The Down-Low of Dimsum for the Curious Foodie

the down-low of dimsum for the foodie

Dim sum, also known as “yum cha,” or “ban ming,” pertains to a wide selection of small, tapas-style Chinese dishes that pair well with a cup of tea. For those whose regular visits to Chinese restaurants in Houston include Panda Express or P.F. Pei Wei Asian Diner, you haven’t yet experienced the full impact of an authentic dim sum dish. Beyond their stunning colors and mouthwatering flavors, these seven facts will get you rushing to the closest Chinese eatery in minutes. 


  • It’s Part of Chinese Tradition

In Cantonese, yum cha refers to traditional Chinese morning tea. Though a popular meal across the states, traditional tea houses belong only to unique areas in Guangzhou. Historically, these small homes stood in as roadside stops, providing travelers with calming tea and a few tasty morsels before once again hitting the road. 


  • It’s a Great Way to Celebrate Friendship

Per dish of dim sum, you’ll usually get three or four servings of the delicious treat. They come in a wide variety of flavors, perfect for tasting with a large group of friends. Hardly is a dim sum meal a light one, so you’ll probably want to fast beforehand—we mean skip the afternoon meal, you’ll thank us after!


  • It Comes in All Tastes (and Sizes)

Not every chef will prepare a classic dim sum dish with the same ingredients. Sometimes, chefs incorporate steamed prawn, chive dumplings, or vegetarian spring rolls. The variety can be overwhelming to the regular foodie, so bravery is a must when it comes to exploring the expansive world of dim sum. Alternatively, you can start with beef or pork if you’re feeling a little less adventurous. 


  • It Goes Well with Other Dishes

If you’re already a fan of dim sum but haven’t quite fully penetrated the entirety of Chinese cuisine, consider giving xiu long bao a shot. It’s steamed meat or vegetable dumpling that contains a juicy soup sauce center. 


Cheung-fun with a crispy roll is another savory option, similar to doughnuts wrapped in Chinese rice noodles. Dip this snack in soy sauce for the ultimate tasting experience.


  • It Precedes Tasty Desserts

A dim sum menu is primarily savory—but it’ll also list a few sweet favorites. Egg tart is a must-have. An egg custard filling in the center of a pastry crust, egg tart is the best way to round off your dim sum meal. 


How to Order Dim Sum


Like most Chinese dishes, there is proper etiquette to adhere to when ordering dim sum. Some restaurants will provide a constant stream of dishes to your table, whereas others will offer an individual menu cart. As a rule of thumb: 


  • Pour your tea for your fellow diners before filling your cup. Free jasmine or green tea can burn away the fat you consume from your meal. 
  • If you need a tea refill, place the pot lid upside down or slightly ajar. Then, tap both fingers on your table as a sign of appreciation. 
  • If the restaurant you’re dining at doesn’t offer a menu card option, politely point and choose a dish as servers come to your table. 




Dim sum is perfect for adventurous foodies. It provides the most full-flavored tastes without the heaviness of the main dish—and you can’t get enough of it! 

At the Ocean Palace, we pride ourselves on offering the best Chinese food in Houston. Our dim sum menu is among one of the most expansive, and you can even order take-out online for the rest of the family!

3 Cuisine-Defining Features Of Chinese Food

3 cuisine defining features of chinese food

People worldwide love Chinese food. Whether it’s wonton soup, fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, or egg rolls, just a mention of the goodness is enough to make your mouth water! The worldwide popularity of this cuisine only begs the question: What makes Chinese food stand out from all the other foods around the world? It is an important question to answer not only to figure out why exactly people love Chinese cuisine so much but so that you know what it takes to make authentic-tasting dishes of your own.

Here is three cuisine-defining features your Chinese dishes must have to be authentic:

1. Aromatic

The smell of a dish is vital to a wonderful eating experience. In fact, the primary way we taste our dish is through our sense of smell, with some part played by our tongue as well. For that reason, it is vital that the food you cook has to smell delicious.

To enhance the aroma of any Chinese dish you make, consider using aromatics and spices like cinnamon, ginger, garlic, and even chilis. Not only will they make the dish smell good, but it can also eliminate any unwelcome smell from certain food items like fish and mutton. Plus, they add flavor to the food, which is always welcome!

2. Colorful

No matter what Chinese food you order, it will always look colorful. That is because the Chinese knew that good food had to look good, making the aesthetic appearance of any dish a vital role in the entire eating experience. On that note, even if you cook up the most amazing-tasting dish in the world, a messy-looking plate just won’t be as delicious.

To make sure your dish looks vibrant and colorful, try adding different ingredients that vary in color for visual appeal. Not only will this enhance the appearance of your dish, but it’ll upgrade the flavor!

3. Tasty

When it comes to taste, Chinese cuisine incorporates sweet, sour, spicy, salty, and bitter elements. Many ingredients help to achieve this. For instance, vinegar can add to the dish’s sourness, while soy sauce can be used to add a hint of sweetness and more saltiness.

That being said, the way you flavor your dish should always be the way you like it. After all, even people around China have their preferences. For instance, those in Sichuan love spices and are known for their aromatic and spicy dishes. People from Jiangsu will prefer more salty types of food, while others in Guanxi love sour flavors.

To make the best out of all the worlds, we highly recommend that you cook up multiple dishes to feature all of these flavors. The diversity will not only add to the excitement of your taste buds, but you will be happy to know there is plenty to eat.


Without these three elements in your Chinese dish, you are not only missing out on amazing foods, but you are not making authentic Chinese dishes. That being said, not many people have the time nor patience to make tasty Chinese cuisine. For that reason, there is no harm in driving out to a Chinese restaurant and enjoy all the flavors they have to offer to send your taste buds straight to paradise.

Are you looking for the best Chinese food in Houston? Visit us at Ocean Palace! We offer a myriad of authentic Chinese cuisine that we guarantee you will love.