Dim sum, a delicacy found everywhere in Hong Kong

A staple of Hong Kong cuisine​

Dim sum is an extremely popular style of dish originating from China. In today’s article, we are going to introduce you to this delicacy, found everywhere in Hong Kong; and other places in Asia. Firstly, it is prepared as small bite-sized portions of food. These are served in small steamer baskets or on a small plate. Dim sum is commonly viewed as Cantonese, although other varieties exist. Dim sum dishes are usually served with tea and together form a full tea brunch.

Indeed, dim sum is usually linked with the practice of yum cha, which is a much older tradition and can be conceptualised as a Cantonese tradition of brunch. Then,it is believed that yum cha was associated with tea houses established along the ancient Silk Road which served as places for travellers to rest. People later discovered that tea can aid in digestion, so tea house owners began adding various snacks and this eventually evolved into the modern yum cha practice.

Nowadays, this food is a Hong Kong classic. Usually served for breakfast or lunch, the most challenging part will be to choose where to go amid the dizzying number of options. Whether you’re on the hunt for something for yourself or something to share, there’s something for everyone, especially when there’s a crowd. With the literal translation of dim sum being “a little bit of heart”, it’s no wonder they’re a Cantonese comfort go-to.

Here are some advice as how to enjoy dim sum the most.

It’s better to take small bites rather than eat a whole piece of dim sum in one gulp. The flavours are enjoyed more when consumed slowly. With xiao long bao [delicate pork dumplings filled with a piping-hot broth], pick them up just a bit below the very tip, where the dumpling skin folds together. It’s best to take small bites and let the dumpling cool a bit between bites. Foreigners will often eat them in one bite and burn their mouths that way. The soup can be really hot.

Soy sauce is tasty, but do not overdo it.

Most places prepare their dim sum seasoned, so you shouldn’t need extra. It depends on how you like your food. Some like it saltier or spicier. Same goes with the chili oil, sugar and any other spices available at your restaurant or stall. A quick dip in soy sauce and / or chilli will reveal the rich and hearty flavours of your bites. Furthermore, some variety of dim sum are already filled with potent spices and ingredients that do not require any additional element.

Dim Sum (1)

Keep your chopsticks to yourself.

Don’t serve others with your chopsticks. It’s just as simple as this – some people might not want to share your saliva. Indeed, you can always ask for another set for passing food to others. In many eastern-Asian cultures, there usually is a set of chopsticks used to serve the dish, while each person has his or her own pairs to eat.

And don’t play with your chopsticks either. Avoid tapping your teeth or poking holes inside your mouth with them. For people that are not comfortable with chopsticks, it’s fine to ask for a fork. Whether you aim for a fancy dinner or simple lunch at a local shop, the many flavours and tastes offered by dim sum will satisfy you!

In other words, enjoy this fantastic dish!