‘Dim sum’ is the Cantonese term for dishes of small but hearty snack foods that are fried, steamed, stewed or baked and made for sharing, so everyone can taste a variety of flavours and textures. This unique culinary art originated in southern China and over the centuries, the “yum cha” tradition of a relaxing tea and snack break has now been transformed into the dining experience we know and love today.
Retro martial arts posters on the walls and seating created from wooden crates topped with cushions covered in Chinese fabric… this could be a hole-in-the wall dim sum joint in a tiny alley in bustling Guangzhou. The deliberately sparse and unassuming décor ensures that there is nothing to distract from the moreish and mouthwatering delicacies that make up dim sum.
The small assortment of dishes is both varied and well-priced, allowing diners to indulge in a feast of flavours without breaking the bank. Try the homemade Shanghai iced tea with the popular beef and lamb pot stickers, or tempt your palate with more exotic dishes: dow sa bao, a steamed fluffy bun filled with sweet red bean paste, the pan-fried turnip cake made with shiitake mushrooms, or har gow, a delicate, translucent wheat and tapioca dumpling with prawns, water chestnut and spring onion. My personal favourite is the siu mai, an open-face steamed dumpling with pork belly and shiitake mushrooms, served with mustard and hoisin sauce. If you prefer wine to tea, the incredibly well-priced and floral Quando Chenin Blanc Viognier will wash it all down a treat.
Edmund Hung, the owner and chef, has summed up his philosophy as “making great simple food, meeting people and promoting earth friendliness”. It’s a noble philosophy and he follows it to the letter, with friendly service, 100% biodegradable utensils and, most importantly, reliably addictive Asian food.