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Go dim sum

Dim sums are now a common feature in almost all Chinese restaurants in Delhi, reports Rupali Dean.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2009 17:03 IST
Rupali Dean

Dim sum is the name used for a range of light Chinese snacks that are traditionally taken with Chinese tea, a ceremony known as Yum Cha. ‘Dim sum’ literally translates into ‘dot heart’, or ‘touch the heart’.

Hong Kong boasts of some of the finest dim sum chefs, who prepare these mouth-watering delicacies using a variety of ingredients such as pork, chicken, shrimps, prawns and a selection of vegetables served steamed, deep fried, baked or grilled.

Capital culture
Dim sums are now a common feature in almost all Chinese restaurants in Delhi, though it’s the more upscale ones that serve the most authentic variety.

I once tried 21 varieties at a dim sum festival at Nanking, Vasant Kunj, including the ever-popular Cantonese dim sums such as har kow and siu mai. Complimenting this huge selection were four types of sauces (soya, red chilli-and-lime, chilli-and-black bean, and mustard). Prawn chee chung fan — a flaky, crisp, finger length roll made from rice flour, with prawns rolled inside the delicate skin — is the highlight of this restaurant.

No wonder, for the man behind Nanking and Imperial Garden is Baba Ling, who comes from the Tetchu tribe in Suathow, China — a community whose speciality is cooking.

Dining at The China Kitchen at The Hyatt Regency is an experience not to be missed. The dim sum menu here has been designed to showcase a whole range of varieties. It’s the same with Gurgaon’s Hao Shi Nian Nian. Says Chef Mike, “My current menu has over 120 dishes keeping in mind the connoisseurs of Chinese cuisine and their preference for sea food, meats and vegetarian delicacies.” One can’t leave without trying the pot-sticker filled with glass noodles, coriander and wood fungus — it’s decadent to the core.

Har kow dim sums at Dine-Esty, Gurgaon, are crunchy and succulent prawn dumplings encased in special translucent three-flour dough, and then steamed; they are truly delicate little bites of heaven.

Chef Qing of Ano Tai, Hotel Jaypee Vasant Continental, has worked for some prestigious hotels in China, including Liu Hua hotel in Guang Zhou (northern China), Hotel Zhong Yuan and the Jin Diya hotel. Being the chef’s first sojourn outside China, his specialities are uninfluenced by any local flavours. His dim sums are typically light and sweet to taste, the specialities being danda, xiagiao (prawn dumplings) and zhamatuan (a sweet dumpling).

Delhiites certainly have a great range of choices to choose from!
— The author is a food consultant and writer