The name dim sum, literally means "to dot your heart" may refer to small dishes Chinese eat between meals, for snacks or tea time. These small portions, bite-size Chinese food consists of a variety of steamed, braised, baked and deep fried dishes, are not only pleasant to the eyes but delicious too.
"(In Canton) the Chinese fondness for snacks and small eats reaches a kind of apotheosis." E.N. Anderson, quoted in Ken Hom's 'The Taste of China'
Made from the freshest ingredients, dim sum is often served in the morning as breakfast or brunch in Chinese restaurants (not all of them serve dim sum) where instead of ordering, you choose from a wide assortment of tantalizing delicacies that the waiters bring out on trolleys and trays.
There are the flavorful steamed shrimp dumplings wrapped in soft and subtle rice flour pastry (Har Gao), deep-fried egg-rolls, steamed buns with roast pork (Char Siu Bao), crispy yam croquette filled with minced pork, shrimps and Chinese mushrooms (Woo Kok), turnip cake (Lor Bak Ko), mango custard tarts and the list goes on and on. Dim sum chefs will constantly come up with new creations and may take you several visits to determine your favorites.
"The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star." (Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste)
One thing about a meal of dim sum is that you can drink Chinese tea and you are often said to be drinking tea 'YUM CHA' when you have a meal of dim sum. Originated in tea houses in Canton, China, where you can find the best dim sum and Chinese dumplings, this unique Chinese food is now very popular in other Asian countries and in the west.
At 'yum cha', if you notice someone tapping impatiently by their cup when a friend pours them tea, they're not being impolite. It's a way of saying thank you.
Pictures of Dim Sum and Chinese Dumplings with Names