The Chinese New Year celebration, also known as the Spring Festival, lasts two weeks every year and starts this year on Jan. 25. Food is a prominent part of the festivities, and dim sum is one popular way of celebrating. Want to try making your own dim sum at home? You've come to the right place.
Dim sum, if you haven't had it before, is a Cantonese style of cooking and serving food that involves many bite-sized dishes served on small plates or in stackable steamer baskets made of metal or bamboo. Depending on your perspective and epicurean experience, you might call it "Chinese tapas," or you might call tapas "Spanish dim sum." Either way, there are a few dim sum dishes that are truly iconic.
Siu mai are open-faced dumplings filled with a mixture of shrimp and pork and flavored with oyster sauce, ginger, and sesame oil. Har gow and siu mai go together like a hot pot of tea, and well, dim sum.
Har gow (also known as xiao jiao), are shrimp dumplings in crystal wrappers that are chewy and tasty with a hint of garlic and pork. Making these at home is easier than you think.
Xiao long bao, known as "soup dumplings," in English, are filled with gelatin cubes that melt into the meat filling as they steam, resulting in a rich, savory broth bursting onto one's palate after biting into the thin, delicate skin that forms the outside wrapper.
But dim sum isn't just for Chinese New Year. Every weekend for lunch, Chinese families flock to dim sum restaurants, often waiting in line to have their number called over a PA system, and sharing in a tradition that's as timeless as pouring tea for one's elders.