21 Jul 2020
A Dim Sum primer for new arrivals to Hong Kong
If there is a single most iconic Hong Kong eating experience, dim sum easily takes that title. Usually thought of for breakfast or lunch, dim sum is a Cantonese style of cooking and presenting a series of dishes, many of which are served in steaming hot, tiny little bamboo baskets. Inside you’ll find delicious, delightfully small, bite-size portions of sheer gustatory ecstasy. Typically, you’ll find steamed buns, dumplings, and rice noodle rolls, including a range of mouthwatering fillings with ingredients ranging from pork to prawns and chicken to vegetables.
Eating is family style so typically you order two or three baskets for each person, but it’s all put in the middle of the table and you eat what you like and skip what you don’t.
In the larger, traditional restaurants, you will still see a progression of carts piled high with steaming baskets being pushed through the restaurant. You flag down the person pushing the cart, and they will leave whatever you want. Expect steamed buns, rice noodle rolls, and dumplings, all of which will include a range of fillings and ingredients from pork to prawns and chicken to vegetables.
It’s customary to have six or more people at a round table, sharing these baskets of delight. Don’t be surprised if the ambiance is loud, convivial, raucous, and a bit chaotic but that’s all part of the program. If you are not already familiar with dim sum, here’s some “eye candy” to tempt you.