Much more than just dumplings, “Dim Sum” refers to delectable bite-sized dishes served on small plates or in steamer baskets, and includes noodles, cakes, dumplings and sweets.

The rich and varied history of this Chinese culinary art goes back to the Silk Road. Tired and hungry travelers enjoyed Dim Sum in tea houses along the legendary trade route connecting Europe with the Far East. This gourmet tradition took 500 years to evolve and migrate south from the Silk Road to Canton, but it always remained inextricably linked with Yum Cha  (drinking tea,) and to this day, tea is usually served with Dim Sum.

Dim Sum as we now know it took form 200 years ago in the teahouses of Guangdong province, or Canton,  where it was served as breakfast or a mid-morning snack. Drawing on the bounty of fresh ingredients available in the tropical climate of the region, Cantonese chefs added to the Dim Sum recipes they had inherited, creating some of the classic combinations most popular with modern diners. As Carolyn Phillips, expert in Chinese cooking and culture, says in the introduction to her book, The Dim Sum Field Guide: A Taxonomy of Dumplings, Buns, Meats, Sweets, and Other Specialties of the Chinese Teahouse, “Perhaps the secret lies in the land. Located on the lush, fertile plains of southern Guangdong, this area has an almost endless selection of vegetables, starches, fruits, animals, crustaceans, and seafood.”

An example of typical Cantonese Dim Sum is  Har Gow, plump and juicy dumplings with shrimp wrapped in translucent, lightly steamed dough, enhanced with pork and tender bamboo shoots, and often the first item picked off Dim Sum carts! 

Har Gow

The delicious art of Dim Sum arrived Stateside with thousands of Chinese immigrants moving to San Francisco during the 1848 Gold Rush. Most of these immigrants were from Guangdong Province, the cradle of Dim Sum culture, and their traditional cuisine became immensely popular in America.

Thierry Isambert’s passionate global talent coordinate South Florida events and work in our Miami commissary creating authentic dining experiences from around the world. The interactive Dim Sum station always attracts a long line of guests waiting to savor this delicious comfort food that has evolved from the Silk Road to modern fine dining in the USA.

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Thierry’s Dim Sum Bar

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