Yum cha, or "tea lunch," is a treat for the entire family. Many Chinese families reserve Sunday mornings for this outing. It is not only an opportunity to savor the delights of dim sum, but to visit with friends as well.
The Chinese call the little delicacies served at tea lunch dim sum, which translates as "touching your heart." And that indeed is what these small morsels do. The advantage of sampling them at a teahouse is the great variety available. It may take you several visits to determine your favorites. There are steamed shrimp and pork dumplings, deep-fried egg rolls and taro-root dumplings, green peppers with shrimp filling, and on and on.
Dim sum is based on Cantonese dim sum, it is all good at color, fragrance, taste and shape, its characteristic is that the ingredients used are of best quality and plentiful, variety is numerous, style is novel, tastes are various, it suits the needs of every eater and four seasons.
The first step in yum cha is the selection of your tea. The waiter will ask you for your choice, and you might take this opportunity to try a variety you haven’t tasted before, such as loong jaing (dragon’s well), po nay, jasmine and so on.
There is no need to ask for a menu. The food will come to you on carts or on trays. Some items are on plates, some in metal or bamboo steamers; each serving contains 2 to 6 pieces, depending on the item. There are four main groups of food from which to choose. The first is made up of steamed dishes like shrimp or pork dumplings and pork buns. The second group is the variety group, such as parchment chicken, pickled mustard greens and duck or chicken feet. The third classification covers deep-fried items: egg rolls, rice rolls, pork triangles and others. The fourth group is comprised of sweet items like sponge cake, coconut jelly, and delightful custard tarts.