Know Your Dim Sum

We all love Chinese Food and Dim Sum (A Chinese light meal or brunch served with Chinese tea and typically eaten some time from morning to early afternoon) is surely a favorite among everyone.

Dim sum originated with the Cantonese in Southern China and is historically linked to the older tradition of Yum Cha (drinking tea) where small road side establishments served tea and snacks to weary travelers on the ancient Silk Route.

Over the centuries, dim sum has evolved from a secondary snack into a national cuisine in mainland China where families get together on weekend mornings to enjoy a dim sums meal.

In fact, the popular character Master Po from the Kung Fu Panda series, gorged on Dim sums whenever he got upset and wins over Master Shifu during a chopstick-sparring match over dumplings

Dim sum is available in many varieties such as dumplings, rolls, cakes and wraps. They are steamed, braised, deep fried and baked. Dim sums are mostly savory but sweet varieties also available and it is also customary to dip the dim sum in sauces such as soy sauce, sesame oil, chili sauce or chili oil, vinegar.

Confused already?? Don’t worry, Wicked Spoon Confessions lists the more popular types to make ordering easy or rather increase the odds of getting something you will actually want to eat next time you visit a specialty Chinese restaurant :)

Lo mai gai (sticky rice):

Lo mai gai is a classic dim sum served during yum cha hours. It is a steamed rice dumpling filled with chicken, mushrooms, Chinese sausage and scallions which is then wrapped in a banana or lotus leaf.

Ngao yuk kau (steamed meatballs):

Minced meat and scallions are wrapped in a bed of tofu skin and then steamed and flavored with soy and Worcestershire sauce or sometimes oyster sauce.

Bao (bread buns):

Bao are wheat flour bread either steamed or baked and glazed with honey or sugar and typically filled with barbecue pork (char siu).

Jin deui (sesame ball):

Jin deui is a dessert dim sum.  It is made from glutinuous rice flour coated with sesame seeds on the outside and stuffed with sweet red bean paste and deep fried.

Pei guen (tofu skin roll):

Thin tofu skin is used to wrap Chicken or pork, Chinese mushrooms and bamboo shoots and then steamed.

Fun gor (steamed dumplings):

Fun gor are thick skinned dumplings generally filled with chopped pork, chives, shiitake and other light ingredients. These dim sum are usually shaped as half moons but also be formed into shapes like stingrays or rabbits for special occasions and banquets.

Har gow (prawn dumpling):

Har gow is made of shrimp and also some tiny bits of pork and bamboo shoots wrapped in a thin translucent skin. This dim sum is decorated with distinctive delicate pleats.

Siu mai (pork dumpling):

Siu mai is made of pork or shrimp or a combination of the two in a cup shaped thin wrap open at the top and garnished with Chinese ham, cooked or salted egg yolks, whole peas, or chopped shrimp in the center of the filling.

So folks familiarize yourselves with these popular Dim sum and order with confidence during your next visit to a Chinese Restaurant.

Image Courtesy: Flickr Creative Commons


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