Need a break on a long, hard day? Then there’s nothing better than a refreshing cup of tea and a tasty bite or two. Travellers on the Silk Road had much the same idea, and that, so they say, was the origin of Dim Sum.
Then, as now, Dim Sum was the perfect food for people on the go. These little parcels of pleasure, packed with delicious ingredients, are the ideal quick snack. But, if you have more time, they can also form the heart of a relaxing meal with a pleasing variety of tastes.
So what exactly is Dim Sum?
The story may well begin some 2,500 years ago, in northern China – legend has it that the first Dim Sum were prepared as a luxury food, to be served only to the Emperor and his family.
Later, wealthy families started to enjoy them, too – but it would be centuries before ordinary working people could share a food that is now a pleasure for all.
How did it happen?
Much later, as the silk trade opened up new routes across Asia, teahouses sprang up to serve the needs of weary merchants and travellers. They came to enjoy the traditional “yum cha” – literally “drinking tea” – but also needed something more substantial.
Dim Sum was just what the doctor ordered – and not just for the privileged. After all, what better than a tasty, filling snack for a farmer coming in from the fields after a hard day’s work? You could think of it as the Chinese equivalent of tea and biscuits. Only much better…
The first Dim Sum were probably Cantonese, but today people are making them all over China. There’s a huge variety of different recipes, and inventive chefs are constantly trying out new ideas.
What can you expect?
Typically, Dim Sum dishes are either steamed or deep fried – and delicious either way. Typical steamed Dim Sum might include Char Siu Bao (a steamed pork dumpling) or Har Gao (our “crystal” pork and shrimp dumplings, with a wonderful translucent wrapping). Deep fried Dim Sum would include Spring Rolls and – to give just one example – our Thai Style Squid Cakes.
And there are puddings, too. Why not try our delicious custard buns?
Not sure what to order? Then just have a word with your waiter – they’ll be happy to help, and to tell you about the new ideas from our own kitchen.