To celebrate the Chinese New Year, I went out for dim sum with a group of friends. It was my first experience, and I must say it was a ton of fun. If you aren’t familiar with dim sum, here’s a perfect description from Rockefeller University’s Natural Selections newsletter:
Waiters pushed trolleys through a bustling dining room, ferrying buns as well as items less recognizable to the non-Chinese visitor, like steamed bean curd skin rolls, pan fried taro and turnip cakes, and sticky rice with chicken in a lotus leaf. Spirits were high and so was the noise level. This was the culinary experience of dim sum.
A Cantonese term meaning “to touch the heart,” dim sum involves small individual portions of food such as a variety of dumplings and steamed dishes, usually served in a small steamer basket or on a small plate.
The food selection was fantastic, and I enjoyed nearly everything I tried. Of all the dishes, my two favorites were the char siu bao and egg tart (below, from left to right).
Though the dim sum experience was completely new to me, the char siu bao was not. A steamed bun filled with barbecued pork, char siu bao very closely resembles the Philippine siopao (which I love to eat with my mom!). Just as I expected, it was delicious.
As for the egg tart, it wasn’t until after our lunch that I realized how popular it is around the world. Ranked 16th on CNN GO’s list of most delicious foods, the egg tart is a sweet and savory dessert with a flaky crust and custard filling. It was a perfect way to top off our lunch.
With that said, keep in mind that the great food isn’t the only reason I’d suggest that you go out for dim sum with friends. You should go for the new, cultural experience. Go to try something you’ve never tried before, to open your mind to other walks of life. It doesn’t matter whether you travel to Hong Kong or visit a restaurant in your own city for dim sum — what matters is that you’ve stepped out of your shell to become more culturally aware. I can guarantee you won’t regret it.
Have you ever had dim sum? If you have, what is your favorite dish and why? What’s your favorite part about the dim sum experience overall?
- Char Siu Bao — photo credit: The Unseasoned Wok via photopin cc
- Egg Custard Tart — roboppy via photopin cc