Sunday, 20 May 2012

Cantonese Dim Sum

So how much do you know about Cantonese dim sum?  As I was looking through some old photos I stumbled upon these dim sums I had at the Noble Court restaurant in Beijing (highly recommended, one of the best places to have Cantonese dim sum in Beijing.  In my humble opinion).  I'm going home soon. Oh the excitement.

Ok I hope you find this educational, or at least I hope this will motivate you to wikipedia some of this and start planning your gastronomic trip to China.  By the way, the pronunciation guide I have for these are how you would say them in Mandarin, not Cantonese.

I'll start with 叉烧包 (cha shao bao) -- BBQ pork buns. These are my favorite.  These are quite common in Western Chinese restaurants, actually, so you might know of them.  It's just pork marinated in this sweet and savory cha shao sauce (a mixture of soy sauces, corn flour, sugar etc.  You can find the sauce easily in most Chinese supermarkets -- char siu sauce in Cantonese), then stuffed in a light yet rich bun.  To die for.
You can have the BBQ pork on its own as well, commonly eaten with just rice and some simple steamed vegetables over rice (叉烧饭) -- cha shao fan.

Then there are these 萝卜糕 (luo bo gao) -- turnip cakes.  Mainly made with rice flour, sausages and turnips.  Sensational.
Then there are these 肠粉 (chang fen), which are rice noodle rolls with filling.  Served with oyster sauce on top.  Mmmm.
Then you've got a wide range of rice flour steamed dumplings, of which the most famous is 虾饺 (xia jiao), which are dumplings filled with prawns.  Theses are filled with prawns and asparagus. Dip them in Chinese smoked vinegar and it's heaven.  The dough of the dumplings are meant to be thin and translucent so you can see the filling inside.
And then there are all the other miscellaneous things such as these bean curd parcels.  i.e. tofu parcels.  They're like tofu skins -- oh there's so much more to tofu than just firm and silken tofu.
And then the sweet stuff.  This is a pumpkin sago soup.
These are 流沙包 (liu sha bao) -- egg custard buns. There are two types of custard buns, one where it's just normal custard (奶黄包 - nai huang bao), and then there are these with a more liquid center.  They're made with salted duck yolks.  I know, it sounds weird.  It's not even sweet and savory, it's just sweet and wonderful. Liu sha means flowing sand.
And these are Hong Kong egg tarts (蛋挞 - dan ta).  Oh bless the Portuguese for their influence.  They're made with condensed milk usually. They love their condensed milk. Oh and instead of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, they have peanut butter and condensed milk sandwiches.   Shallowed fried in butter.  Yea.  Good stuff.
So I hope next time you'll be a bit more adventurous in a Cantonese restaurant when ordering dim sum -- hopefully you'll be able to find these on the menu.  

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