Introduction of Dim Sum
What is Dim Sum?
Dim Sum means "little heart" or "touch your heart"-- an apt reference
to these little
dishes that both delight the palate and capture the imagination.
Dim Sum is Cantonese cuisine that comes mainly in the form of steamed
and fried dumplings containing a wide array of mouth-watering fillings.
The quantity of each dish in dim sum was kept small-the delicacies
were served in tiers of bamboo steamers or small to medium-sized
plates-so that many different varieties could be sampled: crisp
croquettes, translucent dumplings, sticky cakes, fried rice, etc..
Dim Sum and Tea
Long before the Spanish created tapas and the Americans discovered
finger foods, the southern Chinese were gathering for yum cha (tea) and
sampling savory morsels known as dim sum.
The custom of tea drinking in China dates back to the
legendary Shen Nung, who is said to have personally tried
hundreds of grasses and herbs to test their medicinal effects
and toxicity. Tea was a popular drink by the Sung Dynasty
(960-1280 A.D.), and gradually, innovations in the tea
drinking custom were introduced. In addition to a high
level of connoisseurship of the various types of teas and
improvements in the quality of tea leaves, a broad variety of
accompaniments to tea drinking began to appear - dim sum.
Eating Dim Sum Today
In today's China, dim sum restaurants are big and spacious with a fair amount ofbright lights lighting it
all up. They often have several floors and are packed with hundreds of
guests eating, reaching,
shouting and gesturing for dim sum. The servings are stacked on trolleys
which are wheeled from
table to table by the servers. Traditionally it is young girls singing
traditional verses of praise
about the food as they push the trolleys. Nowadays they either shout the
name of the dish they
have or there is a sign hung up on the front of the trolley indicating
what is served. As a guest
you simply wave at the server when you hear or see what you want and he
or she will come up to
you. If you do not have the patience you can also walk up to the trolley
to make sure you get what
you want before it is finished. As one can imagine, the sound level of
these restaurants is very high.
For the Chinese yum cha or eating dim sum is not only a daily form of
food consumption or an
occasion to spend time with your family, establish a business relation
and experience social
congeniality, it is also an idiom of social existence. Dim sum is mostly
taken for breakfast or for
lunch and Sundays are exceptionally popular for a family lunch or
breakfast. On those days you
have to arrive early or know someone at the dim sum restaurant if you do
not want to queue for
hours waiting for a table. Although it is very noisy in the restaurant
and many have to queue for a
long time to get a table, the Cantonese still love it. Some parents even
send their children to
queue for a table for the family a couple of hours in advance on Sundays...
Reference book: Chinese Dim Sum by