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Doing it right: Here’s how you can go through a dim sum meal like a pro

With the Chinese New Year just gone, now is the perfect time to plan a dim sum outing. While there’s no art to enjoying an authentic dim sum meal, there are a few do’s and don’ts that diners should be aware of before they tuck into the Chinese version of a tapas brunch.

more lifestyle Updated: Jan 31, 2017 16:21 IST
you can easily navigate the flow of carts and the cacophony of sounds that accompany any good yum cha. Here’s how.
you can easily navigate the flow of carts and the cacophony of sounds that accompany any good yum cha. Here’s how.(The Hong Kong Tourism Board)

With the Chinese New Year just gone, now is the perfect time to plan a dim sum outing. While there’s no art to enjoying an authentic dim sum meal, there are a few do’s and don’ts that diners should be aware of before they tuck into the Chinese version of a tapas brunch.

To help newbies and veterans alike get their tea pot refilled without saying a word and look like a dim sum pro, here are a few tips on how to navigate the flow of carts and the cacophony of sounds that accompany any good yum cha (“drink tea” in Chinese) experience.

Do’s

While it’s better to say thank you verbally, when someone pours you tea, you can show your appreciation by tapping your index and middle finger on the table, a gesture said to mimic the act of bowing.

Turn over the lid and leave it on the teapot if you want a refill.

Feel free to get a dessert dish in the middle of the meal. There are no set rules for mixing sweets with savory items during dim sum.

Leave a tip. Just because the waiters are coming by with carts doesn’t mean it’s no less a service. It’s common for Chinese restaurants to split tips among the servers.

sum like it hot

A photo posted by Elissa from Ninthflr (@ninthflr) on

Don’ts

Serve yourself tea first. Always pour your companion’s cup first. Otherwise you brand yourself as an uncouth Neanderthal.

Flag down just any waiter when you need something. Servers are assigned to tables so make sure you take note of the person who is taking care of you.

Be selfish. If there are three dumplings on a dish and there are five of you at the table, cut a dumpling in half so you don’t short a diner a dumpling.

Rush the cart ladies. Exercise patience and let them come to you with the goodie-laden trolleys, that’s the whole point of the yum cha experience. Swarming them will only get you on their bad side. And you don’t want to anger the ‘dim sum’ lady.

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