What’s your favorite dim sum? Let me guess. Siomai? Siopao? Or buchi, perhaps? These are only a few of the most common kinds. Thanks to the proliferation of dim sum stalls and carts, you can instantly oblige your siomai craving anytime and anywhere in the metro. But there’s a whole lot of dim sum going on among the people who invented these bite-sized snacks than most of us can imagine.
Traditionally, the Chinese eat dim sum with tea. These are bite-sized pieces of heaven and are usually steamed. Dim sum is what the Chinese would have for merienda, or something in between regular meals, hence the small servings. In restaurants, dim sum is placed in bamboo steamers and stacked on steam carts that are pushed around for diners to choose from. A sharp contrast to this would be how most Filipinos, on the other hand, love to eat siomai with rice - as commonly encountered at almost every nook of busy establishments.
There is no hard and fast rule about how one should have his or her dim sum and enjoy it. Explore and broaden your choices with this list of must-tries for your insatiable appetite for dim sum!
Taro Siomai – Picture succulence and tenderness in a ball. Flavorful meat binds perfectly with steamed, melt-in-your-mouth cubed or mashed taro. The size of one Taro Siomai is that of three to five regular cart-offered siomai pieces combined. You can’t finish this bad boy in one bite.
Ku-Chay Dumplings – Ku-Chay to the unfamiliar palate, tastes like leeks or onion tops, but it's also like a milder version of chives. Ku-Chay can be an acquired taste for some, but once you've acquired it, there's no turning back, especially as they're an important ingredient in most dumplings. Ku-Chay dumplings are very satisfying, and it's rare that you don't have them freshly-made and steamed as you order. Ku-Chay to some, may have a "soapy-grassy" taste as my friend puts it, but these chopped up wonders are known for their anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Tau-Pe Roll or Steamed and Fried Tofu Roll – These rolls will easily get high marks on any meat-lover's palate as one bites into the tender, juicy lean meat filling that combines wonderfully with finely chopped carrots, mushrooms and water chestnuts. The only tofu here is the wrapper that it came with in the form of dried, paper thin sheets. The roll is fried first, then steamed in a thickened broth mixed from the juices from the rolls itself.
*Taro Siomai and Tau-Pe Roll from President’s Tea House, Binondo
*Ku-Chay Dumplings from LanZhou La-Mian, Binondo
*Product shots by www.hnmmodels.com