A man without a pork bun in his hand can never be a whole man. That’s the eternal wisdom dished out by one of the street food merchants in the rather excellent Sleeping Dogs. Pork Buns aren’t just excellent Cantonese street food though; they’re one of many dishes that make up one of my very favourite Chinese food staples; dim sum.
Dim sum (literally, touch the heart) is a collection of small brunch-time snacks; delicious little morsels of the best Chinese cuisine has to offer.
The Pork Bun itself is a steamed white bun, containing bits of slow roasted Char Siu, a sort of honey-glazed roasted pork tenderloin in a wonderfully syrupy sauce. It’s both sweet and savoury at the same time. It is of course, just one of the many fine bits of gastronomy given us by dim sum.
Other favourites include Shu Mai, the common steamed dumpling. Made from ground pork, small whole or chopped shrimp, chinese mushroom, spring onions and ginger, seasoned with rice wine and soy – all wrapped in an ultra-thin dough. These little steamed bites, usually paired with chopped chillies and soy sauce are a delight.
While we’re on the subject of dumplings, this is one of the most popular with Chinese folk; Har Gao. deliciously decadent and tasty dumplings made of loosely minced prawn, in a smooth, translucent wrapper.
Chee cheong fan, or rice rolls are made of exactly that; rice flour mixed with a bit of tapioca. They’re steamed, then rolled up and filled with tasty things; usually pork, or shrimps – and served in a very light soy-based sauce. As a street food, they’re usually sold in bunches, bedecked in sesame seeds.
The last one I’ll talk about today is a fried dumpling called Ham Sui Kok, a deep-fried ball of dough made from gelatinous rice flour and stuffed with pork, shrimp, chinese mushroom and bamboo shoots. It’s crispy on the outside, soft, chewy and delicious on the inside.
That’s a handful of literally dozens and dozens of different dumplings, noodle, pastries and cakes that make up the dim sum experience. To mind there are two restaurants in JHB that do a particularly good dim sum spread; Shun De in Jhb’s new Chinatown, Cyrlidene (which is just an excellent Chinese joint overall) and Regal Palace in Linksfield. Go on a Sunday for brunch, have a cup of green Chinese tea and try something different.
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Last Updated: August 26, 2014