Dim sum is a Chinese style of cuisine that has become popular all over the world, thanks to its diverse collection of dishes and its emphasis on sharing. Dim sum is comprised of several small plates or steamer baskets, each carrying a few bite-sized portions. This allows each diner to try lots of different types of food over the course of the meal.
Types of dim sum
According to Caroline Phillips’ article for Gastronomica, ‘Modern Chinese History as Reflected in a Teahouse Mirror’, there are over 1000 dim sum dishes available. You’d probably struggle to get through all of those in one night, despite them arriving in bite-sized portions! This means it’s up to you to construct your perfect dim sum order. Trevor James has offered tips at The Food Ranger to help you navigate a dim sum menu and pick out some of the most beloved Chinese dishes.
James first recommends the ordering of tea, which is an essential part of enjoying dim sum in the traditional Cantonese way. Dim sum is believed to have originated from the city of Guangzhou in the 10th century, before this Cantonese cuisine spread to the rest of China and then the rest of the world. Once the tea has been chosen, you’re ready to start selecting from a dizzying area of dim sum.
Here are a few of the main types of dim sum dishes:
Dumplings – these could be packed with all sorts of delicious fillings, including shrimp or pork
Rolls – spring rolls are perhaps the most famous dim sum export to the rest of the world
Buns – buns can take many forms, from a savory pork bun to a sweet custard-filled bun
Meat – this can range from the globally popular spare ribs to the more divisive chicken feet, although James advises that you shouldn’t shy away from the latter
Vegetables – we frequently celebrate healthy food options here at Shoppingthoughts, so it’s great to know that steamed vegetables are a common feature of dim sum menus
Its influence on the entertainment industry
You won’t just find dim sum on restaurant menus or lists of recipe suggestions. You’ll also find it in several areas of the entertainment industry, which is testament to the far-reaching influence of this Chinese style of cuisine. Admittedly, part of its appearances in media do include other people going to restaurants and enjoying dim sum, which is the case with Dave Chang’s Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner series for Netflix. Netflix is more renowned for its dramas like The Umbrella Academy and Ozark, but their library of foody shows has steadily expanded over the years.
However you watch your Netflix content, it’s worth checking out Chang’s series for a great insight into top-class dim sum. Chang takes the actor Seth Rogen to the Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant in Vancouver, where they feast on classic dim sum dishes like chicken feet and Siu Mai (steamed dumplings with pork and prawns). If you prefer your dim sum content to be dramatized, then Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart is a 1985 American comedy movie that explores several aspects of Chinese culture. Directed by Wayne Wang, Dim Sum received a favorable 3/4 score from the legendary Chicago Sun-Times film reviewer Roger Ebert.
Dim sum is also served elsewhere in the entertainment industry. We compared Win Sum Dim Sum to other online slots provided a Live Casino, it’s clear to see that this Microgaming offering doesn’t have the most conventional theme. However, just like dim sum the food, it works. The reel icons fit the theme perfectly, with chicken feet and Lotus rice both featuring. Another form of entertainment that wholeheartedly commits to the dim sum theme is the Dim Sum Jam card game made by Broadway Toys LTD. 2-5 players cooperate to try and correctly serve dim sum orders in a Chinese restaurant, with BoardGameGeek giving a 6.8 score to this distinctive card game.
And finally, if you like your dim sum tributes to be musical then check out the Fung Brothers. Their YouTube video is a shining example of the euphoria that dim sum can inspire.
Why is dim sum so popular?
The most significant answer is also the most obvious answer: dim sum is delicious. That deliciousness even caters for different people’s culinary preferences, as the wide variety of dim sum dishes means that nobody should have to leave the table hungry. Whether you prefer meat, seafood, or vegetables, then there are ample dim sum dish options to meet your appetite.
You might sit down for dim sum with a view to only trying a couple of dishes, but the enticing sights and smells of the other plates should put an end to that. Dim sum is also a great way to share in a dining experience with family and friends. It’s a very social experience, with the bite-sized portions allowing each diner to sample a little bit of each food.
If you’re beginning to feel hungry for some dim after reading this, The Spruce Eats has 15 tasty recipes that you can try at home. The list includes lotus leaf wraps and spring rolls, which are two dishes that are also featured in The Woks of Life’s dim sum suggestions. You’ll find plenty of options to help you craft the perfect dim sum feast for you and your friends. Don’t forget the tea!