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A unique Chinese culinary tradition is the Dim Sum. Dim sum is of Cantonese origin and very
popular not only in China but also in other Asian countries. The actual translation is to touch the
heart. Dim sum is more of a culinary
tradition, not unlike the Spanish tappas, where portions are bite-sized, and served in
small quantities, usually three or four to a plate.
The diners enjoy an immense variety of foods in an informal setting, and they can
make a meal of it or eat very little depending on their appetite.
Many Chinese families
reserve Sunday mornings for Yum Cha or Tea lunch which serve Dim Sum along with the tea.
The presentation of the dim sum meal has no equivalent in the West. Servers push carts,
loaded with a variety of foods, through the dining room, past the customers, who keep an
eye out for appealing dishes. Once a desired item is in sight, the diner flags down the
cart and points out what she wants. The idea is to choose things throughout the meal,
rather than to serve all the food at once before eating. Sweet items are interspersed with
wrappings for many of the tasty "small chow snacks are in rice, wheat and lotus
dim sums include steamed shrimp dumplings (har qau), steamed pork and shrimp dumplings
(siu mai), deep-fried spring rolls, steamed barbecued pork buns (cha siu bau), deep-fried
egg rolls and taro-root dumplings and green peppers with shrimp filling. Deserts like
steamed sweet rice cakes, sesame balls, custard are common.
traditional Cantonese dim sum meal is prepared by taking into consideration color,
fragrance, taste and shape, quality ingredients, variety, seasonal ingredients and
seasonal health benefits. There are four main
classifications of Dim Sums. The first is steamed dishes like shrimp or pork dumplings and
pork buns. The second group is variety dim sums, such as parchment chicken, pickled
mustard greens and duck or chicken feet. The third is deep fried dim sums such as egg
rolls, rice rolls and pork triangles. The fourth group is sweet dim sums like sponge cake,
coconut jelly, and custard tarts.
The amazing variety is proof
yet again of the Cantonese culinary artistry and ingenuity.
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