Yum Cha Is Chinese Brunch – 點心
I read online:
“Originally a Cantonese custom, dim sum is inextricably linked to the Chinese tradition of “yum cha” or drinking tea. Teahouses sprung up to accommodate weary travelers journeying along the famous Silk Road. Rural farmers, exhausted after long hours working in the fields, would also head to the local teahouse for an afternoon of tea and relaxing conversation.
Still, it took several centuries for the culinary art of dim sum to develop. At one time it was considered inappropriate to combine tea with food: a famous 3rd century Imperial physician claimed this would lead to excessive weight gain. As tea’s ability to aid in digestion and cleanse the palate became known, tea house proprietors began adding a variety of snacks, and the tradition of dim sum was born.”
I still prefer the version my Chinese language teacher, Mrs. Ng, told us in class when I was in primary 4. The story goes like this “Long time ago in China, there lived a poor but very loving couple. Everyday before dawn, the husband would work on the farm and only return home late at night. As time goes on, the hard work took a toll on his health. Seeing this, the wife tried to persuade the husband to come home for lunch and dinner in between farm work but he refused, saying only when the day’s work is done shall he eat. The wife was exasperated but she came up with a brilliant idea. One night, she prepared all the husband’s favourite dishes but in small bite size portions, keeping them warm in steamers, while waiting for his return. She named this meal Dim Sum 點心 (Cantonese words literally meaning “to touch heart”) because that’s what she was trying to do – to show her love and thank her husband at the same time.
Ray and Vanessa gave me a farewell treat the day I left Melbourne. It was Ray’s suggestion to have Dim Sum brunch at Harbour Town, Docklands area. I guess it’s their way of saying “Thank you and I love you”.
Dim Sum meals are mostly steamed, pan-fried and deep-fried. You can find more about authentic history of dim sum and the typical menu items here. Some restaurants do not have dim sum menu so you pick what you like from the trolleys as they move around the restaurant.
1. Beanskin Roll (腐皮捲) 2. Steamed Pork Spare Ribs (排骨) 3. A variation of Har Gao (蝦餃) 4. Shrimp Meat on Fried Tofu Squares 5. Fried Wanton 6. Siu Mai (燒賣) 7. Rice Rolls with BBQ Pork (叉燒腸粉) 8. Another variation of Har Gao (蝦餃).
Rice Rolls (腸粉) – Popular fillings include dough fritter (picture above), shrimp, and barbecued pork, topped with a sweetened dark soy sauce. Picture below is the one with barbecued pork (cha siu) filling.
The restaurant seemed to be quite popular even though it was situated behind the mall. The food is fresh, tasty and a tad pricey. Our only complain is the lack of roast meat corner. Can you imagine a Yum Cha place by day and Chinese Restaurant by night (with live seafood tanks) that do not serve ANY roast meats? That’s why you don’t see any pictures of roast duck, roast chicken, cha siu or siu yoke here. Overall a pleasant dining experience. I guess that’s because I had good brunch company!