Dim sum translates to “little bites”, small delicacies that can be steamed, fried, baked or added in a delicious hot broth with fresh herbs. To help with ordering your dumplings, we’ve got the dumpling 101 that would impress the most seasoned dumpling chef.
Ha Gao (or Har Gow)
The Cantonese translation means “shrimp dumpling” and these goodies are wrapped with rice paper or wheat paper. When steamed, the paper goes translucent, giving you a tease of the shrimp and veggies inside.
Bamboo is sometimes added for effect and, importantly, flavour. The wrapping is a smooth texture that would stop anyone travelling along Silk Road in their tracks.
Xia Long Bao
Souped, sealed and steamed, I’m yours! These little surprises are world famous for their soup broth inside. They're made with gelatine inside that creates a steamy soup when melted in the steamer, complementing the pork filling and seasoning inside.
Shao Mai (or Siu Mai)
This looks like a cousin to the classic run-to-the-shops Aussie dim sim. Minced pork and prawn is wrapped inside like little money bags with the filling exposed and the key ingredients to give it that addictive bite are crab or mushrooms.
The Shao Mai has cruised its way onto menus around Australia and worldwide from the Southern Yangtze River region of China.
Char Siu Bao (or Char Siew Bao)
The king of buns! Hours of seasoning and preparation have been put into the pork, which is then finely chopped to place the filling inside super soft, white and fluffy bun dough that can be baked or steamed. They make the perfect snack something in-between.
These odd-shaped dumplings are made with a flour and egg dough that’s similar to tortellini dough. It's commonly filled with pork and folded into an envelope, making it even crisper when fried!
Wontons are popular fried or in a hot broth with spring onions and sesame oil splashed on top. Add chilli oil for an extra kick, or dip in a shiny sweet and sour sauce for a tangy flavour. The little dumplings are usually an entrée or side dish in Chinese cuisines or on the yum cha trolley.
Japanese dumplings with minced meat, cabbage and ginger, pan fried and dipped in a light soy sauce. Yum!
These comforting parcels originated from Tibet. Momos are a combination of a classic dumpling and a samosa, with a variety of fillings include spices, minced meat, pork, beef or chicken, chilli, and herbs like coriander, ginger and garlic.
A restaurateur explained to us that the thicker wrapping made it easier to keep warm when travelling through the mountains. We’re glad they travelled all the way to our shores!
A dumpling brunch is perfect paired with hot Chinese tea. Try jasmine, oohlong or green tea.