Food Memory: Dim Sum

During our recent move B1 and I rediscovered this favourite book. “Sin Sum!” she cried when she spotted it, fresh out of the packing box, and we read it through and then once more again for good measure. “Mine like sin sum” she declared and on that point I could not agree more. Dim Sum….YUM. Reading Grace Lin’s book again had me jonesing for dim sum something fierce. I walked down food memory lane with some old photos.

Dim sum in Shanghai, 2007 (See, I’m a good girl, I eat my greens).

I can’t remember the first time I had dim sum. I have vague recollections of finding the experience a little daunting but fast forward many years and I like to re-imagine early episodes were ‘love at first bite’! But dim sum for the first time can be startling, I’ll admit; I think it’s a textural thing. Western food doesn’t really have an equivalent for those delicious tang flour dough wrappers that slip and slide around in your mouth. Slide around in your mouth?! Hmmm, that doesn’t sound nice…but it is, it really is, trust me!

I’m hoping B1’s early indoctrination re: the magical world of dim sum will have her happily eating it all over the world, as Matt and I have done. We try and make it a Sunday lunch ritual at least once a month. In the book “Dim Sum for Everyone”, Grace Lin writes “Ma-Ma picks little dishes of sweet pork buns” and that is exactly what I choose – “Char siu bao” – knowing that B1 will eat them, Matt won’t have too many and there will be plenty left for this Mama. Matt orders “har gow” (prawn dumplings), I get something green (“dao miu” if they have it) and B1 begs to get out of the highchair to look at the fish / crab / lobster (depending on restaurant fancy-ness) in the reception. After those favourites we request “xiao long bao”  (a soup filled dumpling from Northern China) and salt and pepper / chilli squid just to push ourselves to the brink of happy fullness. Then, dessert, no matter how full I am…. (I’m not the only one, right?!) Matt, bless him, leaves me to decide between two favourites – sesame dumplings (“Jin deui”) or custard buns (“Lai wong bao”). Not an easy choice, let me tell you.

And what to accompany it all? Tea; tiny steaming cupfuls of Jasmine or Pu-erh (the latter great for helping to digest rich food), family, a must, noisy chatter and chopsticks clattering together. It might be a cliche but it really is a feast for all the senses.

Oh dear, I have so many dim sum memories I might need a few extra posts to give them justice! Needless to say I will need to get myself to a dim sum restaurant quick smart before this craving incapacitates me….

Hugs, Hannah x

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One Response

  1. Oh, this takes me back to the times you took me for dim sum! It was such an education in flavours, textures and culture. I don’t know if I could go again with anyone else…somehow it’s synonymous with you and Matt in my mind. Sigh.

    How does the dim sum in Sydney compare with the fare in Vancouver?

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