Guide to Chinese Dim Sum

by LyraKua

Take a visual guide of these Chinese delicacies to learn more about them.

If you have gone to a traditional Chinese restaurant, you probably may have noticed a staff pushing a cart around the place. On top of the cart, you will see steamer baskets stacked over another. This cart carries a Chinese style of food called dim sum.

Dim sum is usually eaten as breakfast or snack, but can also be eaten as part of the main meal. It is usually made into bite-sized pieces, and one order of dim sum usually consists of two to four pieces. If you are going to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Chinatown, you should try dim sum! It is not only very warm and satisfying to the stomach, it is also very fun to eat, as it usually has a very nice food presentation.

Dim sum may be steamed or fried. It is up to the customer what sort of sauce to use as a dipping. I usually prefer it in soy sauce mixed with calamansi extract. Delicious! I can already imagine the aroma and taste of the dim sum as I am writing this page!

In the following sections are some of the dim sum you may find in a Chinese restaurant. I will also show you some pictures to help you decide which food to order (in case you haven't tried dim sum yet).

Image Courtesy: lookslikeamy | Flickr

Copyright © 2014 by Lyra Kua. All rights reserved


Dumpling is a dim sum with a ground pork or beef filling wrapped into a semi circular shape. The edges of the wrapper is folded into creases that results into an aesthetically appealing design. Cabbages are usually added into the filling to create a juicy but crunchy texture. This may be steamed or deep-fried, and both ways are equally delicious.
Steamed dumplings Chinese food 3-25-09 5Pan-Fried Pork Dumplings - Dumplings Plus AUD8.50 for 10
Fried Dumpling @ Xing Ji Rou Cuo MianHomemade Dumplings


Siomai or Shao Mai is a very popular dim sum usually made with ground pork filling. A piece of siomai is wrapped with a dumpling or siomai wrapper around the side in such a way that the filling is exposed in the middle, resulting in a flower-like design. The filling is usually topped with shrimp. Other variety of siomai includes ground beef, chicken, or fish.
Shui MaiSiomai

Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao is a mini-bun dim sum with ground pork and meat aspic (a meat stock gel) inside. After the xiao long pao is steamed, the meat aspic gel melts, creating a very juicy filling. The wrapper of the bun may be floury white or translucent and the shape is pointed at the center.

Xiao Long Bao
Xiao Long Bao


Hakaw or Har Gow is a shrimp dumpling with a very soft translucent wrapper. Ground pork is also mixed with the shrimps as a filling.
Translucent.Shrimp Dumpling

Tofu Skin Roll

Tofu Skin Roll, also called Bean Curd Skin Roll, is a roll with pork and mushroom fillings wrapped with dried tofu skin. It may be fried or steamed.
09 Fu Pei Guen - tofu skin roll - East Harbor Dim Sum

Radish Cake

Radish cake is made from grated radish and rice flour. The fried version of the cake is crispy outside and soft inside, while the steamed version is completely very soft.
Radish Cake


Wonton is a type of dumpling that is wrapped like a fortune bag. The edges of the wrapper are sealed together to form a protruding tip. It may be cooked steamed, fried, or boiled in soup.
Wonton Noodle Soup - close - Wonton House Swanston AUD9.20

Sesame Ball

Sesame ball, also called jian dui or buchi (common name in my country), is a Chinese pastry made with glutinous rice with a red bean paste filling. The outside is sprinkled with sesame seeds and made crispy and chewy, while the filling is very sweet. This is commonly served in teahouses and is a great dessert to end your dim sum meal.
sesame ball

Egg Tart

Egg tart is another common dessert served in Chinese teahouses. It is a pastry filled with egg custard in the center. The outside crust is very thick, while the filling in the middle is soft and sweet.
蛋嗒 Egg Tarts - Yum Cha Cafe AUD4.50 small

Mini Egg Tart

Chinese Food Miniature - Dim Sum Egg Tarts in Bamboo Tray Best Price From Thailand

Approximate Size : 2 x 2 cm Material : Clay, and Bamboo

View on Amazon

Have you tried any of these Chinese Dim Sum?

Updated: 09/08/2014, LyraKua
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ologsinquito on 09/02/2014

It all looks so good.

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