Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Dim Sum - Treats that Touch the Heart


Dim Sum has become one of our favorite snacks. Enjoying bite size dumplings, steaming hot, with a cup of tea is both nourishing and soothing. It provides a great break and time to connect during a busy day. I have loved watching the girls thoughtfully refill empty tea cups, or the deals they make to ensure they get to eat their favorites while distributing fairly.  For a quick snack, we have purchased frozen dim sum, (pictured above) but you can also make your own, recipes below.


Source
Dim means "point" and Sum means "heart", effectively "point to what the heart wants". They are bite sized or individually portioned food, usually savory, eaten often for breakfast, or as a family weekend day outing. When eating at a dim sum restaurant, servers push carts laden with bamboo baskets of dim sum, from which you point to the ones you would like to eat. They are meant to be eaten hot with tea, which is why they come as small servings - while sharing a pot of tea, you can enjoy a few at a time, and continue to order whenever you are ready for the next, steaming hot treat.


Dim Sum tea houses were originally rest stops for ancient silk traders

Assorted dumplings (Source)

There are over 2000 different kinds of dim sum, with a variety of shapes and fillings. It takes years to master making dim sum, which takes practice, patience and technique - if you've ever tried even just a simple pleat fold for dumplings, you won't be surprised by this :)

Dim Sum trolley (Source)
There's a special thanking ritual at dim sum restaurants and tea houses: thank your host for pouring tea by tapping your index and middle fingers lightly on table. This practice began 200-300 years ago when an emperor was traveling in disguise and stopped at a tea house with his ministers. When the emperor poured them tea, the ministers didn't know what to do because normally they would fall to their knees and kow tow. Not wanting to give away the disguise, they tapped their fingers on the table.

Source

Pot Stickers are dumplings fried in sizzling oil until the bottom sticks to pan, at which point hot chicken broth is poured over them, making them crunchy on the bottom and soft on top. Legend says these are the result of an accident when a chef accidentally let the emperor's dumplings burn. instead of admitting his mistake, the chef poured broth over them, and served the pot stickers with shredded ginger, green onion and soy sauce. 
Recipe for potstickers from Host the Toast



Source
Siu Mai are open faced, steamed dumplings traditionally made with pork and shrimp.
Recipe for siu mai from Thirsty for Tea

6 comments:

  1. I adore Dim Sum - so many delicious foods to try!

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    1. So tasty, I can't believe its taken me this long to try it out!

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  2. You know, I don't think I have ever tasted Dim Sum! They look delicious, but I wouldn't have known they were served with tea as a snack.
    Are they all savoury or do some come sweet?

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    1. Mostly savory (thanks for pointing that out, I added it to post :) We have been cautious about our selection so far, and everything has been tasty.

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  3. Thanks for the re-post! Your site is so interesting…what a great find!! =)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Bonnie :) your recipe is delicious!

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