Monday, January 07, 2013

Dreaming of Dim Sum

I love dim sum. It's one of the few Chinese dishes (technically, it's an entire meal) that I can't live without. I remember being a kid that absolutely hated the fact that my dad would drag me out of bed on a weekend morning to have go "yum cha" (literally means to drink tea) with my grandfather who's daily morning ritual involved going to Tai Tong, a Chinese restaurant for dim sum. As much as I hated giving up my precious weekend sleep-ins, my crabbyness would usually be traded in for a hot, steaming, basket of shrimp dumplings "har gow" and BBQ pork buns "char siew pau."

I'm a picky eater and one that wants to try a little of everything. And dim sum lets me do just that. Tapas doesn't really do it for me because I still find their portions slightly too big. Dim sum is perfect. Even the name is perfect. "Dim sum" I believe means to touch the heart, but in my head, it means little parcels of goodness that make you go mmmmm!

I've had some of the best dim sum in San Francisco (Koi Palace!) and Hong Kong (Lei Garden, Maxim) and always on the look out for more. Everyone has a favorite dim sum dish. For me, it's tough picking one, so I always tell people that I'll eat anything with shrimp it it (any steamed dumplings with shrimp or crab, deep fried shrimp in beancurd skin, steamed shrimp rice roll "cheung fun"), followed by BBQ pork "char siew" (steamed BBQ pork bun, baked BBQ pork pastry "char siew soh"). For dessert, one way to tell the quality of the dim sum chef is the steamed custard bun or "lai wong pau" or "lau sar pau" which is custard with yolk. Also, nothing beats a warm egg tart "dan tat."

Best way to eat dim sum is a with a big group of friends, so you can have everything on the menu! So whether you're new to dim sum or a dim sum veteran, check out The Essential Guide to Dim Sum -- lots of photos and even how to pronounce the dishes in Cantonese and Mandarin!