Dim Sum/Yum Cha
One of the more popularly known versions of Cantonese cuisine is dim sum. Just select a pot of tea, grab a few items, and converse with family and friends over a sumptuous meal. Typically, waiters push trolley carts around filled with stacks of steamer baskets or small plates for customers to choose. Restaurants also serve dim sum by having diners select from pre-printed order forms. However, not all dim sum restaurants are sit-down; there are a few places that do a take-out style dim sum, where a large number of items are displayed on the counter and you simply choose which items you desire. Also note, large dim sum seafood restaurants may have a higher selection of foods or a special menu during the weekends.
I will give a general list of typical items that are commonly found at dim sum restaurants.
Shrimp dumpling (ha gow/蝦餃): Steamed translucent dumplings with shrimp filling.
Siu Mai (燒賣): Steamed dumpling with yellow wrapper typically filled with minced pork and shitake mushrooms topped with roe, carrot, or shrimp.
Steamed rice noodle roll (Cheung Fun/腸粉): Steamed rice noodles wrapped with shrimp, beef, bbq pork, or vegetables with seasoned soy sauce.
BBQ pork buns (Cha siu bao/叉燒包): Bun with bbq pork fillings. Traditionally the buns are steamed but there are variants with baked versions (with a brown dinner roll-like exterior or even newer, ones with a crispy top akin to a pineapple bun/Japanese melon pan).
Steamed beefballs (牛肉丸): steamed meatballs made of minced beef that may have water chestnuts and coriander mixed. Yuba or some other vegetables may be on the bottom. Served often with Worcheshire sauce.
Phoenix claws (Chicken feet/鳳爪): Chicken feet that deep fried, then steamed, and finally braised in a mixture of fermented black beans and bean paste with an occasional jalapeño slice. There is another variation served chilled with a white appearance; typically marinated in rice vinegar.
Spareribs (排骨): Steamed pork spareribs with fermented black beans.
Lotus leaf rice (Lo mai gai/糯米雞): Glutinous rice wrapped in a lotus leaf (don’t confuse these with zongzi which use bamboo leaves) . Normally contains egg yolk, shiitake mushrooms, Chinese sausage, dried scallops, and meat (usually pork/chicken).
Egg tart/custard (Dan tat/蛋撻): Baked pastry crust (either puff pastry or cookie/short crust) filled with egg custard filling.
Sesame seed balls (煎堆): Deep fried chewy dough coated in sesame seeds with red bean paste filling.
In addition to the eating experience, tea is an integral part of the drinking experience. Typical offerings at the tea parlor include:Dragon well (green tea), Tieguanyim (oolong tea), Bo lay/Pu-erh (fermented tea), Jasmine (flower scented tea), and Shou Mei (white tea).
Where to eat?
- Lai Hong Lounge (It appears to be one of the sister restaurants under Hong Kong Lounge I)
- Great Eastern (Yes, this is the one where President Obama got dim sum takeout)
- Cafe Broadway
- City View
- New Asia
- Good Mong Kok Bakery (Takeout Dim Sum)
- Yank Sing (Polished but… expensive)
- [San Francisco, Financial District] Hakkasan
- Harborview Restaurant (R and G lounge founder took over this area after Crystal Jade left)
- Palette Tea House 彩籠 [San Francisco, North Beach] : off shoot of Koi Palace/Dragon Beaux
- Dim Sum at Dragon Beaux [San Francisco, Outer Richmond]
- Hong Kong Lounge I
- [San Francisco, Geary] Dim sum at Hong Kong Lounge 2 (Temporarily closed due to fire)
- Tong Kiang
- Good luck dim sum (Take out dim sum)
- Mongkok Dim Sum (Take out dim sum)
- [Daly City, CA] Koi Palace
- Tai Yuan
- King Wah
- Dim Sum King (Great if you want to have dim sum during dinner time)
- Grand Palace [South San Francisco]
- HL Peninsula (South SF)
- [Burlingame] Grand Harbor
- [Burlingame] H.L. Peninsula
- Hong Kong Flower Lounge [Milbrae]
- Asian Pearl
- The Kitchen
- Tai Wu
- Zen Peninsula
- Cafe Salina
- Peony Seafood Restaurant - Second floor in Oakland Chinatown’s Pacific Renaissance Plaza
- East Ocean Seafood Restaurant in Alameda
- Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant in Emeryville
- MayFlower in Milpitas and Union City
- Pacific Lighthouse HO discussion Dim sum in Alameda
- Saigon Seafood Harbor (Richmond)
- Ming’s Tasty Restaurant (Oakland)
- Daimo, Richmond (99Ranch mall)
- Asian Pearl, Richmond (99Ranch Mall)
- Oriental Tea House, San Leandro
- Tins Teapot Bistro, Hayward
- King Valley Tea House, Pinole
- Golden Bakery, Pittsburg (take–out)
- Imperial Seafood, Concord
- Leisure Dessert, Concord
- Creek House Dim Sum, Walnut Creek
- Peony Garden, Walnut Creek
- 88 Bao Bao, Dublin
- Golden Sand Harbor, Dublin
- King Wah, Pleasanton
- Fusion Delight, San Leandro
- [Mountain View] Fu Lam Mum 富臨門- Cantonese eats
- [SFBA} Yum Cha Palace- a real Cantonese restaurant in Menlo Park?
- Koi Palace in Milpitas and Dublin (also a Koi Express in Dublin)
- Mayflower (Dublin)
Note, it would be great if we got HO (or maybe some people from FTC) to help out and list more and have a greater discussion! If there are any inaccuracies or discussions, feel free to help out as I intend this to be a wiki and keep it updated.
Check out all the other topics on the regional Cantonese cuisine