This is one ever popular Malaysia Food —Dim Sum (點心) — and you could find them served in various places around Malaysia, most notably in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang. It is thought to originate with the Cantonese of Southern China. Brought along to Malaya with the Cantonese, this culinary is a hit amongst the Chinese and is usually served during breakfast. Though nowadays it is served from breakfast to lunch and makes for a satisfying alternative meal from the usual Chinese meal dishes.

Dim Sum restaurant kitchen

In Malaysia we call them Dim Sum (點心) but it is also known as Yam Cha by the Hongkies and Japanese. Dim Sum is served up in small portion, and thus the term Dim Sum or pronounced in Hanyi Pinyin diǎn xīn which describes the small portion of food served. Don’t look down on these small portions, because of the wide variety of mouth watering choices, you could end up overeating!

I still remember during my childhood days when my parents would bring me along to such restaurants in the early mornings for a Dim Sum breakfast in Ipoh. Because of its popularity, it gets very crowded and you have to wait around for a table. If you were having your dim sum meal and more patrons came around and spotted your table was about to be finishing, they will wait around your table. In this case you might feel compelled to hurry up to finish up your last few morsels, drink your tea and free up the table for them to occupy it. In fact in some dim sum shops it is still happening like this. For the better organized ones, they will provide you with a number and call you in when a table becomes available.

Dim Sum - prawn dumpling and pork dumpling

Dim Sum comes in a wide variety of mouth watering dishes. They may be steamed, fried or baked. Dumplings are the standard dim sum served and may comprise of prawn, pork or a combination of both. Variety of the same theme may be served depending on the chef imagination to steam up something different. Basically when we are having our dim sum, we would select the usual har gau (prawn dumpling) siu mai (pork dumpling) and if there some interesting variation of the dumpling that may be vegetarian or vegetarian mixed, or even scallop or other seafood variety blended in.

Buns are another popular choice, known as bau. These are buns filled with meat, usually pork and the most popular one is char siu bau where the roasted pork glazed with sugar is stuffed into the bun and steamed.

Fried dim sum dumpling

Another popular dish to try is the chee cheong fun. This are wide rice noodle rolls that are steamed and then rolled with fillings. Two variety of fillings are usually served, either prawns or char siew would be served inside. The Malaysia Food version of chee cheong fun is best served with belachan a kind of spicy fermented prawn and it goes very well with this dish.

I never got use to this, but it is my wife’s favourite, the chicken feet that is deep fried, then boiled, marinated in a black bean sauce and then steamed. This resulted in dark coloured skin. This is known as Phonix talon or fung zao. Well, to each their own favourite dishes, I suppose. I never did like the thought of eating chicken feed even though I’m a Chinese. Haha! And yes, this is very popular with the Chinese and would you believe it that Australia exported a lot of chicken feet to Hong Kong?

Variety of dim sum dishes

One of my favourite is the egg tart; it is sweet fluffy pastry with the fillings made up of egg custard. Usually a hit with the children, most adults are eating less of this as they are getting more health conscious and avoid eating sweet dessert. Of course there are many other choices around.

And what is dim sum without drinking Chinese tea? Yes, the tradition of having dim sum is to wash in all the food a nice pot of hot tea. Hence the term yam cha. In this day and age of hustle and bustle, we still get a little luxury to relax a little, to have a dim sum, and drink it down with a hot Chinese tea while having fellowship session with friends and family, that’s if there is no other patron standing around your table to give you an uncomfortable presence that you need to hurry up with you meal to vacate the table.

It may be impossible to describe the sheer number of variety of dim sum dishes, so it is up to you to visit a good dim sum restaurant, queue up like the locals, and then have you fill. You may have to come again to savour the various varieties. Believe me, there are so many choices and it would be rather impossible to attempt to try them all in one sitting. After a while, you will tend to stick back to a few favourite dim sum dishes. This may not be a Malaysia Food original, but it has become part of Malaysia Food scene and culture ever since the Chinese came over to Malaysia a hundred years ago.

Related post:

Be Sociable, Share!