The term ‘dim sum’ refers to a vast array of bite-sized dishes typically eaten over a long brunch and served with tea. Whether savoury or sweet, dim sum dishes can be prepared in a number of ways (usually steamed, fried or baked).
There are many myths surrounding the origins of dim sum. The popular story is that it was created by chefs of the Royal Court many centuries ago, in order to ‘touch the heart’ of Chinese emperors.
As the tradition began to spread, teahouses along the ancient Silk Road would serve tea and light snacks to entice hungry travellers.
Where can I eat it?
These days, many Chinese restaurants will serve dim sum at breakfast or lunchtime – and in many parts of the world it has become a weekly ritual for families and friends to gather and enjoy a tasty meal of it together.
Each dish at these meals usually consists of three to four pieces of dim sum, which arrives in piping hot bamboo steamer baskets or on small plates. Often, in restaurants, the morsels are served from carts that move around from table to table, which means they’re great for sharing, and provide the perfect excuse to try as many items as possible.