dim sum 101

Dim Sum 101 – Our Guide to China’s Traditional Brunch Meal

When you think of Chinese food, one of the first meals that will pop in your head is dim sum. Dim sum is loved by many worldwide because they come in a variety of types, flavors, colors, and shapes.

Essentially, a dim sum is a Canton-style meal that includes steamed dishes usually prepared in small, bite-sized portions and is presented and eaten family-style. When you browse through the dim sum menu, you’ll find that it includes a plethora of dim sum, including buns and dumplings filled with various ingredients from fish, meat, and chicken to vegetables and fruits. 

Dim sum is known to be China’s traditional brunch meal, and because of that, you’ll always find them in the top Chinese restaurants in Houston. Given the wide range of dim sum dishes, every person, even first-timers, will have a fantastic dim sum experience.

Do you want to learn more about dim sum? Stick around. You’ll find everything you need to know about dim sum right here: from its history and different types to how to order them. We’ll have you craving dim sum and dumplings by the end of this article!

A quick history on dim sum

Dim sum was believed to have originated in China’s Guangdong region before finding its way to Hong Kong. This Cantonese-style dish first began in tearooms where Silk Road traders and travelers would drop by for a meal before they continued traveling. This type of culture began to spread and gained popularity in other regions, especially in Hong Kong. 

Dim sum etiquette and how to order

To fully enjoy the dim sum experience, you need to eat dim sum the way it is traditionally done. First, you need to choose a tea since it will be the central part of the meal. And for proper tea etiquette, the person nearest to the pot will pour the tea for the guests before their cup.

Now it’s time to order some dim sum, and here is where the fun begins. You’ll notice that in the top Chinese restaurants, dim sum pushcarts roll out of the kitchens and are stacked with dumpling steamers and fried food dishes. When you’re ready to order, simply flag down the cart, mark the menu card on your table or tell the server what you wish to order. They will then unload your choices for you to enjoy.

Popular dim sum dishes 

  1. Shumai/Siu Mai/Shao Mai

This dim sum is wrapped in thin round wrappers and has different types of fillings, like pork, shrimp, or both, with vegetables and mushrooms. 

  1. Soup dumpling/Xiaolong Bao

Xiaolong Baos are delicate dumplings filled with hot broth and pork and are a dim sum staple. This is usually enjoyed with black vinegar and fresh ginger.

  1. Pork buns/Charsiu bao

One of the most loved dim sums is the pork bun or Charsiu bao. These white buns are stuffed with sticky and sweet barbecue-seasoned pork. 

  1. Rice noodle rolls/Cheong fun

Rice noodles are handmade steamed rice noodles rolled around meat or shrimp and served steamed or fried. 

  1. Egg tart/dan tat

Egg tarts are sweet and delicious custard-filled pastries that originated in Macau. This dim sum is perfect with a hot cup of Pu’er tea.


Because of its variety and simplicity, it’s no wonder that China’s traditional brunch meal is loved by so many. Now that you know dim sum’s origin story, how to order, and dim sum etiquette, it’s time for you to try it yourself. We did say you’ll start craving dim sum when you reach the end of this article, so head to the top Chinese restaurant in Houston, Ocean Palace, and satisfy your cravings with the best dim sum in town. 

Ocean Palace Restaurant has been around since 1999 and is located in the heart of Chinatown. If you’re looking for the top Chinese restaurant in Houston, you better head here! We offer delicious traditional Chinese dishes and dim sums that will surely satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting more. Book a reservation today!

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