Originated in Canton, the original dim sum houses used to be a roadside establishments that served tea along with a bit of sustenance for rural workers. These simple Cantonese tea snacks eventually became the main focus of the meal just like the Spanish tapas which were originally simple accompaniments to glasses of sherry. These days, dim sum has become a weekly ritual family meal across South mainland China and in Hong Kong particular and it is generally taken on weekend mornings. But for beginners these are your ultimate guide order.
Ha Gow (Prawn Dumplings)
Translucent shrimp dumpling with tapioca and wheat starch are used to give extra stretchiness and translucency. Steamed until supple yet sturdy, snappy shrimp with possibly pork and bamboo shoots are often cooked to flavour it.
Siew Mai (Steamed Chicken Dumplings)
Open-topped steamed pork and/or shrimp dumplings made with a wheat flour wrapper, they often come topped with fish roe or grated carrot, or occasionally a single pea.
Cheong Fun (Rice Noodle Rolls)
This silky, slippery, fresh steamed rice noodles is one of our favourite dish, rolled around a variety of filling most commonly shrimp, beef, barbecue pork or mushrooms and its served with sweet soy sauce.
Bao (Barbecue Bun)
Stuffed with Chinese-style barbecue pork/chicken, this fluffy, white and steamed bun has a soft and dense crumb similar to American sandwich bread while the filling is savoury and sweet.
Loh Bakh Gao (Radish Cake)
Shredded daikon radish is mixed with rice flour and flavoured with shrimp or other vegetables before being pressed into cakes and fried. They’re called turnip cakes but are technically made with radish.
And don’t forget, you can certainly order more from dozens of small dim sum dishes. It’s also common practice to add a bigger plate of green vegetables, and sometimes to finish with chow mein noodles or even fried rice.