Here at the School of Wok we've just completed a week -long intensive Dim Sum course and not only did the students survive, but we are pretty sure they also learnt a thing or two. One may think the diminutive Dim Sum is something akin to the harmless cupcake-small tasty and mastered by amateur bakers worldwide, but these perfect little parcels have brought seasoned chefs to their knees for centuries.
Remember when Sushi first hit London and you mistook the Wasabi for a mouthful of Avocado? Well the Dim Sum craze has finally reached our shores, and there are at least 50 different dishes to choose from, so avoid the embarrassment and make sure you know your Har Gow from your Char Siu Baau. Here's our Dim Sum for Dummies crash course.
Lesson one: what is Dim Sum? It's the Cantonese version of brunch really. In these restaurants small dishes of steamed, fried or baked pastries are shared along with a never- ending flow of tea. Originally they were created as little nibbles meant to sustain the weary traveller as he took a quick tea break. The little nibbles became more and more elaborate and now making Dim Sum is a culinary skill that will take years to master. Here are some of our favorites:
Lotus Leaf Rice
Dried scallop, mushroom, chestnut and meat (usually pork and chicken) are steamed with rice, encased in a lotus leaf. Although the leaf is not eaten, its flavor is infused during the steaming.
Char Siu Bao Baked or steamed, these fluffy buns are filled with different meats and vegetables, like our favorite: sweet barbeque pork.
Har Gau Har Gau are translucent rice flour dumplings. Fillings range from shrimp to Tofu and pickled cabbage.
Head Chef Jeremy Pang travelled the world learning the art of Dim Sum and he has a few tips for those of us who just want to eat it:
A. Wong in Victoria is a slick Dim Sum restaurant that specialises
in unique dishes, like a crispy taro (Yam) dumpling with a soft-boiled
egg inside it.
Plum Valley in Gerrard Street/ Chinatown is a little more traditional
with a modern twist. Although it may look a bit posh, the prices are
reasonable and the chef is a skilled Dim Sum master.
Lotus in Canary Wharf serves up classic authentic Dim Sum. According
to Jeremy it's a no frills, no fuss establishment that is popular with local
Or learn to make them yourself with our Dim Sum course:
5 days/ 30 hours/ 20 recipes. Here's what past students had to say.
I loved the attention to detail; Jeremy was always giving us extra help when needed. Thanks for the fantastic time. I've learnt a lot and I am very grateful. I've really enjoyed the people, the atmosphere, the lesson plan and eating what we made. – Becky
What I enjoyed the most was the way it was taught and the atmosphere at the school. The teaching technique was very good. The way the course was structured was perfect, learning the easier techniques first, moving to more complex dumplings as the days passed. – Kirsty