Bangkok Dim Sum

Where to Find Dim Sum in Bangkok

Asia is home to a number of dishes often deemed peculiar by the Western diner.  In Vietnam, 'thit chao' is a meal comprised of dog meat - hard to swallow for Lassie lovers across the board. Thailand's visitors are often encouraged to sample handfuls of fried grasshoppers in the tradition of Fear Factor, while those experimenting with Cantonese cuisine are served Phoenix talons, or deep-fried chicken feet marinated in black bean sauce. Though unlikely to appear as a monthly special on the red and white KFC menu, dishes of fried chicken feet are actually fairly common within the unique culinary tradition of Cantonese Dim Sum.

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What is Dim Sum

Traditional Dim Sum includes steamed or fried dumplings, filled buns, rice rolls, and noodles.  Ingredients include chicken, pork, beef, prawns, and a number of vegetarian options. Dim Sum restaurants often additionally offer plates of steamed green vegetables and desserts including pastries and fruity porridges. The assortment of dishes is truly a marvel, though certain staples will nearly always appear on the roster. 'Gow' is a standard of most Dim Sum bistros.

Dumplings wrapped in translucent rice-flour skin, 'Gow' allows a chef to draw attention to his artistry, as the dumplings are quite challenging to create. 

'Chiu-chao' style dumplings resemble Thai dishes, containing peanuts, garlic chives, dried shrimp, shitake mushrooms, and served with a sharp chilli sauce. 'Potstickers', a familiar Chinese favourite, are sometimes included in a Dim Sum meal, though they are not categorised as a traditional element in the cuisine. A Northern Chinese style of dish, 'potstickers' are delicious dumplings stuffed with a filling of cabbage and meat.

Never-ending varieties

Traditional Dim Sum includes steamed or fried dumplings, filled buns, rice rolls, and noodles.  Ingredients include chicken, pork, beef, prawns, and a number of vegetarian options. Dim Sum restaurants often additionally offer plates of steamed green vegetables and desserts including pastries and fruity porridges. The assortment of dishes is truly a marvel, though certain staples will nearly always appear on the roster. 'Gow' is a standard of most Dim Sum bistros.

Dumplings wrapped in translucent rice-flour skin, 'Gow' allows a chef to draw attention to his artistry, as the dumplings are quite challenging to create. 

'Chiu-chao' style dumplings resemble Thai dishes, containing peanuts, garlic chives, dried shrimp, shitake mushrooms, and served with a sharp chilli sauce. 'Potstickers', a familiar Chinese favourite, are sometimes included in a Dim Sum meal, though they are not categorised as a traditional element in the cuisine. A Northern Chinese style of dish, 'potstickers' are delicious dumplings stuffed with a filling of cabbage and meat.

Aside from dumplings, Cantonese varieties of buns comprise many Dim Sum specialties. Shanghai steamed buns are filled with meat, often seafood, and are distinguished by a hearty soup concealed within the bun. 'Bau' is another type of bun, served baked or steamed. A fluffy treat, 'bau' is filled with an assortment of meat and vegetables. Perhaps the most distinct and popular type of 'bau', 'cha siu baau' consists of Cantonses barbeque-flavoured pork, meat, and onions inside a light outer casing.

Many items within the Dim Sum catalogue don't fall as easily into the typical bun/dumpling category. Aforementioned phoenix talons (chicken feet), sesame seed balls, steamed spare ribs, lotus leaf rice, mango pudding, tofu desserts, spring rolls, egg tarts and fried squid are all potential features in a Dim Sum dining encounter. Some restaurants may offer up to one hundred different items on a particularly demanding day.

The Dim Sum experience

The extensive variety of  components in a given meal is almost as unique as the presentation itself. Trays and carts are wheeled around the dining room, brimming with sumptuous little dollops of dumplings. Diners scan the trays for tasty looking items and greedily pick and choose dishes to sample for their feast. Choosing plates constantly throughout the course of the meal ensures that everyone is satisfied and has been given the opportunity to savour a number of characteristic dishes. Chinese custom does not banish dessert to the final quarter of dinner, rather sweets are evenly dispensed among the heartier portions. As plates are emptied, the bill is calculated by tallying the total amount of crumb filled plates remaining at the table.

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