If you are a foodaholic, I’m very sure that you know this quote so well: “People who love to eat are always the best people”. Yes, a real gourmet not only immersed in exquisite taste but also experienced its culture. In this journey, the Finest will tell you part of culinary story which called Dim sum.
“Dim sum” – a direct phonic from the Cantonese which means “Touch the heart” is a type of breakfast dishes served in a traditional brunch tea “Yum cha” . In ancient times, traders crossing the legendary Silk Road which connected the East and the West tent to stop to enjoy tea break in their journey. It leads to the advent of snacks to serve with tea such as dim sum. Nowadays, people see dim sum as the most important part of “Yum cha”.
A tea break with dim sum
One of the most famous dim sum comes from Guangdong and Hong Kong where the dish becomes a ritual family meal, especially for breakfast. This Cantonese cuisine includes a wide range of small and bite-size snacks which can be steamed or deep fried with meat or seafood fillings, easily to distinguish based on its wrap. However, it would be challenges to make a nice shape for the case since the stage of preparing dough. The dough of dumplings is folded to have multiple pleats that traditionally should have seven or more. The more pleats a dumpling has, the more professional it is and the more experienced the chef supposedly is. Below are some different kinds of dim sum.
A wide range of Dim sum
Har gow, the iconic dim sum art, is covered with a layer of wheat and tapioca dough with the shape of a pouch. The translucent and slightly sticky layers with little pinky of prawn after steamed may effectively stimulate all senses of gourmets.
Shiu mai is cylindrical dumplings with minced pork and shrimp above are wrapped by a thin yellow layer of dough. Such dish will be decorated with a tiny orange garnish like a piece of carrot or crab roe in luxury restaurant. Shiu mai is famous by juicy, plump and natural sweet tastes.
Char Siu Bao and Liu Sha Bao are two types of dim sum in which colorful dough are stuffed softly like pillow. The Char Siu Bao is filled by smoky roast pork while the filling of Liu Sha Bao is often hot and smooth flowing custard.
In ancient times, dim sum is a light meal which uses bamboo steamers to keep it warm. Today, in response to diners’ requirements, dim sum can be served all day in breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. In addition, restaurants not only serve dumplings but also a series of dishes such as: vermicelli roll with shrimps or Chinese oil stick, braised chicken feet, bean curd skin roll, pork rib with black bean sauce, congee with century egg, glutinous rice covered by lotus leaf, etc.
Nowadays, Cantonese and international chefs turn dim sum into a culinary art. Besides traditional dumplings, some luxury restaurants create several dumplings with different shapes, using precious ingredients such as salmon or caviar to enhance taste of dishes and suit with local people.
It’s not difficult to find a better way to spend a Sunday morning by tasting dim sum with some tips below:
- Go with family or a group of friends because more people you have, more dishes you share.
- Start with a cup of tea, chicken’s feet, steamed dishes, deep-fried dishes, and then dessert.
- Use chopsticks but don’t spear them, feel free to ask for a fork if you need one.