Top 10 Dim Sum Dishes You Have To Try (With Recipes)

The best Chinese dim sum recipes you can make at home. Ready for a dim sum party?

In many cities, both in China and in other countries around the world, you’ll find little dim sum shops tucked beneath stairways and in the storefront.

What is DIM SUM?

Various small dishes are served in bamboo steamers. Those are the typical Cantonese breakfast dish called “DIM SUM”, meaning small plates of pastry.

Is dim sum Chinese?

The word DIM SUM is the Cantonese translation of “点心”. It’s originated from China and has become a popular snack or small meals in many countries like Malaysia, Japan, the US and more.

Dim Sum and Yum Cha, what’s the difference?

You may have heard of the word “Yum Cha” that shows up along with dim sums a lot.

Serving dim sums with a cup of tea is what we call “Yum Cha”, meaning drinking tea in Cantonese. But it’s more than tea. It has become part of the Chinese culinary culture.

If you have read my story here, you’ll know that I am not always a big fan of Chinese cuisines. But dim sums are an exception. For me, and for many native Chinese as well, yum cha is a weekend staple when families and friends gather for an hour or so chatting and of course, feasting.

There are so many different dim sums to choose from. It’s impossible to find one you love. If you are wondering what to order on the yum cha menu, you are going to love this post.

I’ve put together a list of 9 of the most popular and authentic dim sums. To make at home, follow the dim sum recipes from the best home cooks!

Dim Sum vs Dumplings, what’s the difference?

As mentioned above, Dim Sum is not one single dish. It’s a variety of different small breakfast dishes that include steamed bao, chicken dishes, rice, cake and so much more. Dumpling dishes (usually steamed) like Har Gow, Siu Mai themselves are also in the Dim Sum genre.

Dumplings, on the other hand, usually refer to “pieces of dough (made from a variety of starch sources) wrapped around a filling“, similar to ravioli.

However, you may see different variations of dumplings on a dim sum menu. Some of them are wrapped in sticky rice instead of a dough like ZongZi and Lo Mai Gai. These “rice dumplings” are not considered as a type of dumplings in China.

Best Dim Sum Dishes You Have To Try (With Recipes)

Har Gow – Shrimp dumplings

Har Gow-Best dim sum dishes in China -

As probably the most popular dim sum, Has Gow is considered to be the icon of Cantonese food. Fresh shrimp mixed with pork mince in crystal dim sum wrapper, Har Gow is something that you can’t miss.

How to make Har Gow

Making this popular dim sum is not easy. The Har Gow dough, shrimp and the pork mince filling all require work and attention.

Luckily, it has already been tested out by talented home cooks. Here is a Har how recipe to follow along if you want to make this authentic dim sum dish.

Shu Mai – Pork and shrimp dumpling

Siu Mai -- top 9 Dim Sum recipes -

young [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The one thing that distinguishes Shu Mai from Har Gow is the dim sum wrapper.

The wrapper of Shumai is much thinner, more like the wonton wrapper. Shrimps are placed on top of the Shu Mai dumpling instead of in the filling.

How to make ShuMai

It’s easier to make Shu Mai than Har Gow.

You can use store-bought wonton wrapper or even ravioli wrapper. Follow this Shu MAI recipe video below:

Jin Dui – Deep-fried sesame balls

Jin Dui - top 9 Dim Sum recipes -

Jin Deui is a popular snack in China, especially during the Chinese New Year.

Sweet sesame-coated glutinous rice ball with red bean filling, it is a traditional Chinese pastry I just can’t resist.

How to make Jin Dui – The best deep-fried sesame ball recipe

Feng Zao – Braised chicken feet in black bean sauce

Feng Zao (chicken feet) Best dim sum dishes in China -

Yes, if you have never tried any chicken feet recipe, it may seem weird.

But this is a dim sum that you either love it or hate it. Want to make Feng Zao at home? This is how to:

Homemade Feng Zao recipe

Char Shu Ba – BBQ pork buns

Char siu bao (steamed) - top 9 Dim Sum recipes -

Takeaway [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There are not just one-version of BBQ pork buns. Besides in the southern part of China, it can also be found in other parts of China.

But Cantonese-style bake bbq buns ones are my favorite.

Hong Kong style Char siu bao (baked)

Jess Lander [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

How to make the barbecue pork buns?

Chinese baked BBQ pork bun recipe:

Steamed Char Siu Bao recipe

Lo May Gai – Sticky rice chicken dumpling

Lo Mai Gai (Sticky rice chicken dumplings ) Best dim sum dishes in China -

At first glance, you may think it’s the Zong Zi (rice dumplings).

But if you unwrap the flagrant lotus leaves and cut it open, you’ll spot the difference.

Lo May Gai means the chicken wrapped in sticky rice. The glutinous rice keeps the chicken moist and tender. Together with shiitake mushrooms and dried shrimps, the texture and flavor just got even more wholesome.

How to make sticky rice chicken dumplings?

Cheung Fun – Rice noodle roll

Cheung Fun - 布拉肠 - top 9 Dim Sum recipes -

ZhengZhou [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

With various fillings, the rice noodle roll itself makes a satisfying small meal.

Here are 3 different ways to make Cheung Fun at home. If you want to test out Cheung Fun recipes with different fillings, check this video out.

Lo Bak Go – Chinese carrot cake

Lo-Bak-Go-deep-fried-carrot-cake -- top 9 Dim Sum recipes -

Kinttwooarp [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I think I may need a bowl (or two) of Jasmine rice to go with the creamy gravy.

It’s not a common thing to make cakes with vegetables like carrot, or more precisely, turnips.

But don’t get it wrong. It’s nothing like cheesecake or muffin.

The base of the radish cake is made of shredded radish and rice flour.

Chinese sausage, dried shrimps have given it its unique salty flavor. So even if you are not a sweet tooth, you’ll love this Chinese-style “cake”.

Easy Chinese carrot cake recipe

Ma Lai Go – Chinese sponge cake

Ma Lai Go - Chinese sponge cake

Ma Lai Go is one of my favorite Chinese desserts. These sponge cakes are chewy, fluffy with the right level of sweetness. They are on the list of CNN’s world’s best cakes of 2017. You can find them in almost any Chinese Yum Cha restaurant.

How to make Ma Lai Go?

The traditional Ma Lai Go sponge cake is made with cake flour, tapioca flour, eggs, brown sugar and more. I’ve tried and tested an egg-free version. It turns out just as spongy as the ones in the restaurants.

Follow this Ma Lai Go tutorial and give it a try!

Ma Lai Go - Chinese sponge cake

Dan Tat – Hong Kong-style egg tart

Hong Kong custard egg tart - top 9 Dim Sum recipes -

Egg tart is probably the most “western” dim sum on this list.

It’s considered to be a legacy from the British governing history of Hong Kong. That’s why you may find it pretty similar to custard tarts.

You’ll be lucky to catch the egg tarts that just come out of the oven in dim sum shops. The crisp crust and the creamy egg filling are something to die for.

How to make Hong Kong-style egg tart

To bake egg tarts at home, here is how to do it:

So here you go. These are the 9 most popular dim sum dishes and dim sum recipes to follow. Have you tasted or made any of those? Leave a comment!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. diana wei


Leave a Reply