Eating dim sum should be an experience that ought to be experienced with much gusto. But all these names can get rather daunting sometimes not knowing where to start, even the anticipation for the taste might draw several pictures in your head, only causing apprehensions. But just set that aside and take these dim sum hacks and plan that trip today.
The best time to go
Dim sum is a fiesta that is best enjoyed around brunch in keeping with tradition. However, this rings true even to this day. The best time to enjoy a good dim sum feast while dodging the lengthy wait would be around 1030 am to 11 am. In some places, you might find yourself sharing your table especially if people are piling up.
If you want to avoid the long lines, you can call in to book a reservation. Places like Tak Po allows table reservations for a minimum amount of people.
Before you dive into your dim sum meal, you always commence with tea. Once you are served your pot, allow it to steep for a couple of minutes. Of course steeping for those tea that come in teabags would be very easy as you already have directions on the packet. However for loose-leaf preparation, green tea, yellow tea, and white tea is best served a teaspoon for a cup of hot water. Oolong, red, and black tea on the other hand, is best prepared with half a teaspoon for every cup.
So why tea?
Tea has been always been the beverage of choice for dim sum. Aside from its soothing nature, tea also serves as a digestible detergent that helps flush the grease away. Whether if it is steamed or fried, some dim sum dishes contain a certain amount of grease, and tea helps balance that out.
The Chinese have been pairing their food with tea for thousands of years, and their cuisine is as diverse as the variety of teas. Some places may not have the luxury of choices while others give a wide selection with each style giving a beautiful compliment to each dish.
If you don’t have any idea as to what kind of tea you have, feel free to ask the waiter. You may even ask them as to how long your tea ought to be steeped, as each can go for different times. If you’d like to add some lemon, only add a little, as putting in too much can ruin the taste; just like adding too much salt to a dish. If you are one who has a penchant for milk, it goes best with black teas.
When you find yourself all out of tea, simply leave off to the side of the teapot as this already signals the waiters that you are ready for a refill.
One notable feature of brunching dim sum style, is the added politeness that goes around the table. It’s customary to pour tea for others first, starting with the eldest person on the table, and pour one for yourself last. Tapping the table behind your cup is also an act of courtesy which also means “thank you,” without disrupting any conversation.
On what to order
You can start with dumplings such as siew mai, har gao, har mai, or crystal chives ball. If you are still a bit apprehensive as it could be your first time, these staple dumplings are the best to go as they never fail when it comes to flavour. They come in steaming baskets in small bit-sized portions often served in threes. It is perfect this way, because it allows you to try different dishes while sharing them with your company.
A dim sum menu is also replete with fried options like seafood springrolls, fried prawn dumplings or prawn rolls. These are just some of the many options and they often come with equally delicious dips and sauces.
If you are out on a rainy day and in need of a good dose of comfort food, why not go for a steaming bowl of congee. What is so good about this dish is that restaurants now have a variety of toppings form seafood, pork, or chicken; or it could simply be a hodge -podge of everything set against a backdrop of creamy and fragrant congee.
Of course, what dim sum course would be complete without dessert? If this is your first time, and your tastebuds may not be so prepared to try these unconventional options, it is best to start with the classic egg tart. You may then proceed to some crispy yam dumplings, which is just the right amount of sweetness and familiarity to it. And if you want to take it up a notch, you can go for the classic pan fried carrot cake or char siew pie. They are not the typical sweet confections that you may be used to, but they are also filled with flavours to the brim.
If you want a light meal for brunch, which leans towards a snack, but still filling nonetheless a char siew bun is definitely a good buy. Some places offer it with different fillings to suit every taste.
What most tend to forget, especially in this age of commercialization is the world of difference in dim sum that is handmade. This has been a lost art that is plaguing a lot of dim sum places, resulting in the decline in quality. If you want authentic handmade dim sum there are still a few places in Singapore that still values quality over quantity.
If you want to grab the best handmade bites for that dim sum excursion you’ve been meaning to try, come right down to Tak Po today. Take these dim sum hacks our wide variety of options reflective of good Cantonese cuisine. Reserve your table and skip the long lines as www.takpo.com.sg.