Dim Sum originated in China many hundreds of years ago. According to some sources the first Dim Sum was made 2,500 years ago, as evident in the poetry and music of that time. Dim sum is a traditional Chinese meal made up of small plates of dumplings and other snack dishes and is usually accompanied by tea. Dim sum is believed to have originated in the southern China’s Guangdong region before eventually making their way to Hong Kong. It seems that it is in small portion but you will feel full after 4-5 dishes of dim sum.
1. Steamed food
It is the most commonly seen dishes when we are talking about dim sum. All of the steamed foods are served in those bamboo steamers. Here are some of the representatives.
It is a simple steamed shrimp dumpling but it is not that easy to make it tastes good. The wrapper must be chewy and translucent so that you can actually see the ingredients inside. The main ingredients for the filling consist of shrimps, bamboo shoot, and pork fat. It also tastes good if you eat it together with chili oil.
It is actually one kind of dumplings too. The main ingredients for the filling are mushrooms, pork. Putting these filling into the wonton wrappers which are always in yellow color make the Shu Mai finish. For most of the tea house, the chef will also put fish roe or minced carrot on it for decoration. Sometimes there are also kinds of Shu Mai that are decorated by other food like shrimp or Scallop.
Chicken feet with black bean source
It is a small bowl full of chewy cartilage, skin and bones. They are deep fried, braised and then steamed until the meat and skin are very soft. It may not sound good but it is actually something that are sweet and spicy and make you cannot stop eating them. Actually chicken foot itself is highly nutritious. But the black bean source which is less health makes them become mouthwatering. If you cannot overcome the hurdle to eat chicken feet, some of the teahouse also served with some peanuts under the chicken feet, you can also try the peanuts under them to taste the flavor.
Steamed beef tripe
Steamed beef tripe is prepared by steaming cow intestines in chopped garlic, scallion and ginger. The beef tripe is steamed together with garlic, scallion and ginger which makes Its texture become springy, soft and juicy. This dish used to be very common in many teahouses but nowadays I can hardly find it on the menu. However, I personally really want to introduce this dish because it is my favorite dish in dim sum.
2. Steamed rice noodle roll
It is usually served on a small plate. It is a thin roll made from a wide strip of rice noodle and seasoned with soy sauce. The most classic one is the one without any filling. Certainly, teahouses are also selling rice noodle roll with other fillings like shrimp, BBQ pork and beef. The main characteristic of rice noodle roll is the texture of it. The texture must be silky and a bit springy. As I have taste this dish in different teahouses, most of them are really silky. So, it is really worth a try. Here are some pictures of different flavors.
Plain rice noodle roll
This is the most classic rice noodle roll. Although it doesn’t serve with filling, it is still delicious. Since there is no filling inside, you can enjoy the silky texture of the original rice noodle roll. Usually, it will serve with sesame sauce and Tianmian sauce with is sweet. It is really good to eat rice noodle roll with that two sauces. Of course, if you like spicy food, you can also add some hot sauce to add some flavor.
Shrimp rice noodle roll
This is a sample of shrimp rice noodle roll. You can clearly see the shrimps in the rice noodle roll which is also a feature of steamed rice noodle roll. In this dish, you can enjoy the silky rice noodle roll together with the fresh shrimp.
BBQ pork rice noodle roll
Inside the rice noodle roll you can taste the chopped BBQ pork which also called Cha Siu in Hong Kong. It is quite different from the Japanese Cha Siu because it is sweet. Also, it is usually served together with cilantro and scallions.
Beef rice noodle roll
It is one of the most common rice noodle roll in teahouses. The rice noodle rolls are filled with ground beef and scallions. It is such a simple dish but really tasty when the filling are well seasoned.
Most of the buns are served in a bamboo steamer. Most of the buns are in hand-sided bun which you can finish it in 2-3 bits. Nowadays many teahouses also develop different kinds of buns. Some change the fillings and some change the outside dough.
BBQ pock bun
In Cantonese, it is called Cha Siu Bao which maybe the most famous dim sum that known in the world. The buns are filled with cha siu pork which also becomes part of its name. The most classic one is the one on top but this one is developed in a teahouse. This BBQ pork bun’s dough tastes sweet like the melon bun in Japan and crunchy surface.
Steamed egg custard bun
In Cantonese, it is called Nai Wong Bao because of it color inside. The buns have a super soft and spongy texture with a smooth surface. The custard filling is creamy, fragrant, and sweet. It has a melt-in-your-mouth texture when warm. Some also develop that the molten filling to make it more taste.
Steamed chicken bun
The filling is made of chicken and vegetable like cabbage and mushroom. The taste is savory and delicious. It doesn’t change much throughout years. The only different thing is that it used to be a bigger bun but it cost high and complicated so fewer people will sell it.
Of course, there are still many foods I didn’t introduce here because there are so many kinds of dim sum. Having meals in teahouse is a best way to taste all different kinds of dim sum. As for tips, it is better to go to tea house at tea time which is about 3-4 o’clock because there is always a sales time that you can enjoy dim sum at a cheaper price. When you have the chance to travel to Hong Kong, you should try it!!