Dim Sum: A Culinary Journey

Konnichi wa / Great Outdoors

What is dim sum?

Dim sum is a type of Asian cuisine consisting of small portions typically served in steamer baskets or on small plates. Dim Sum can be found all over Asia (including northern China), but the Cantonese Dim Sum tradition comes from southern China where it was developed as an easy way to serve tea along with snacks at tea houses. In Hong Kong and Macau they are sometimes called "yum cha" and are usually served from kitchens on wheels.

Dim sum can be eaten for any meal, but is often enjoyed in the morning or afternoon because they tend to contain a lot of fried foods which makes them heavy and hearty. Dim sum has become a popular dish among many Westerners who enjoy sampling different types of food from around the world. It's also a very social way to eat because you can order a bunch of different things, drink tea, and share with friends or family at a local restaurant or around the dining room table if you placed an online order.

There are many types of delicious dim sum dishes that are served in Cantonese cuisine from steamed dumplings, fried dough sticks called "you tiao" which means oil stick, rice noodle rolls called "cheong fun" which means rice crepes, buns made from dough that are steamed or baked, meatballs and other types of dumplings.

Watch this video on how to dim sum

How to make dim sum

Start by making a batch of dough for the bun.

Add sugar, milk powder and water to the flour in a bowl until it forms a thick batter.

Knead the dough into one large ball before splitting it into smaller pieces that are about three inches long each.

Roll out one piece of dough and flatten it to form a dough ball.

Place the bun on parchment paper and start rolling it into a long, thin shape before cutting pieces off one inch wide at a time.

Brush beaten egg onto each piece of dough before forming an oval shape with your hands. Be sure that both sides are covered in egg in order for it to be fully cooked.

Place the eggy dough onto a silpat or cooking parchment paper and cut it into pieces that are one inch wide at each end before rolling them up.

Add filling in the middle of each roll, fold both sides over themselves and seal by pressing with your fingers on top of the bun.

Place the sealed buns on a baking sheet and brush with oil before placing in an oven for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Popular dim sum dishes

Steamed dumplings: Flour wrappers filled with various ingredients such as ground meat, shrimp and vegetables. They can be boiled or steamed depending on the type of filling used to make them.

You tiao: Fried dough sticks that are typically dipped in soy sauce or sweetened condensed milk before being eaten.

Cheong fun: Rice noodle rolls that are usually served hot. They can be stuffed with a variety of ingredients such as meat, shrimp, vegetables and egg to create an additional texture or flavor profile for the dish.

Bun: A dough ball is steamed or baked into bread which has been filled with sugar, milk powder and other ingredients before being steamed or baked.

How to make dumplings

You will need: flour, a pinch of salt, water and a rolling pin or fork to make the dough. Chicken stock in a pot for boiling dumplings.

Heat up some oil on medium heat in a pan. Put your flour and salt into it then mix them together with your hands until the flour turns into a ball.

Add water and keep mixing until it forms a dough. Roll the dough with your rolling pin or use a fork to make small pieces of pasta shaped noodles. Cut them in long thin strips then put them on dry cloth for about 30 minutes so they can dry out, if you want to shape them like little balls, roll them on a board with your rolling pin.

Cut the dough into pieces and put it in boiling water for about half an hour or until they are soft enough to poke through with chopsticks easily. Boil some chicken soup separately while you wait. Put some of these dumplings in bowls then pour hot broth over top as well as some ginger and soy sauce.

In a lot of cities around the world, dim sum restaurants are booming because it's not just food but an experience that people enjoy going to with their friends and family. The Cantonese tradition has created something fun for all ages that can be enjoyed in every city on earth!

Dim sum is often enjoyed in the morning or afternoon because they tend to contain a lot of fried foods which makes them heavy and hearty. Dim sum has become popular among many Westerners who enjoy sampling different types of food from around the world. It's also a very social way to eat, because you can order a bunch of different things and share with friends or family.

How to make buns

You will need: milk, sugar, salt and yeast. Flour for the dough that is mixed with egg yolks to make it more elastic.

In a large bowl mix together milk, sugar, salt and one package of dry yeast. Add flour gradually until you get a soft but not too sticky texture. Mix it for about five minutes.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to let rise, until it doubles its size.

Take out some of the risen dough so you can start kneading the rest on your work surface that has been sprinkled with flour. Roll out into large flat sheets then cut them into small pieces.

In a steamer, put the dough in between two sheets of wet cloth and layer them with some oil so they don't stick to each other as they cook. Steam them for about fifteen minutes or until all their sides are cooked through then take out from the pot and let cool on a dry towel for ten minutes before serving.

How to make fried rice

You will need: stir fry vegetables, egg and rice (or sticky rice if you prefer).

In a pan, cook your frying vegetables with some salt on medium heat for about five minutes or until they are soft. Add in an egg and scramble it up then add the rice to coat everything evenly with soy sauce before putting the eggs back into place.

Put the pan on low heat and keep stirring so it doesn't burn.

Switch off the stove after a few minutes when your rice is cooked through, then mix in some more soy sauce before serving with any side dishes you like.

Where you can find dim sum in the United States

In many cities across the United States, dim sum restaurants are booming because it's not just food but a culinary journey that people enjoy going to with their friends and family. The Cantonese tradition has created something fun for all ages that can be enjoyed in every city on earth! Dim sum is often enjoyed in the morning or afternoon because they tend to contain a lot of fried foods which makes them heavy and hearty. Dim sum has become popular among many Westerners who enjoy sampling different types of food from around the world. It's also a very social way to eat, because you can order a bunch of different things and share with friends or family.

In cities like New York City, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas you can find a variety of dim sum restaurants. These are just some of the most popular places to go for those who enjoy this type of food in America!

San Francisco: Yank Sing Restaurant

Houston: Hong Kong Food Street Diner and Rolled Ice Cream & Tea House. And in Fort Worth, you can enjoy the food at Hong Kong House.

San Jose: Lucky Creation

Noodle Shop of Shaw or Jaleo Tapas Bar & Restaurant in Washington, D.C. are also some of the most popular places to eat in these cities for those looking for a place with delicious food and great company!

New York City has Chinatown Brasserie which is one of the more well known restaurants for this type of cuisine. Plus Nan Xiang Dumpling House, Jing Fong Shan Dong Bao Zhai,and The Spice Market Cafe are other great options.

Los Angeles is the home of The Golden Empress which has been recognized as one of the best Chinese restaurants for this type of food by AAA four times.

Philadelphia: Tom's Dim Sum

Las Vegas/Henderson also has Imperial Palace Restaurant which many people enjoy visiting because it's not just about the food but a culinary journey that can be enjoyed in every city on earth.

In Irvine, Lotus Garden Chinese Cuisine is one of the top restaurants for this type of food that people enjoy visiting because it's not just about the food but a culinary journey that can be enjoyed in every city on earth.

San Jose has Lucky Creation which many people visit because it is known to have the best dim sum in this city.

In Chinatown Brasserie, you can enjoy some of the most delicious Chinese food and also get a glimpse of what it would be like to go to China without leaving New York! It's one of the more well known restaurants for those who are looking for this type with great company or want to have a culinary journey that can be enjoyed in every city on earth.

List of famous dishes at dim sum restaurants

Wu Gok: Wu Gok is a dim sum dish that consists of these thin, cracker-like sheets. The dough is made from rice flour, tapioca starch and salt. The sheets are then deep-fried to create a crispy outside layer that is very light in the mouth with a chewy inside. This dish is then served with a rich duck or pork sauce that has been seasoned with sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. The dish is also sometimes served with bits of whole plum.

Bao Zi: This dish consists of two thin, soft steamed round buns made of flour and water which are then pan-fried to create a crispy exterior. The two pieces of dough that have been steamed together are then filled with seasoned ground meat and vegetables, usually pork. The buns can also be wrapped in a rectangular shape so they look like a wrapped present which is why this dish also sometimes goes by the name "present bao." The two pieces of dough are then pan-fried together and then cut in half to create this beautiful dish.

Shumai

Char Siu Bao (steamed pork buns)

Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings)

Har Gau (shrimp dumpling with a translucent skin and roasted peanuts on top)

Mee Sua or Mee siam. This is a Malaysian dish which is usually eaten for breakfast. It's yellow noodles tossed with fried garlic, chilies and shallots in thick dark soy sauce

Yee Mien (egg noodles)

Chow Mein: This type of food is made by sauteing diced vegetables and meat before pouring over the noodles that have been boiled in a large pot of water.

Lo Mai Gai (glutinous rice balls stuffed with pork and wrapped in lotus leaf)

Taro buns: These are usually made by frying taro root which has been mashed into dough before rolling into flat circles, shaping them like traditional steamed dumplings and coating them with sugar and sesame seeds.

Dumplings: There are many different dumpling varieties that you can enjoy at a dim sum restaurant! These include Shao Mai, Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings), Har Gow (shrimp dumplings with a translucent skin and roasted peanuts on top) or Mee Sua or Mee siam.

Buns: There are many different types of buns that you can enjoy at a dim sum restaurant! These include Char Siu Bao (steamed pork buns) and Taro Buns, which is made with taro root mashed into dough before rolling them into flat circles, shaping them like traditional steamed dumplings and coating them with sugar and sesame seeds.

Pei Pa: This is a Cantonese dish which consists of prawns, egg whites, celery sticks, carrots or green pepper in an oyster sauce that's poured over the top to create a light brown color before being tossed and put in a bowl.

Fung Chiu: This is also Cantonese dish that's made with wheat flour noodles, spring onions, Chinese mushrooms, vegetables and meat which are all fried before being mixed together in black bean sauce or soy sauce

Baked Custard Tart (Hei La Moon): These pies consist of a thin crust of pastry on top, which is then filled with custard and baked before it's cut into pieces.

Peking Duck: This dish usually consists of crispy roast duck that's been served in pancakes or warm wraps together with spring onion, cucumber slices and plum sauce

Kaya Toast: Kaya toast is a Singaporean dish which is made with toasted bread that's been spread with the sweet coconut and egg jam called kaya.

Nasi Lemak: This Malaysian dish usually consists of white rice served in a banana leaf along with fried ikan bilis (anchovies), dried anchovies, peanuts, chicken drumstick or spicy sambal

Beef Noodles: This dish is usually served with thin rice noodles or broad, flat rice noodles in a spicy and savory broth along with beef. It's also topped off with crunchy fried shallots, scallions and bean sprouts for extra flavor!

Turnip Cake: This traditional dim sum dish is made of a lot of ingredients including turnip, Chinese cabbage and pork which are all ground together. The mixture is then steamed until soft and seasoned with salt, pepper, soy sauce, garlic bits and lard which is used in order to create the necessary texture and flavor. The dish is then shaped into a ball and steamed again until it's cooked through which creates this moist, dense texture that goes well with soy sauce or other types of sauces that are served alongside the dish. This classic dim sum item can be found at many restaurants because it has been enjoyed for over 100 years!

Sesame Balls: Sesame Balls are a classic dim sum item that is made by wrapping these two balls of dough with sesame seeds which have been toasted and crushed. The dough is made from wheat flour, water and yeast which creates a very light texture that can be then deep-fried until golden brown to create a beautiful exterior. The balls are then filled with sweet red bean paste or mashed taro that is cooked and seasoned with sugar, salt and cornstarch. These traditional and mouthwatering bites are a great way to start your day!

Final thoughts on dim sum

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

— John Muir

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Konnichi wa / Great Outdoors