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Yum cha! Dig into Dim Sums

Rahul Sachitanand, Deepti Khanna Bose, Ritwik Mukherjee and Anumeha Chaturvedi     May 12, 2008

The Oberoi, New Delhi

The who’s who of Delhi rate it as their favourite restaurant for dim sum lunches. We spotted Riddhima and Bharat Sahni dining here when we dropped in to try the dim sum fare. Done up in shades of yellow with silk curtains thrown in, Taipan, the Chinese restaurant at The Oberoi, New Delhi, has been consistently voted as the best in the business by food critics. Master Dim Sum Chef Sam Hee says his dishes are a major draw here. Guests dining at the restaurant can choose from a wide array of dim sums such as Thai Chicken Dumplings, Schezwan Fish with Sesame, and White Cabbage Rolls with Soya Garlic Sauce.

The Dim Sum tip: Roast Duck Dumplings and Shanghai Chicken Dumplings
Where: Dr Zakir Hussain Marg , Lodhi Colony, New Delhi
Contact: 011-24363030
Meal for two: Rs 2,400 (inclusive of taxes)

ITC Sonar, Kolkata

Kolkata remains the “Chinese capital” in India, at least from the culinary point of view. No wonder then that dim sum meals are very popular here. The dim sum lunches at the Pan Asian in ITC Sonar, however, are a class apart.

On offer are several delectable handcrafted dim sums, including Sui Mai, Four Seasons, Shullong Bao and many more. There are very few restaurants that get their Sui Mai (dumplings with an open end) right. The transparency of the skin, and the taste and appearance of the dim sums are the key notes defining a perfect execution of oriental culinary expertise. It needs years of practice to make the steaming handcrafted dim sums to perfection. Steamed dim sums are healthy, too. Come here to try a lovely dim sum lunch with your choice of Chinese tea.

The Dim Sum tip: This place is famous for its Four Seasons (Prawn or pork dim sums) and Shullong Bao dim sums. Also try the Wothib (chicken or lamb dim sums)
Where: 1 JBS Haldane Avenue (Opp Science City), Kolkata
Contact: 033-23454545
Meal for two: Approx. Rs 2,900

 Dim Sum walkers club?

Travellers on the ancient Silk Road needed a place to take a nap, so teahouses were established along the roadside. Rural farmers, exhausted after working on the fields, also went to teahouses to relax in the afternoon. At first, no food was served along with tea, as combining the two was believed to lead to excessive weight gain. But later, as people came to discover tea’s digestive properties, teahouse owners began adding various snacks and the tradition of dim sum evolved.

Today in China, many restaurants start serving dim sums as early as 5:00 in the morning. It is a tradition for the elderly to gather to eat dim sums after morning exercises, often enjoying the morning newspapers over the meal.

A Hearty Meal

Dim sums are a wide range of light dishes served alongwith Chinese tea. Dishes may include meat, seafood, and vegetables, as well as desserts and fruits. They are usually served in a small steamer basket or a small plate. Yum Cha (literally “tea drinking”) is the term used to describe the dining session. The Cantonese phrase also means “touch the heart” or “order to your heart’s content”.

The Taj Lands End, Mumbai

Ming Yang sounds exotic. And the dim sum platter at this Taj Group restaurant lives up to its rather interesting name. With a plethora of meal combinations, Ming Yang (it means Rising Sun) offers richly flavoured cuisines from various regions, including Shanghai, Beijing, Schezwan and Canton, churned out under the supervision of Master Chef Yui Kwong To, popularly known as Chef David.

Adding to the aesthetic set-up of Ming Yang, designed on the principles of Feng-Shui, is the fact that the restaurant serves what are arguably the finest dim sums in Mumbai. Catering to the elite who know and appreciate their dim sum, Ming Yang has a Chef’s Special Dim Sum Basket, best enjoyed with the unimpeded view of the Arabian Sea and the Portuguese Fort. Of course, a variety of Chinese tea is on offer as well, for no authentic dim sum meal is complete unless combined with cups of Chinese tea.

The Dim Sum tip: Try the Har Kaw (Steamed Prawn Dim Sum), the Chicken Kothe (Steamed and Pan-fried Chicken Dim Sum) or the Veg Sui Mai (Vegetable Dim Sum) here.
Where: Taj Lands End, Band Stand, Bandra (West), Mumbai
Contact: 022- 66681234
Meal for two: Approx. Rs 2,500

The Leela Palace Kempinski, Bangalore

The Leela has a specialist dim sum chef from China and, according to a few good men who swear by the food here, he serves the most authentic fare in the country. Dim sum denotes light and boiled dishes that are usually served for breakfast and dinner. Zen’s Cantonese chef Huang Zhiwen has received rave reviews from expats and local residents alike, and his offering of around 40 dim sum options draws a regular and loyal clientele. For the authentic dim sum experience, the dough has been imported from China, since local options don’t allow the chef to impart a thin, transparent look to the dish. To accompany the dim sum, there are at least 20 types of Chinese tea on offer, including exotic-sounding names such as Golden Dragon, White Toney, Dragon Pearl and Rose Pearl.

The Dim Sum tip: Try the Hakkao, a combination of bamboo shoot and prawns. Or Xi Zi Pai Gu (pork ribs with black beans and chilli)
Where: 23 Airport Road, Bangalore
Contact: 080-25211234
Meal for two: Rs 2,000

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