An Intro To Dim Sum

  • Posted on: 17 May 2014
  • By: Shawn DeWolfe
Dim sum ( 點心 ) is a Cantonese style of serving dumplings and similar small portion food. It is commonly served from carts that make the rounds of the diners. The staff will present the items for sale, describe what they are (sometimes well, sometimes poorly). You may choose one or more dishes. The server will then mark-up a running tally of what has been ordered by your table. The dishes are usually contained in steamer containers. The steamer containers are usually used to cook the food and then serve it to the table. Some of the steamers are made of bamboo; some are made from metal. I like the metal variety, but I had to travel to San Francisco to find some to use at home.

There is a variety items available; and the selection will vary from one restaurant to the next. Some places will only serve steamed items. Some will have a gas fueled cart making the rounds serving fried items. Some serve soup. There is so much variety that this topic demands a part two on dim sum. Part one is about what we found on a recent trip for dim sum. Part two will show off what else can be found. There are some places that serve super-exotic items. If you have any suggestions of a place for super exotic dim sum in Victoria or Vancouver, drop a comment and let me know. I’ll check it out!!

Dim SumHargow - Shrimp Dumplings - Hargow start as balls of mashed raw shrimp mixed with seasonings and fat (I’ve done these with bacon fat… holy). They are wrapped in a thin rice wrapper. When steamed, the fat cooks and sets the shrimp into a firm ball.
Dim SumShrimp Chive Dumplings - Similar to hargow, these have chives mixed in. The onion-y flavor kicks it up.
Dim SumScallop Shrimp Dumplings - The scallop one takes the hargow recipe and a slice of scallop tops the shrimp with a tiny amount of shredded carrot.
Dim SumPeanut Pork Dumplings - Ground pork is mixed with peanuts and a small amount of cilantro. Personally, I don’t like them because the steaming softens the peanuts.
Dim SumSiu Mai (Pork Dumplings) - Ground pork, mushroom, shrimp, ginger and spices combine in a wheat wrapper. Made at home, I will steam them for 15 minutes to ensure the pork is cooked through, but they’re worth the wait.
Dim SumSticky Rice - A variety of rice, glutinous rice, is mixed with Chinese sausage, calamari, chicken, ground pork, mushrooms, cilantro, boiled eggs and more. The mix is prepped and packed into lotus leaves. The leaves are folded and steamed. The end result is this sticky mess filling miss that ties with hargow as my favorite at dim sum.
Dim SumVegetarian Dumplings - The dumplings have a combination of peanuts, green onion and carrot and spices. Dim sum might as well be called “meat meal” for all of the dishes that include meat. If you bring a vegetarian, this is one of their options.
Dim SumDeep-fried Taro Root - Taro root is a starchy vegetable. It’s steamed, mashed, mixed with spices. They put ground pork in the middle, then form a football. When deep fried, the outer layer becomes crispy nest.
Dim SumShrimp In Eggplant - Hargow filling is stuffed into split eggplant. They are steamed and coated with oyster sauce.
Dim SumPan Fried Rice Noodles - Rice noodles are cooked then pan fried in oil and dark soy. Bean sprouts and green onions are added to the mix. These are served with a side of peanut sauce and one of hoisin.
Dim SumRed Bean Sesame Balls - Red bean is a sweet paste that usually picks up its accompanying vanilla flavour. The balls are coated in sesame balls and deep fried.
Dim SumSteamed Gailan - Gailan is this Chinese vegetable like a broccoli. With all of the meat that comes along in dim sum, seeing this is welcome. It’s usually pan fried and is served with hoisin.
Dim SumEgg Tarts - Egg custard is baked into a pie pastry. In dim sum, it’s common to see dessert items arrive with the main course.
Dim SumSalt and Pepper Squid - Squid is deep fried in a batter that is mildly sweet. The cooked squid is tossed with hot peppercorns and salt. When it is hot and fresh, it’s awesome. I have had it at buffets where it got cold. Cold squid is rubbery and that’s not awesome at all.

Last updated date

Friday, September 29, 2017 - 01:50