Food

Chinese New Year Meal

New Year Goodies for guests and ceremonies



Reunion Meals

The women got together and prepared a nine course meal:



Peanut sweet rice rolling balls

Peanut sweet rice rolling balls were made of sweet sticky rice flour, rolled in the shape of big marbles, onto layers of crunched peanuts.



Dim Sum

Dim means a little piece or a tiny drop. Sum means the best in our heart. Dim Sum together means a tiny piece of the very best. Traditionally, we only find Dim Sum style of serving in a Cantonese Tea House: a small café which serves any flavor of tea and some small appetizer dishes such as these traditional items:

  • har goul - steamed shrimp dumpling
  • char siu pao - steamed BBQ pork bun
  • siu my - steamed pork dumpling

Similar to Spanish tapas, dim sum are served in small portions as appetizers for customers to taste food, not intentionally to fill bellies. They are steamed in a circular bamboo steamer about 2" deep by 5" diameter. Dim Sum is not easy to make and needs a lot of skills and patience to make well. Mainly, customers enjoy their cups of tea with small bites of appetizer for taste. In the past, Dim Sum was very popular among the merchant community, to conduct their business transactions or arrange social gatherings regarding their business relationships.

When Hong Kong became so prosperous during late 1960 and 1970s, people had surplus enough to enjoy Dim Sum beyond these business commercial connotations. A lot of restaurants were opened and invented many new Dim Sum items. Nowadays, you can find about 75 different items in some of the more creative Dim Sum restaurants. These are called Restaurant instead of Tea House .

Some people nowadays go to a restaurant as early as 7 a.m. and have their breakfast there. Going to eat Dim Sum is a big family event. The restaurants usually serve Dim Sum until 2:30 p.m.

Generally, in Hong Kong or any other traditional Chinese restauranst at any China Towns in the world, people still practice their historical ritual of thanking the server for refilling their tea by tapping the table with three fingers three times. According to Hong Kong Tourism Board published in 2002, when Qing Emperor visted South China, he once went into a teahouse with his companions. For preserving his own anonymity, he took his turn at pouring tea. Emperor Qing ordered his shocking companions to thank him by tapping their three fingers three times on the table without their physical kowtow and revealing his identity. Clever! One finger represented their bowed head and the other two represented their prostrate arms.

I've found out Dim Sum is so popular that you can find it anywhere in the world. I have been to Dim Sum restaurants in Jakarta Indonesia, Caracas Venezuela, Tokyo Japan, Taipei Taiwan, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Singapore, and of course New York, San Francisco, and Houston in the U.S., and Toronto and Vancouver in Canada.

My family loves Dim Sum, especially my children. They eat everything. It becomes a full meal, not just an appetizer anymore.

Here are the most popular Dim Sum dishes in today's restaurants:

  • har goul
  • siu my
  • char siu pao
  • yue chee goul -- steamed pork & shark fin dumpling
  • sin choak nau yoak -- steamed beef meat balls
  • ts'ing pai quat -- steamed spare ribs with bean sauce
  • char pao -- baked BBQ pork bun
  • wu kwok - Taro root fried turnover
  • har cheung fun -- shrimp with rice noodle
  • sin choak kuen -- steamed soy sheet pork rolls in oyster sauce