What do I remember the most about Sunday mornings?

The image of Dim-Sum surely pops into mind. Whether it be with family or friends, weekends would involve us strolling into a busy crowded Dim-Sum parlor in the mood for a traditional Chinese breakfast. A classic meal of Dim-Sum, or as it’s called “Yum Cha” in the Cantonese language, is typical for many Chinese families. Although it’s eaten weekly, it’s such a classic tradition that has become a part of our lifestyles that we somehow never seem to get tired of it. 

Literally translated into “Drink Tea”, the tradition of Yum-Cha started on the Silk Road of ancient China. As the story goes, it all began when a group of weary travelers needed a place to stop and rest during a long journey. The exhausted travelers eventually made their way into a teahouse on the roadside to relax. The Chinese soon discovered the many benefits of tea, including aiding in digestion and boosting energy and muscle endurance. In addition to that, tea is also loaded with cancer fighting antioxidants to help prevent heart attacks and other diseases such as pancreas, liver, prostate cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. Over the years, little wooden cartons of various snacks started to be added to the experience and these teahouses eventually turned into the Dim-Sum parlors that we know today. Although no longer the relaxing teahouses of the past, Dim-Sum parlors today provide a much livelier atmosphere, and serve as a fun place for crowded gatherings, food, and talk. In some older more traditional Dim-Sum parlors, Dim-Sum is actually served in tiny carts that waiters push around the restaurant, while calling out the various Dim-Sum options to hungry customers.

Although Dim-Sum is usually a morning or late afternoon meal, it’s now becoming a popular trend for many restaurants to serve Dim-Sum as dinner or even midnight snacks in some Cantonese venues in Asia and North America. With shrimp dumplings, BBQ pork buns, white turnip cakes, and wrapped sticky rice, the menu of Dim-Sum really runs as long as the Silk Road itself.


The list of teas that go along with it may be even longer, with Bo-Lei, Oolong, and White tea as popular choices. Despite the variety, one of my all-time favorite Dim-Sum is definitely Shu-Mai, tiny steamed dumplings stuffed with pork or prawns, and wrapped in a thin layer of wheat flour. Shu-Mai is usually topped with delicate crab roe and mushroom. I remember when we would go Yum-Cha growing up as a kid, I would personally request it every time. Freshly steamed and piping hot Shu-Mai is seriously to die for, so go ahead and try out this recipe and take a shot at making your very own Shu-Mai at home.

In the Chinese dictionary, Dim-Sum are two words that literally mean “touch the heart”, but that’s certainly an understatement. Over the years, it has definitely surpassed its purpose and ended up not only touching, but capturing the hearts of many, this Shu-Mai recipe will surely do the same.


Have Some Dim-Sum: Homemade Shu-Mai
Serves 14
Take a shot at making this Chinese classic at home!
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Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
  1. 11 ½ pieces of ginger
  2. 5 shitake mushrooms
  3. 1 scallion, finely chopped
  4. ¼ pound of ground pork
  5. 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  6. 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing rice wine
  7. 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  8. 2 teaspoons of corn starch
  9. Sea salt & ground pepper
  1. 12-14 square wonton wrappers
  2. 1 large egg
  3. Frozen peas and carrots as toppings
  4. Vegetable oil
  1. 1 tablespoon of Asian Chile paste
  2. 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  1. To make the filling, mix together the ginger, mushrooms, scallion, pork, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then mix together with your hands until all the ingredients are mixed well.
  2. To form the dumplings, place a wet paper towel over the wonton wrappers to prevent them from drying out, then remove 1 of the wrappers and brush it with some of the beaten egg.
  3. Making a circle with your thumb and index finger, lay the wrapper on top, and nudge down to create a cup. Add in 2 teaspoons of filing, then pat down the filling with the back of a spoon.
  4. Fold down the overhanging edges, leaving the filling exposed, then press the wrapper tightly around the filling. Pat the top and bottom of the dumpling so it’s flat.
  5. Place toppings on top of the dumpling, and repeat for the rest of the dumplings.
  6. To steam the dumplings, cut a round of parchment paper to fit into the bamboo steamer, then punch holes in the paper to let steam through. Line the steamer with parchment, then brush with vegetable oil. Place the dumplings into the steamer, cover, then place the steamer into a skillet filled with a few inches of boiling water. Making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the steamer, steam the dumplings 8-10 minutes, until the pork is thoroughly cooked.
  7. To make the sauce, mix the Chile paste and soy sauce in a small bowl and enjoy with the Shu-Mai!
  1. The peas and carrots are optional, another great choice for toppings are dried Goji berries.
Adapted from www.foodnetwork.com
Adapted from www.foodnetwork.com
So Good Blog http://www.sogoodblog.com/

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A writer and photographer who's in love with new experiences, visual art, and the written word. Born and raised in Chicago, I've also spent time living in New York City, Hong Kong, and traveled throughout various places. A travel enthusiast by heart, I love roaming new places and exploring the people & food that comes with it. As an avid story teller, I love sharing my discoveries, whether it be my latest travel experience or newest food adventure. I truly believe that food is the universal factor that connects all of us, no matter how different we may be in other ways, we cannot deny that there’s at least one thing that we love to eat and that one favorite food magically and unconditionally gives us comfort and pleasure. That feeling is one of the purest forms of happiness and I’d love to share that feeling through my work

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