Dim Sum is a popular Chinese cuisine - where food served is bite-sized portions in tiny steamer baskets. Dim Sum is a cultural experience in itself - it is the hustle and bustle of waiters bringing out their wares and having you decide in seconds whether you want their offerings or not.
It is chasing down a cart if you see something you like. It is the novelty of new flavors and the generosity of sharing it with friends or family. The best part about the dim sum experience is that each dish generally doesn’t cost much – of course prices vary by dish – and usually you pay when you leave.
Halal Dim Sum dishes are hard to come by at regular restaurants as some of the dishes contain either wrappers soaked in pork stock, pork fillings or alcohol-infused fillings. So it is best to stay safe and dine in a Halal dim sum restaurant.
Here are some must-try dim sum dishes for Muslims:
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Yes, spring rolls are classified as dim sum! They are delicious rolls that are crunchy on the outside, with a moist filling - generally a vegetarian or shrimp filling. The filling is rich in flavor and each cuisine - Chinese, Malay, Indian, etc - has their own take on the flavors. Spring rolls are usually served with a sauce - it could be a chilli-based or soy-based sauce, both equally as delicious. Be warned, once you start munching on one, it would be difficult to stop!
One of the top dim sum foods is these Har Gow Dumplings. It is a beautifully hand-made steamed dim sum, with a unique pleated design. Not only it is beautiful to look at, but it is also mouthwateringly delicious - a translucent wrapper encases a juicy prawn or shrimp filling, making you just want to sink your teeth into it!
Is there anything better than a simple fried sesame seed ball? I don’t think so! The lotus or sweet black bean paste filling inside the pastry made of sticky rice flour and coated in sesame seeds oozes goodness into your mouth after the perfect crunch. It's an explosion of flavor and texture!
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If tofu is not your thing, fear not. It is just used as a wrapper to hold the delicious shrimp, chicken or vegetable filling. You can find them either fried or steamed, although the steamed version is more common as it is a soft delight!
Here's another Dim Sum dish - Fried Sticky Rice. The glutinous rice is flavored with dried shrimp, scallops, and mushrooms to add more depth, and is a change from sweet sticky rice dishes.
The highlight of this dish is the Chinese eggplant which is pretty mild and a perfect base for shrimp. The sauce, shrimp, and eggplant all create the perfect balance of flavors.
Image Credit: Dim Sum Central
Don’t go looking for a regular donut! Chinese donuts are toasted to stay crisp and then rolled in a steamed rice noodle sheet, topped with sesame seeds, and drizzled lightly with soy sauce.
The simple ingredients of shrimp, cilantro, and onions combine beautifully in this rolled rice noodle dim sum.
Step out of the shrimp zone and enjoy whole clams drowning in black bean sauce. The oyster sauce present gives it an extra kick, while the ginger and garlic give the flavor more depth.
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Believe it or not, certain desserts are also considered Dim Sum, the most popular of them being Egg Custard Tart where creamy custard sits in the middle of a crispy flake tart shell. If the custard is not to your liking, another favorite is twisted egg puffs deeply fried and served with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a drizzle of honey.
There are a number of Halal dim sum restaurants in Malaysia where you can experience the dim sum culture. Dolly Dim Sum pairs great food with a cozy atmosphere, Kai Xuan Chinese Restaurant at Puteri Pacific Hotel is Halal certified, and Meisan Schezuan Restaurant is a classy place that is affordable.
If you have a favorite place to get your dim sum, do share the joy!