14 September 2010

Dim Sum, Have Some

delicious noms found here

Why have I always been enamored with the idea of dim sum? I googled picture after picture of it. Cute little balls of dough filled with delicious mysteries paraded around on a cart or offered in bamboo steamer baskets or small plates. I've never actually ordered dim sum nor have I ever been to a restaurant specializing in it. Unfortunately, there are no dim sum carts in my neighborhood. Still, the idea intrigues me and I'm getting up the nerve to try my own little night of dim sum. It makes sense that it should strike a chord with me. The name actually means "touch the heart".

Dim sum is one of the best ways to sample a glorious amount of sweet and savory snacks. From my research, I've learned that when ordering dim sum, you order one of several different little foods instead of a whole bunch of one type. Dim sum got it's start playing second fiddle to the ancient tradition of tea tasting or yam cha. It seems that travellers along the famed Silk Road would stop into tea houses for a bit of refreshment and quiet contemplation. Field workers also congregated to these tea houses during the day for a respite from work. It was once thought inappropriate to eat while drinking tea. The ancients actually thought it would contribute to unnecessary weight gain. When it was discovered that tea actually aids in digestion, the tea house owners started serving assorted snacks to their tea tasting clientele. And lo, dim sum was born!

The Cantonese in southern China developed dim sum and transformed tea time from a quiet event to a boisterous dining experience. Some restaurants in Hong Kong start serving dim sum as early as 5 a.m. as it is tradition for the elderly to gather after morning exercises, read the paper and eat. Most dim sum restaurants only serve dim sum until mid-afternoon. I hear that the best dim sum in the world is made in Hong Kong. Who am I to argue?

Want Some?

For a mind boggling overview of dim sum, tea tasting and a run down of dishes, check out wikipedia's entry here (ps: it's where I found most of my info so if anything seems askew, blame them and let me know!)

Siu Mai pork dumplings

Savory dim sum recipes on Asian Online Recipes (I for one am eyeing those shrimp dumplings...)

Dim Sum Recipes (mmms, cucumber and spicy minced lamb with chili sauce!! I'm there!)

Asian Dumpling Tips (and where was THIS when I did my dumpling post ?!?! Yeah, Google, I'm talkin' to you.)

Speaking of dumplings, every one of my posts so far has involved little stuffed dough concoctions! I'm hopelessly addicted to bread, ask anyone who knows me. I promise my next post will not contain any type of dough filled delicacies. At least, I'm pretty sure they won't *grin*


PS: I know this has nothing to do with Chinese food, but I found this neat-o cooking website thanks to a kind email from it's creator. It's the blog belonging to Culinary Arts College, a site devoted to helping people find cooking schools. A worthy endeavor. She just put up a groovy link-fest for home canning (something I've been hesitant to try for years). The most recent post, however, is links to 50 travel/food blogs. Looks like I've got a lot of perusing to do! Enjoy.


Brian Miller said...

oh thanks for the recipe links, i would love to have sum...smiles.

Karen Walker said...

HI Jen,
How fun. I have tried Dim Sum - in Chinatown in Vancouver, BC. It was scrumptious. No one spoke English, so we just pointed. There used to be a Dim Sum restaurant in Albuquerque, but it closed. Sigh!

NCmountainwoman said...

Oh do give it a try and let us know how easy it was. I love Dim Sum.

Jennifer said...

I've always heard of Dim Sum but I never had any or was interested to know.
Now I'm interested! That looks so yummy! :D

deb said...

I went to the University of Windsor , and it had a large Asian population, so there were lots of spots to get Dim Sum etc. I certainly couldn't afford to take advantage of it then, and we only have Thai and Sushi places locally it seems . Well, other than typical Chinese buffet ones.
When I visit my brother and sister in law in Vancouver ( large Asian population ) , and she is Chinese , they take me out to a few favourites. I try to do mostly gluten free, so the rice dishes are fine, and I am mostly vegetarian , so the meat filled things aren't and I don't like shellfish, so am chicken to try many seafood things. Other than that , It's cool !!! ;)

ali said...

I have never ever had dim sum. I'm pretty much a culinary virgin, I think.

Tabitha Bird said...

We lived in Hong Kong for two years and I have to tell ya that the Dim Sim is EXCELLENT! Have you been there? I think you'd love it.

Thanks for the comment on my blog.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Hi, Jen! Thanks for stopping by my blog. :) I haven't had Dim Sum either...I'm a vegetarian, but eat seafood and fish. I think y official name is a pesotarian, but I call myself a mostatarian. :)

I adore vegetarian sushi...the thought of raw fish kind of bothers me...

(LOL, it sounds like I'm trying out for something.)

Lin said...

You are killing me with these descriptions of delicious foods! Now I want them too!!!! :)