns are usually eaten with condensed milk.
- Shu mai or Shomai: steamed dumpling with chopped pork and shrimp as filling. It high end restaurants, the top is garnished with tiny amount of red fish roe or in more affordable restaurants, chopped carrots are used.
- Har gow: steamed dumpling in a shape of sea shell with paper thin see through outer skin with shrimp filling.
- Cheung fan: wide steamed rice noodle with pork filling or no fillings. Eaten with soy sauce.
- Spring roll: this is maybe the most common dim sum items. It can be served fried or fresh with rice noodle wrapper.
- Egg tart: short crust pie with sweet and slightly sticky egg custard.
- Fried wonton: crispy wonton skin with juicy pork and shrimp filling is everyone's favorite.
- Phoenix claw: it is actually three times cooked chicken feet. The chicken feet are cleaned, deep fried, boiled in sauce, and then steamed, resulting a succulent and falling of the bone tasty meat. It may look gnarly for those who are not familiar but it does taste better than it looks.
The list can go on and on for days because dim sum is a variety of great food that is best enjoyed with family and friends. The next time you are in dim sum restaurant, pick a new item from the menu and surprise your taste buds!
Visit Wokmie for an affordable dim sum selections. Check out our daily promotion on our website. Wokmie opens from 11.00 - 23.00