Chinese Food: Authentic Dim Sum Dishes You Should Know

24 November 2021

Let’s look at some popular Dim Sum dishes you should know. Chinese food is one of the most widespread cuisines in the world. This pervasiveness is mainly due to people emigrating from China and settling all across the globe.

Welcome to this next article in our Chinese Focus: First Bite Series.

The Chinese are one of the most travelled groups, and they have been on the move for centuries. They have had time aplenty to perfect these small food packages.

If you love Chinese food, it is crucial to step beyond the regular sweet and sour Chinese menu. You should therefore know about dim sum.

I’m willing to bet you’ve been like me (of non-Chinese or Asian origin), ignoring dim sum dishes favouring my sweet and sour prawns or shredded, chill beef dishes.

Where can I try dim sum in Wembley?

Chinese Food: Why Pay Attention To Dim Sum Dishes?

For one, this is what Wikipedia says about dim sum – “There are over one thousand dim sum dishes in existence today. Cantonese dim sum has an extensive range of flavours, textures, cooking styles, and ingredients. You can classify them into regular items, seasonal offerings, weekly specials, banquet dishes, holiday dishes, house signature dishes, travel-friendly, etc. breakfast or lunch foods and late-night snacks”.

So the next obvious question then is, Why would you want to ignore this great body of food?

It is true that dim sum typically applies to breakfast and lunchtime. So, if you favour evening meals, you’re likely to miss the dim sum menu as it would have been put away by then.

But it is because of this great body of food we’ve decided to highlight the authentic Dim Sum Dishes You Should Know in this article.

10 Chinese Dim Sum Dishes You Should Know

So for those most adventurous of you, it would be educational to learn some basic Chinese food vocabulary. Mainly, dim sum dishes are a favourite among many people. 

A dim sum meal consists of various dishes usually served in small portions.

01. Zongzi

Zongzi is a rice dumpling that often comes in a long triangular shape. There are pieces of glutinous rice wrapped with bamboo leaves in the middle, so it looks green and tasty. 

If you want to eat zongzi at home to taste Chinese culture, you can get pre-made ones from supermarkets or put them together yourself.

02. You Gu Cha (Pork Bone Tea)

You gu cha is one of China’s most famous tea drinks, and the ingredients are straightforward: just a pork bone, green tea, and brown sugar.

However, having this kind of drink together with dim sum makes it even more delicious. 

03. Siu Mai

Siu Mai is a traditional Chinese dumpling usually containing cooked prawns, but sometimes it can have raw prawns inside, depending on the restaurant’s choice.

You’ll find this food at dim sum restaurants. 

04. Shumai/Shaomai

Shumai is another kind of dumpling that’s also very common, especially in Cantonese-style dim sum cuisine. Inside, there will be a piece of meat and vegetables, so it’s tasty and healthy.

Chinese dim sum Shumai
Chinese dim sum Shumai

05. Fresh Noodles /Xin Tang Mian

Xin Tang Mian means fresh noodles, and people commonly eat them around breakfast time in China. The chef prepares them right before your eyes when you place your order.

They usually get served in a big bowl, and you can choose to add beef slices or vegetables like cabbages and carrots.

Chinese Food - Chinese noodles
Stir-fried Chinese noodles with chicken, vegetables and beansprouts on black

06. Goa Prawn Dumplings (Prawn Balls)

Goa prawn balls get made with minced prawns, water chestnuts, and salted egg yolk, so they have a great taste and are healthy for Chinese-style dim sum cuisine.

You’d typically find them at big restaurants, and they are trendy among Chinese visitors too, so you should try them.

Chinese Food - Prawn Balls
Delicious fried prawn balls on the table

07. Peanut Cake 

Peanut cake gets made with mashed peanuts, sugar, and sesame oil, which can be baked or deep-fried to make the crust crunchy and tasty.

If you’re looking for healthy snacks and want to try something new, this peanut cake might be your next favourite! 

08. Rice Noodle Rolls 

Rice noodle rolls are also a trendy dim sum dish because it’s tasty and has many vegetables inside. You can choose from different kinds of sauces or dips according to your preference. 

Chinese Food - rice noodles
Traditional rice noodle soup with fish balls on top view

09. Meat Dumplings

Another version of meat dumplings is called pork dumplings, and they contain tiny pieces of minced pork, so they taste better and healthier too because they have fewer calories!

10. Sesame Ball 

Sesame balls are trendy Chinese street food, and they consist of sesame seeds on the outside which are then rolled into a ball shape and covered with a layer of sugar or honey on top. 

Chinese Food - sesame balls
sesame balls stuffed with custard lava

If you’re looking for healthier snacks, this one might be your best bet because it’s sliced in half, so you can also see all the ingredients inside before making your choice.

Closing Statement 

It is helpful to be familiar with the vocabulary words of popular Chinese dishes to enjoy them more fully or communicate with your waiter better when ordering food.

Where can I try dim sum in Wembley?

Be sure to leave any thoughts you may have in the comments section below.

Previous article in this series: Chinese Food: Desserts You Can Make At Home

Don McDonald

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