Dim sum is an array of diverse small Chinese meals which are usually served during lunch and dinner in traditional Chinese restaurants. Most modern dim sum dishes originate in Guangzhou in northern China and are now widely associated with Cantonese cooking. Dim sum can be prepared in many different ways, for example, white rice, seafood, beef, chicken, vegetables and fruit are all commonly featured as filling foods. In addition, dim sum meals can be accompanied by herbs and various deserts such as jasmine rice and ice cream. Although dim sum originated in China, it has now become very popular all over the world, especially in America where it has been made the standard Chinese meal for American diners.
Traditional dim sum includes a variety of vegetables such as shrimp, squid, and chicken which are either cooked whole or grilled. Typically, meat is not used and is only used in very few dishes. Typical ingredients include fish, scallops, mussels, beef, noodles, mushrooms, and crab. Chinese cooks use a variety of techniques to cook the different ingredients and these techniques can be seen in many of the dishes that make up the traditional Chinese menu. For instance, many chefs will use different spices and sauces to add extra flavor and texture to seafood derivatives such as crab and shrimp bites and beef and broccoli.
Cantonese chefs are renowned for their creativity and innovation and often use chili peppers and mushrooms to give their dim sum a unique flavor. When preparing seafood for dim sum, the usual components which are used are mung beans, onions, mushrooms, oysters, chicken and beef. Occasionally, mung beans and onions are also adding to beef and chicken recipes in order to give it a sweet taste. To make cheong funds or chicken foot sticks, Chinese chefs typically mix Chinese mushrooms and vinegar.