Chinese Dim Sum

 By: Jamie S Hanson
Many people have heard of the words Chinese Dim Sum, but do you know what it is? The word "dim sum" is derived from Cantonese language which literally means "dot the heart". It is a meal usually eaten during breakfast, brunch or tea consists of a mix of an assortment of Chinese snacks and appetizers in small portions served in plates or steamer basket. Dim sum can be steamed, deep-fried or baked.

The classic dim sum meal generally comprise of various buns such as the cha siu bao (BBQ Pork Buns) or lotus bean paste buns, dumplings and rice noodle rolls or cheong fun. Inside these dumplings and noodle rolls are an assortment of chicken, pork, prawn and beef. Two very popular dim sum dumplings are siu mai and har gaw. However, if you are vegetarian, you can get it with vegetarian stuffing too. Other than these, you can also find various other dishes like congee porridge, lotus-leaf wrapped sticky rice chicken feet or pork ribs in black bean sauce, steamed vegetables, chow mein, roasted meats, egg tarts and soups.

Dim sum dining, also known as "yam cha", basically means "drinking tea". This is due to the fact that tea usually accompanies dim sum dishes. A couple of the most common teas that are served in a dim sum restaurant are oolong also called wu lung, Chrysanthemum, and green tea. Another tea which you may find which is normally reputed to help digestion is bolay, which is a type of strong tea.

It is a Chinese custom to pour tea for other people before pouring your own cup of tea. The recipient may say thank you to the one who pours the tea by tapping his/her index finger several times next to the cup if you are a single or using both the middle and index fingers if you're married. The tapping technique symbolizes bowing to them with thanks. This is done to save time in loud or lively dim sum houses as the person might be chatting or eating when the host is serving their tea. To attract the waiter's attention, the gesture is to leave the lid off from the tea-pot.

It is a tradition to get dim sum family style as they come in a small portion of two or four pieces in one dish. Ordering dim sum family style enables every family member to share and enjoy many varieties of food. You may order a couple of plates for a particular dish if one plate is not enough for everyone in the table to sample it.

In a dim sum restaurant, you can either order from a menu or in some restaurants, dim sum is served by a server going around the restaurant by using a wheel cart. The price of dim sum dishes may vary. There are those that calculate the total by the number and size or even at times by the color of the dishes that are left on the eaters table. There are also those that record the dishes served on a bill at the table. This is a neater method and prevents patrons from hiding or stealing the plates in an attempt to cheat. In some restaurants, to record the amount of sales made by a particular server, each of the servers uses a unique stamp on the bill.

The varieties of dim sum are endless. Some of my favorites are deep fried taro cake, mango pudding, steamed scallop dumpling, fried beancurd rolls with shrimps and stuffed eggplant. Make sure you try them!
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Article Tags: chinese recipes, recipes

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