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Saturday, 12 May 2007

Eating Dim Sum in Tsim Sha Tsui

Another day, another Hong Kong food entry. If you're in Hong Kong, you have a variety of choice for breakfast or brunch. If you're in a rush most people go to a "cha chang teng" which is a basically a cafe that serves quick meals--you literally eat and run (if it's busy and people are waiting they'll drag you out). However, if you have time to spare you can experience dim sum (or "yum cha" in Cantonese), which is a typical breakfast or brunch fare that consists of small dishes of steamed dumplings, desserts, and other snacks.

For those not familiar with dim sum, it is meant to be served with tea and shared with others. It's more of a social gathering at times...so it can get very loud in the restaurant. You'll hear lots of "aiyaaahhhs" from tables nearby. This time around on Sunday we met up in Tsim Sha Tsui for dim sum. Let me warn you, some of the following dishes might not be your cup of tea...although I do know there are lots of dim sum lovers out there. So...what did I eat this time?

I didn't have time to sightsee this time around since my trip was a short one. Here is the only picture I have of the partial Hong Kong skyline taken from Tsim Sha Tsui. I wanted to cross the street to take a few more but we were running late:

For our first dish...we have some deep fried fish cake balls:

Here we have some steamed vegetable dumplings:

This is a very popular combination in Chinese cuisine: chicken with salted fish with rice.

Here's one of my all time favorite dim sum dishes: Phoenix Claws ("fung jjow"...also known as chicken feet that has been boiled, marinated and served with a black bean sauce). Basically you're eating flavored skin and cartilage, then spitting out the bones!

A staple in dim sum restaurants all over the world: shrimp dumplings ("hah-gow"):

I was waiting to eat these too...steamed custard-filled buns...man oh man!!

One of my dad's favorite dishes...cubed pig's blood. Yes, I said it...cubed pig's blood. It tastes like flavored tofu and it was actually really good. I rarely eat this dish but this time around I filled my bowl (maybe because I was so hungry). This is a very popular dish indeed!

Steamed fish heads...I miss eating salmon heads from back home:

Some Chinese greens topped with garlic:

Another dish of Phoenix Claws (I have never called them that in my life) but this time without the marinade and black bean sauce:

There are a few dim sum customs you may already know about, but for those who don't here's an important tip for your next dining experience. Your guests will be impressed if you give this a try!

The Almighty Finger Tapping
Also known as finger kowtow, the finger-tapping ritual of thanking someone in the traditional Chinese-style has historical significance. When you see tea-sippers tapping the table with three fingers of the same hand, it is a silent expression of gratitude to the member of the party who has re-filled their cups. The gesture recreates a tale of Imperial obeisance and can be traced to the Qianlong Emperor, a Qing Dynasty emperor who used to travel incognito. While visiting South China, he once went into a teahouse with his companions. In order to maintain his anonymity, he took his turn at pouring tea. His stunned companions wanted to kowtow for the great honour. Instead of allowing them to disclose his identity, the emperor told them to tap three fingers on the table. One finger represented their bowed head and the other two represented their prostrate arms.

Lunch was delicious and once again I was stuffed. Wait a minute though, I said I was stuffed--that doesn't mean I have to stop eating. Next up for a post-dim sum dessert...a dessert drink from Hui Lau Shan!


Sandra said...

I thought of you today, went to a Korean BBQ resturant in Sacremento, CA. Its hours later and I am still stuffed from all the food we had. But I didn't take any pictures.

Gdog said...

Wow, I even have an influence on my readers outside of the blog--cool. :)
You can't have a meal without snapping pictures! It's now become a part of my life! I haven't had BBQ in a while. Hmmm...that gives me an idea for dinner...

Catherine June said...



Definitely motivated my husband and I yesterday for we had korean BBQ for lunch!


Gdog said...

We just got back from having galbi...haha!

Catherine June said...

I love chicken feet, but as usual my husband finds it "confronting" he said they look like baby's hands.

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