Spend some time in China and you’ll invariably be met with the greeting “have you eaten” (吃了吗).
Chinese people love to eat and China boasts one of the world’s largest and most varied cuisines. In fact, dining etiquette is said to have begun all the way back to the Zhou Dynasty (1045-256 BC). Some of these practices may seem unusual to the modern Australian diner, but the great thing about food is that it brings people together no matter their cultural differences.
Australians love eating siu mai, especially with fish and chips. But its name proved too much of a mouthful for the English-speaking population to adopt. Can you guess what it is?
The simple Dim Sim, and it’s a great example of traditional Chinese cuisine adapted for the Anglo-Australian palate.
Dim Sim or Dim Sum – is it the same thing?
Despite being very similar in name, ‘Dim Sum’ and ‘Dim Sim’ actually have vastly different meanings!
Dim Sum is an umbrella term referring to the range of dumplings. In Australian restaurants, these bite-sized portions are often served under the moniker ‘Yum Cha’.
Dim Sum translates as “dot heart”: foods that are so small and dainty they dot your heart and don’t hit your stomach. These dishes can be steamed, fried or baked and are typically served on small plates or inside bamboo steamers. Examples of Dim Sum classics are BBQ Pork buns, Siu Mai and Custard buns.
While Dim Sim is the name of a Chinese-inspired snack of meat and vegetable filling, partially wrapped in a pastry.
East vs West
Noisy conversation and laughter are usual Chinese restaurant ambience. If the food is tasty the restaurant will be loud and Hulu at King Street Wharf is the perfect example.
With more than 20 years of Chinese and French culinary experience, Hulu Head Chef, Johnny Wu has noticed some trends between Western and Asian palates.
“Typically our Chinese guests enjoy the more salty, spicy dishes – especially if from Beijing. Dishes such as our 4-Day Tea Smoked Duck or Creamy Red Crab from the menu are always popular.”
The choice of dumpling can even denote someone’s home town. In Hong Kong the delicate flavour of a Prawn Dumpling is a winner while Beijing prefers BBQ Pork or Lamb Buns and in Shang Hai soup dumplings are a must. At Hulu, the Jumbo Soup Dumpling are a favourite.
Dumplings are served for breakfast in Australia, lunch in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, and dinner in Beijing. Steamed or fried, they are best eaten hot at any time of the day.
North, south, east or west remember to greet your friends: “Have You Eaten”?
Dim Sum. Get some.