Hakkasan London

Dim Sum Guide How To Order

If there’s one thing everybody has to love, it has to be dim sum. Dim sum is a style of Cantonese cuisine prepared in small dishes, usually served in steamer baskets (as most dishes are steamed). If you haven’t tried it before, go to your local Chinatown. Chances are you’ll find more than one restaurant serving dim sum. Dim sum is typically eaten during the day, for lunch (though I would love to see an all-day dim sum restaurant open somewhere – get on this please!). It’s something you have with your family and friends. Dishes are small but there’s a great variety of dishes.

We hit up Hakkasan in London the other day to try their dim sum menu. Hakkasan is a more upscale, michelin-starred dim sum restaurant, with branches in New York, Las Vegas, Abu Dhabi and San Francisco among others. Like any other dim sum restaurant, the dishes are made fresh and on order. For this post I thought it would be nice to do a short dim sum guide on things you can order and typical dim sum dishes you absolutely cannot miss. Don’t worry, I’ll try to skip the more exotic dishes for you!

Dim Sum Guide How To Order
Dim Sum Guide How To Order
Dim Sum Guide How To Order

1. Dumplings These are by far the most popular ones. Dishes include siu mai (steamed dumpling with pork, prawns or both inside a thin wheat flour wrapper), har gow (steamed dumpling with whole or chopped-up shrimp filling and thin wheat starch skin), wo tip (Northern Chinese style of dumpling with meat and cabbage filling; not always considered dim sum though), haam sui gau (deep fried oval dumpling filled with pork and chopped vegetables) or dumpling soup.

Dim Sum Guide How To Order
Dim Sum Guide How To Order

2. Steamed buns Also very popular ones! Dishes include xiao long bao (dumplings are filled with meat or seafood and are famous for their flavor and rich broth inside; traditionally from Shanghai but you can’t miss this one in dim sum restaurants anymore), char siu bao (fluffy bun with Cantonese barbecued pork filling; buns are usually white or baked with a golden brown crust) or man tou (steamed buns without filling).

Dim Sum Guide How To Order
Dim Sum Guide How To Order

3. Rolls – Dishes include cheung fan (steamed rice noodles, often filled with different types of meats or vegetables inside; popular fillings include beef, dough fritter, shrimp, and barbecued pork; topped with a sweetened soy sauce), chun guen (spring rolls filled with vegetables and/or meat) or fu pei guen (tofu roll filled with vegetables and meat).

Dim Sum Guide How To Order
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4. Various – Now comes the fun part! Try lo mai gai (lotus leaf rice containing minced pork or chicken, mushroom or egg yolk), zuk (congee, a sticky rice porridge served with savory items), sou (pastry with Cantonese barbecued pork filling), wu gok (a deep fried taro dumpling stuffed with shiitake mushrooms shrimp and pork) or lo baak gou (savory turnip cake with shrimp and pork sausage; steamed and pan-fried). Feel adventurous? Try fung zau (phoenix claws, steamed chicken feet, usually marinated in a black bean sauce).

Dim Sum Guide How To Order
Dim Sum Guide How To Order

5. Sweets – Finally we have the desserts. The dessert dishes at Hakkasan are slightly more Western-oriented. But typical dim sum dessert dishes include daan tat (egg tart, a flaky puff pastry with an egg custard filling), ma tai gou (see-through water chestnut cake; one of my faves), mango pudding (a sweet, rich mango-flavoured pudding usually with large chunks of fresh mango; served with a topping of evaporated milk), Malaysian steamed cake, and dou fu fa (silky tofu dessert with syrup).

Dim sum restaurants in Amsterdam: Oriental City, Hoi Tin, Sea Palace, Ron Gastrobar Oriental, Happyhappyjoyjoy and soon: Dim Sum Now!

I’m getting all hungry after writing this post! So, what do you guys usually order? And what would you like to try?