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The Brief History of Dim Sum

dim sum

What is Dim Sum?

Dim sum refers to small, bite-sized foods served in bamboo steamer baskets or on small plates, and it is a Cantonese expression. Dim sum means “to touch the heart” in Chinese 

Steamed, roasted, or fried, these little quantities of food can be savory or sweet. The portion of dim sum is usually small, and there are a great variety of dim sum dishes with different tastes and flavors to choose from.

For instance, Cantonese dim sum has a very diverse range of flavors, textures, cooking styles, and ingredients. They can be divided into regular items, seasonal offerings, weekly specials, banquet meals, holiday dishes, house signature dishes, and travel-friendly meals. They can also be broken down into breakfast or lunch foods and late-night snacks.

The Origins of Dim Sum

Dim sum is eaten all across China and in some parts of the world, including Malaysia. However, the dishes are thought to have originated in Guangdong, in southern China, before making their way to Hong Kong.

After opium dens were outlawed across the country, Cantonese dim sum culture developed in tea houses in the late 1800s in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong. 

Travelers and traders on the Silk Road would stop for a dim sum meal at tea houses. As they traveled, the practice grew in popularity across the area, particularly in Hong Kong.

While sipping tea, all guests were able to sit down, rest, chat, and eat. At the time, these kinds of tea establishments could be found on nearly every street and corner. The seeds of today’s modern dim sum tradition were planted at that time. 

Dim sum nowadays can contain cuisines and cultures from all around China and Malaysia. Frozen dim sum, including those that are halal, is also available in Malaysia today. The culinary form, however, has mostly remained unchanged.

Dim Sum Restaurants

In most dim sum restaurants, there are several dozen different foods to choose from. However, tea is equally important and must be present. Many Cantonese restaurants start serving dim sum as early as 5 a.m., while more traditional restaurants don’t start serving dim sum until the middle of the afternoon.

Customers are served dishes from steam-heated carts in dim sum restaurants, which is a unique serving method. Restaurants are now serving dim sum for dinner and selling a la carte dim sum items for takeout.

Some chefs develop innovative fusion-based dim sum and halal dim sum dishes in addition to conventional dim sum. For example, dumplings and buns shaped like animals, for example, come in versions that look good on social media.

Popular Dim Sum Dishes

Steam dumplings (Siu Mai)

Steam dumpling dim sum are usually shaped into a cup and sometimes topped with mushrooms. Most dim sum restaurants have this dish on their menu. It is a must-have on the tea table.

tiger prawn roll
Tiger Prawn Roll Product Photo

Prawn Roll (Har Guen)

Generously packed with giant tiger prawn in a roll completely covered in crispy bean curd skin made of soybean. It’s a popular choice for customers to order in dim sum restaurants.

Phoenix claws (Fung Zao) or chicken feet

Phoenix claws (Fung Zao) or chicken feet may appear strange at first, but they become a local delicacy after being deep-fried, boiled, marinated, and steamed. The soft, sticky tendon beneath the skin is flavored with black bean sauce.

Golden Crispy Prawn Cake
golden crispy prawn cake

Crispy Prawn Cake

Deep fried prawn cake is also a popular choice for Malaysians when having dim sum. Generous amount of prawn paste covered with beancurd skin and fried with breadcrumbs covered. It’s a perfect match with tea.

Congee (Zuk)

Congee (Zuk) is a savory rice porridge that can be eaten plain or accompanied with meat and vegetables. Whether made at home or in a posh dim sum restaurant, it’s a popular breakfast option.

Shrimp Wonton Product Packaging
eb food shrimp wonton

Shrimp Wonton

Wonton is made with fresh whole prawn and wrapped in wonton pastry, the shrimp wonton tastes tender and juicy and is perfect for a dim sum breakfast and is best served when it’s steaming hot!

Rice noodle rolls (Cheong Fun)

For any Cantonese family, rice noodle rolls (Cheong Fun) are a must-have breakfast. Beef, eggs, and shrimp are folded into wide steamed rice noodles. A dash of sweet soy sauce is usually added to enhance the flavor.

In a Nutshell ​

When eating out is a hassle, especially during the Covid-19, the answer is to create a downscale experience at home, and the famous dim sum meals mentioned above are the fantastic ones to start with.

Instead of trying to prepare everything from scratch, look for a dim sum supplier in Malaysia for frozen dim sum (halal ones are also available) to make the cooking process faster and less stressful.

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Tempura Chicken Nugget

Made with chicken breast meat and coated with delightful crispy tempura batter, comes
with all the crispiness & juiciness you need! It serves as a perfect complement to your favourite sides or as a snack on the go!

Shrimp Wonton Packaging

Shrimp Wonton with Mushroom Seasoning

Filling with juicy whole shrimp and wrapped in signature wonton pastry. It comes together with special made mushroom seasoning sachet. Tenderness & Juicy guaranteed!

Fresh Soy Stick 110g

Kyoto Yuba

Rich in soy aroma which brings out the authentic taste of Japanese cuisine. Made with carefully-selected Non-GMO soybean which is nutrient-dense. Limitless culinary possibility, suitable to pair with any dishes or just eating it plain! Soaking is not required, easy and convenient!
Golden Crispy Prawn Cake

Golden Crispy Prawn Cake

Made by premium crispy breadcrumbs and filled with chunk of fresh prawn meat which resulted in a taste of deeply layered flavors. Having one bite brings you a multitude of texture experience.
Steamboat 5 in 1 500g

Steamboat 5 in 1

Deliciously convenient fantastic steamboat combination. Come with Cheese Tofu, Fish Sandwich, Seafood Tofu, Fish Ball,and Seafood Beancurd Roll, 5 types of popular premium quality steamboat dishes for you to have all at once!
EB_Shishamo 500g

Shishamo

Specially made with Itoyori fish meat and full of smoothness fish roes! Taste flavourful and springy especially serve with steamboat.
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Seafood Tofu

The tofu comes with smoothness and a springy texture that further enhanced by seafood flavor. An ideal choice as a steamboat side.
Sossy Series Salted Egg

Chicken Roll
(Salted Egg)

Clean diced chicken meat that wraps with “Fuzhuk” bean curd skin, riches with natural spices and flavouring that bring you the juiciest bite.

Come in 3 distinctive flavours: original, cheese and salted egg that will definitely stimulate your taste buds.

Sossy Series Cheese

Chicken Roll (Cheese)

Clean diced chicken meat that wrap with “Fuzhuk” bean curd skin, riches with natural spices and flavouring that bring you the juiciest bite. Come in 3 distinctive flavors: original, cheese and salted egg that will definitely stimulate your taste buds.
crispy friend chicken wonton

Crispy Fried Chicken Wonton

Tender wrappers stuffed with premium chicken meat, simply deep fried to crispy golden brown perfection. Crispy and crunchy bring every bite irresistibly delicious.
Sossy Series Original

Chicken Roll (Original)

Clean diced chicken meat that wrap with “Fuzhuk” bean curd skin, riches with natural spices and flavouring that bring you the juiciest bite. Come in 3 distinctive flavors: original, cheese and salted egg that will definitely stimulate your taste buds.
Cheese Finger-500g

Cheese Finger

The cheese filling inside will simply melt within your mouth and the crispy coat give you an amazing bite. It’s a perfect appetizer for parties or great as snacks!
Fish Finger 500g

Fish Finger

Crispy golden breadcrumb filled with premium fish meat. Super crispy from outside and juicy soft from inside. An easy yet delicious finger food that empty plates guaranteed!
Fish Chip 500g

Fish Chip

Made by quality fish meat and premium breadcrumbs, tastes crispy and delicious! It can be deep-fried, baked in the oven or grilled!
Tiger Prawn Roll-250G

Tiger Prawn Roll

Outer skin specially made by Non-GMO soy bean from Canada and generously filled with big chunk of quality giant tiger prawn meat. Full of crispiness and aromatic flavour.