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Breaking The Misconception: Dim Sum Are More Than Just The Dumplings

The first thing that comes to the mind of many when dim sum is mentioned is dumplings. Actually, with that being said, the first idea that people have when it comes to Chinese cuisine is the dumplings. It cannot be denied that dumplings are really famous, not only in mainland China but also all throughout the world. It is not surprising that people only think of such when dim sum is the topic.

However, there are more to dim sums than just the dumplings. Dim sum have around a hundred varieties of dishes that are far different from dumplings, even halal dim sum is available.

To further enumerate the differences between dim sum dishes and dumplings, here are some facts to remember:


Dim sum is the general term for the Chinese dishes that are served in small portions. These are bite-sized meals that usually come in 3 to 4 pieces when served. There are different ways to prepare dim sum: steamed, fried and sometimes baked. There are around a hundred different dim sum dishes and each one is different from the other.

Dumplings is another broad classification of food that is wrapped in a piece of dough that can be made out of different starch sources. Dumpling is only one of the many dishes in the dim sum family. It is also called as the crescent moon shaped wonton or the jiaozi.

Both dim sum dishes and dumplings can have different fillings. It can be meat from chicken, pork, beef, seafood, vegetables and spices. Both of also have different ways of cooking such as boiling, steaming or frying.


Dim Sum literally means “touch the heart” and it’s frequently associated with “yum cha,” the Cantonese phrase that means “to drink tea”. The history of dim sum and its name goes a long way to hundreds of years ago, when laborers, tourists and travelers would pass by the Silk Road and just stop at local teahouses to rest, drink tea and just converse with anyone in the place. The food served was intended to give them energy and strength to continue their work and journey.

Dumplings’ history is also as old as the dim sum. These are crescent shaped bite sized food that became famous because it symbolizes wealth, fortune and prosperity. Dumplings are very important, especially in the Spring Festival and Chinese New Year because of the luck it brings. The crescent moon shape is also similar to the golden Chinese ingot which is also believed to bring about good luck.

Famous Dishes
  • Famous dim sum dishes: Dim sum (diănxīn), Buns (bāozi), Dumpling (jiăozi), Siomai (shāomài), Potsticker (guōtiē), Hargaw (xiājiăo), Siopao (shāobāo), Rice rolls (chángfĕn), Plain Steamed Buns (mántou), Sticky Rice wrapped in Lotus leaf (zòngzi), Spareribs (páigŭ), Chicken feet (fèngzăo), Radish cake (luóbogāo), gg tart (dàntà) and Taro puff (yùjiăo).
  • Famous dumpling variands: Chiu-chao fan guo (this is steamed dumpling that’s with shrimp, peanuts and pork), Hargau (this is shrimp dumplings that is steamed), Siu mai (this is steamed shrimp or pork dumplings that is open-topped), Jiucaibau (this is skin dumplings fried wheat starch with chives), Wu gok (this is simply taro dumplings) and Haam sui gau (this is glutinous rice dumplingdeep-fried with pork).
How To Eat

Generally, the method of eating is the same. The dim sum etiquette applies to both or all the dishes in dim sum and dumplings. It can be eaten using chopsticks or fork and both are best eaten when partnered with tea. Preparation is also technically the same. Both can be stuffed and filled with different ingredients and spices. It can be boiled, steamed or fried.

How It Is Ordered Or Served

Dim sums are usually served in between meals, just as a form of snack or during tea time. Dumplings are best served after a meal because of its starch content. It is served to ensure that the people who ate are fully satisfied and satiated. In Halal certified restaurants, you can also order halal dim sum.
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