Foodie Friday: Taro Cake

Taro cake: a savory cake akin to radish cake One of my go-to dishes at dim sum places is the radish cake. This is a rectangular cake that's pan-fried. The taro cake is the like the cousin to it--except made with the taro vegetable. Since I haven't been able to dine in recently, I got a frozen package of taro cakes. They actually fried up pretty well (although they didn't have such a vibrant purple color when I made them). Overall, a nice treat to have when wanting to dim sum at … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Siu Mai

Siu mai: dim sum dumplings, usually filled with meat I can’t believe I haven’t food blogged about this before. Siu mai is a staple of the dim sum cart. The dumplings are quite distinctive because of the pleated edges that decorate their tops. Usually, these dumplings are filled with ground pork, and possibly shrimp. A few other ingredients like mushrooms and scallions round out the flavor. Like other steamed dumplings, the layer of dough is very thin, so it’s the taste of the … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Fried Taro Puffs

Fried taro puffs: steamed taro with crunchy exterior Taro puffs may not be the healthiest choice on the dim sum menu, but they're quite tasty! I love the contrast of the two textures. Inside, there's the nice steamed mash of taro root (usually combined with pork and mushrooms). Outside, there's the crisp exterior with crunchy strands. If you'd love to make your own batch, here's a recipe for them. … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Spare Ribs

Spare ribs: classic dim sum dish with steamed ribs Although I'm a big fan of dumplings and little bites, I still enjoy heartier dim sum dishes as well. One of these: traditional steamed spare ribs. The ribs have a savory flavor that is enhanced with a liberal garnish of fermented black beans. Here's a simple recipe for those who want to try it out in the kitchen.   … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday First: Tofu Wrapped Shrimp Roll

Tofu wrapped shrimp roll: kind of like a shrimp egg roll, but made with tofu skin wrapper I'm usually all about the tried-and true dishes when I go out for dim sum. The other day, though, I stumbled across tofu wrapped shrimp rolls. I really like bean curd wrappers, but these were especially intriguing because they were crunchy. They actually reminded me of the phyllo dough used in baklava. The shrimp stuffing was pretty tasty, too, but I think I like the undiluted taste of whole shrimp, like … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Fried Radish Cake

Fried radish cake: square cake made of white radish; often served at dim sum This dim sum dish is a staple when I go yum cha. It's made from a white radish known as daikon. The texture is soft on the inside, but there's a crisp outside edge to it. I like lo bat go either plain, or sometimes, with a side of hoisin sauce. My aunt used to make these from scratch--and my mom, too. It takes a big steamer and a long wait, while the cloying scent floats in the air and seems to permeate even the … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Chicken Feet

Chicken feet: a dim sum delicacy               Waste not, want not. Chicken feet is a common dish on dim sum carts. Its distinctive claw-like pose helps you discern it even from a distance. I haven't had them since early childhood, but the skin is supposed to be quite gelatinous. (Just be careful of all the small bones.) Some diners have an art of popping the foot in their mouth and extracting all the meat invisibly (kind of like … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Char Siu Bao

Char Siu Bao: steamed white buns with sweet roasted pork inside These ubiquitous buns are found in all dim sum restaurants. With their outer soft bread layer, they're one of my favorites. The best part is the inside: char siu, with its distinctive coloring. Yes, I know it's unnatural for pork to be bright red, but there's something festive and cheerful about the color. It reminds me of the holidays, and it doubles as a lucky color. Here are some fun red things I've seen: -Red qipao: … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Sticky Rice

Sticky rice: sweet glutinous rice steamed in a lotus leaf (typical fillings include mushrooms and Chinese sausage, but you can tailor it to your taste) I love how this food is sheltered in a leaf; its steaming goodness assaults you when you open it. It's like unwrapping a culinary present every time. It also reminds me of the holidays because on Thanksgiving, we use sticky rice to stuff our turkey. It's a great blend of American and Eastern traditions. Nowadays, though, my local dim sum … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Egg Tart

Egg Tart, or dan tat: circular pastries characterized by an egg custard middle and pie-like crust on the outside Egg tarts are, hands down, my favorite part of dim sum. I was distraught when I missed it twice in a row this past Chinese New Year's. These delicious egg pastries come in two kinds:-Original: A thicker, heavy crust that surrounds the soft inside  -Crispy: A delicate crust that flakes off at the slightest touch (my preferred version)If you're ever in the Hawaii area, you can find the … [Read more...]