Dim Sum means “to touch the heart” in Mandarin Chinese. In fact, these little dishes are so good that it will surely leave a mark on your heart! Traditionally, these are eaten for breakfast or brunch—but it has since evolved into an all-day affair, especially in cities like Guangzhou in China.
Dim sum is guaranteed to be a hearty meal, whether you eat it in places such as the Ocean Palace Restaurant in Houston or at home via Chinese food delivery. Here are five things to remember to have an authentic dim sum dining experience:
1. Pick the Right Restaurant
When trying to decide which restaurant to eat at, it’s a good idea to choose places filled with happy Chinese people—especially if there are many elderly and families in them. Since elderly Chinese people are very fond of their traditional cuisine, having them flocking to a restaurant means that the place serves authentic Chinese food.
2. Have It With Tea
Before getting a table, decide on what tea you want to drink. The first thing that a waiter will probably ask when you get to your seat is the kind of tea you want to get. Do you like Green, Black, Ginger, or Jasmine? Oolong, maybe? Whatever you might fancy, tea will always go with your dim sum experience.
Dim sum is usually associated with the word yum cha, which means the act of drinking tea. So if you’re in Southern China and you’re told, “let’s go get some tea,” they also mean “let’s go eat some dim sum. Remember to leave your teapot ajar if you want more tea. This signals the waiter to serve you
3. Eat Slowly
I know it’s easy to get so overwhelmed when you see food, but remember to calm down and get only one or two items at a time. Don’t try to fill up your table within minutes. This will give you time to revel in each taste and texture. Eating slowly will let you enjoy the flavors more.
It is essential to know that dim sum is best when eaten hot, so order only two to three items first.
4. Know Your Chinese Manners
When dining with Chinese people, it is essential to know a few ground rules. Always serve other people with tea before serving yourself. Also, when someone serves tea for you, as a sign of respect, tap the table with two fingers (pointer and middle). In Chinese custom, this gesture means thank you.
The food is always for sharing, so never lay claim to any one dish. Use a serving spoon when getting food or serving others. Never eat directly from the steamer basket or communal plate. Before taking the last piece of a dish, make sure to ask everyone first before digging in.
5. Mind your chopstick positions
Lay your chopsticks horizontally on the edge of your plate and never leave it standing up as it is a sign of death and mourning. Do not leave it stuck on your food too. Always make sure that no food is glued on your utensils.
When you’re done, set your chopsticks parallel to you across the top of your plate. That signals that you’re full.
Aside from all that, remember not to rest your non-dominant hand on your lap. Instead, rest it in on the edge of the table.
The final thing to remember when going out to eat dim sum is to fight to pay for the bill. If you’re eating with Chinese friends, common courtesy requires you to offer to pay for the bill. You’ll make a great face if you manage to get the check. If you do end up paying the bill, be grateful and expect to be treated next time!
The Ocean Palace Restaurant is the top Chinese restaurant in Houston, Texas. The two-story restaurant has been serving authentic Chinese food since 1999 and is famous for its dumplings, chicken feet, tofu, egg rolls, and more. Visit the Ocean Palace Restaurant at our physical location in 11215 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77072, or get Chinese food delivery online via our website today.