Dim Sum in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a smorgasbord of cultural sights, sounds, smells and tastes, a diverse mix of Cantonese and ex-British influence. It’s a massive city with impressive architecture; a contrast of modern skylines with historic Chinese neighborhoods, teahouses and temples. The city is constantly alive, buzzing with millions of people living and working; the countless galleries, restaurants and bars throb with a heartbeat pulse in a city so diverse and so roughly beautiful.
Food is very closely linked with the heart of Cantonese culture, and a metropolis such as Hong Kong is the perfect place to try it all. Dim sum is a traditional Chinese “snack”, served in small, bite-sized portions and often carted around the restaurant fully cooked so customers can just choose what they want then and there. Its said to have originated in teahouses along the Silk Road, where travelers and rural farmers needed a place to rest. It was thought inappropriate to serve large portions of food with tea, so these small plate bites of dim sum were developed.
In Hong Kong, dim sum is served as early as five in the morning, and it’s customary for the elderly to gather together and eat dim sum after morning exercises! So what is actually the best dim sum to eat? Here’s a breakdown:
Gao (dumplings) are ingredients wrapped in a rice flour skin, with fillings including meat and vegetables, shrimp, Chinese mushrooms, and the most popular, barbecued pork. Taro dumplings are made with mashed taro, stuffed with mushrooms, shrimp and pork then deep-fried. Spring rolls are filled with vegetables and meats then deep fried inside a thin flour skin. Another type of dumpling, lotus leaf rice, is a lotus leaf stuffed with rice, egg yolk, mushroom, water chestnut and meat then steamed. Spare ribs and steamed meatballs are some other popular meat dim sum options. Congee is a thick, sticky rice porridge served with various savory options such as duck and pork.
On the sweet side, there are plenty of pastry-like treats to end your dim sum meal. Jin deui is a chewy dough filled with sweet red bean paste, rolled in sesame seeds then deep fried. For a more creamy texture, try Dou fu fa which is silky tofu topped with a sweet jasmine or ginger syrup, or mango pudding topped with evaporated milk.