Yum cha isn’t just about eating dumplings and drinking tea, it’s about gathering at the table, sharing, talking, laughing, and spending time with family and friends. We spoke to some of our favourite writers, editors and photographers to find out why they love dim sum…

 

“Dim sum is the ultimate sharing meal; you have to go with people to get a decent range, so it’s traditionally a time when people get together, a social occasion and not just a necessity to get fed.

“I love cheung fun, those slippery rice noodle sheets wrapped around prawns, or fried Chinese dough sticks, covered in sweetened soy sauce.”

Lizzie Mabbott, blogger and author of Chinatown Kitchen

 

“Dim sum reminds me of family, of home, and of sharing.”

Anna Sulan Masing, author and poet

 

“I love dim sum because the dishes are suitable to be eaten at any time of the day. One can eat dim sum to satisfy hunger, but one can also eat it to fill cravings. It is a proper meal, but it is also a snack. It is because of dim sum’s uniqueness in its flexibility, compatibility, variety and ever-changing faces that traditional boundaries between what is mainstream and what is unconventional in Chinese culinary practices become blurred.”

Chef Tong Chee Hwee, Executive Chef at Hakkasan Group

 

“I have loved dim sum since moving to Hong Kong in 1983. I like Shanghai dumplings most because of the sharpness of the vinegar cutting through. I used to live in North Point – Hong Kong’s ‘Little Shanghai’ – more than 30 years ago, and remember the joy of large family groups enjoying dim sum as the old ladies navigating their carts through crowded restaurants.”

Richard Vines, chief food critic at Bloomberg

 

“My favourite type of dim sum is either crispy beancurd cheung fun – the contrasting texture of the silky, slippery dough, then the crunch and subsequent yield of the beancurd are a treat – or xiao long bao (of course).”

Edward Smith, blogger at Rocket and Squash

 

“I enjoy the variety and different textures of dim sum, and the fact that you share them – they are convivial food.”

Karen Barnes, editor of delicious. magazine

 

“I remember going out for dim sum with my grandmother in Hong Kong. As a small child, the restaurant seemed the size of a football pitch, rammed with frenetic tables. The noise was deafening, with diners talking and waiters shouting out their wares. It seems like a complete madhouse with kids running around, and people barging each other to grab dishes from the passing dim sum trolleys, but mostly it was about good times sharing food and gossip.”

Ming Tang-Evans, photographer

 

“Dim sum is best when you go with a bunch of friends. It’s the social aspect of sharing food – and thus life and love – in a casual, easy way which makes it a special experience. And no one is ever cross over splitting the bill after a shared dim sum meal.”

Vera Chok, writer and poet

 

“Dim sum is the perfect way to bring people together. It conjures up happy memories of feasting and celebrating with friends and family.”

Miranda York, journalist and founder of At The Table