The History of Dim Sum
Dim sum, pronounced “duh-sum”, is a vast array of hand-made Chinese dishes which are normally served for lunch and dinner in most restaurants around the world. It is typically prepared by a number of chefs working within a kitchen team and consists of a variety of foods such as seafood, meats, vegetables and fruits, which are all prepared in a heated, sealed cooking area in a dim sum restaurant. Although dim sum may sound like a simple dish, it actually contains a number of ingredients which are usually not found in traditional Chinese cooking. Most modern dim sum dishes are from Guangzhou, southern China and is commonly associated only with Cantonese cooking.
Dim sum first developed in China as early as the 19th Century, when traders from the West came to China looking to make money by selling different kinds of products. The first item they were able to grow were the typical fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, chilies and cucumbers, which are still widely grown in many Chinese regions today. These products were then mixed with grain which could be found in the fields during the early days of trading. When rice was introduced to China, these grains were combined with various spices such as ginger, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg and other items to create a sweet and spicy sauce, which was then called “yu” or “yum”. From these many different sauces, dim sum was born and is now one of the most popular dishes in China.
One of the most common ingredients in the classic dim sum recipe is rice, which can be either served as the main ingredient or in a variety of other ways. Typically dim sum dumplings are served with a savory pork and chicken meat sauce. Other types of meats or other ingredients can be added periodically to the basic sauce. Sometime rice is served with a vegetable as well, such as lettuce. No matter what type of meat or seafood is added to the dim sum recipe, the dish is sure to be very filling and often has a delicious sweet and sour flavor to it, from the juices of the fruits or vegetables to the various spices that are used to give it its signature taste.