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Dim Sum: Not Just A Cantonese Favorite Anymore
From The World Journal

In recent years, the Chinese population in New York City has been changing, with increasing number of immigrants from Canton, Hong Kong as well as other regions in China. As the Chinese community grows more diverse, dim sum, a Cantonese-style cuisine [offering] a variety of small dishes with tea, has become a popular choice among all Chinese gourmets.

Now in a dim sum restaurant, different Chinese dialects can be heard, including Shanghaiese, Sichuanese, and Fujianese, from customers who come from all over Greater China. There has also been an increasing number of non-Chinese customers.

Many dim sum chefs have been recruited from famous restaurants in Hong Kong. The dim sum culture has served as a major driving force to revitalize the restaurant business in Chinatown.

In the meantime, as the social and economic status rise to a new high, the new generation of Chinese-Americans are more willing to spend money on dining, and are paying more attention to the quality of the food. The dim sum culture has also transformed from “the bigger, the better” to “the smaller and the more delicate, the better."

For example, the roast pork buns used to come two per order, the size of a fist. Now they are served three per order, much smaller in size but more palatable in taste. Another popular dish, Peal Chicken or Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf, has also shrunk in size to make room in the customers’ stomachs so they can also enjoy other delicacies.

Meanwhile, as people’s eating habits change, more “healthy” dim sum dishes have been developed, such as Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, vegetarian dumplings and sprout dumplings.

In addition, to meet the flavor preferred by people from northern China, “Fried Dough Fun Rolls” a northern version of the popular Shrimp Fun Rolls or Roast Pork Fun Rolls, have also been created.

Shi-wen Liu, an experienced waiter in Chinatown, said the dim sum business has experienced a dramatic transformation in recent years, shifting its focus from quantity to quality. In the olden days, dim sum restaurants catered to traditional Chinese and new immigrants with limited spending power. They provided dishes that were known to be “big servings with cheap prices,” but there was hardly any quality.

Nowadays, as younger and wealthier generations become the main customers, the restaurants are starting to serve smaller dishes but of a higher quality and more nutritional values.

Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung

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