Literally, "little jewels." A lovely Cantonese brunch, comprising hundreds of types of little dumplings, cakes, and such. Of course, you must try them all, even the chicken's feet. Consumed with copious amounts of tea. Note: a Dim Sum parlor is not the best place to take a vegetarian.

Dim Sum:

After first appearing in English in 1948, the Chinese dim sum, the name of bite-sized dumplings filled with seafood and meat, went through numerous spellings - including deem sum, tim-sam, dim sim and tim sun - before returning to its original form, dim sum in the early 1980s.

Translated literally, the name means speck heart, but more idiomatically the phrase suggests a little something that "touches" your heart and invigorates it.

- "Cupboard Love: a Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities."

"Dim sum" is a rendition of the Cantonese pronunciation for the characters a little bit and heart. In Mandarin, it is pronounced "dian xin." Frequently sold on carts on the streets in China, there are dim sum restaurants in many American cities, from San Francisco to Dallas. It was traditionally a breakfast or brunch meal in China, but has become more generic in recent years; there are even dessert varieties. Many dim sum restaurants in the USA are a la carte, with your tab tallied by the number of platters on your table at the end of the meal.

One minor correction: dim sum (点心) are what you eat, but the experience of eating them in company with large quantities of tea is yum cha (飲茶 in traditional style).

There used to be a Dim Sum metanode linking up all of DMan's scrumptious recipes (and probably a few others), but as far as I can see it has disappeared off of the face of Everything. An attempt at a recreation -- compiled by hand by wading through 800+ writeups, mind you -- can now be found within the Cookery catalogue at Cookery : Recipes, regional : China : Cantonese.

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