chinese tea and wooden steamer containing the dim sum
'Brand new' Mr. Iron Hide accompanied me for the Dim Sum Dinner... huhu
So, what is Dim Sum?
Here is a little explanation from Mr. Wikipedia
Dim sum (literally meaning "a bit of heart") is the name for a Chinese cuisine which involves a wide range of light dishes served alongside Chinese tea. Yum cha (literally "drinking tea") is the term used to describe the entire dining experience, especially in contemporary Cantonese. It is usually served in the mornings until noon time at Chinese restaurants and at specialty dim sum eateries where typical dishes are available throughout the day. Dishes come in small portions and may include meat, seafood, and vegetables, as well as desserts and fruit. The items are usually served in a small steamer basket or on a small plate. Some Chinese families like to gather for dim sum on special occasions such as Mother’s Day or Chinese New Year. Also, Chinese parents like to bring their children there Sunday mornings to meet and talk with their grandparents. Some people bring newspapers with them and discuss news with their families. Some Chinese restaurants offer discounts on menu items purchased before 11:00 A.M. and tea time discounts after 2:00 P.M. to encourage patrons to avoid the lunch rush.
Dim Sum is usually linked with the older tradition of Yum Cha (drinking tea), which has its roots in travellers on the ancient Silk Road needing a place to rest. Thus teahouses were established along the roadside. Rural farmers, exhausted after working hard in the fields, would also go to teahouses for a relaxing afternoon of tea. At first, it was considered inappropriate to combine tea with food, because people believed it would lead to excessive weight gain. People later discovered that tea can aid in digestion, so teahouse owners began adding various snacks.
The unique culinary art of Dim Sum originated with the Cantonese in southern China, who over the centuries transformed Yum Cha from a relaxing respite to a loud and happy dining experience. In Hong Kong, and in most cities and towns in Guangdong province, many Chinese restaurants start serving dim sum as early as five in the morning. It is a tradition for the elderly to gather to eat dim sum after morning exercises, often enjoying the morning newspapers. For many in southern China, yum cha is treated as a weekend family day. Consistent with this tradition, dim sum restaurants typically only serve dim sum until mid-afternoon (right around the time of a traditional Western 3 o'clock coffee break), and serve other kinds of Cantonese cuisine in the evening. Nowadays, various dim sum items are even sold as take-out for students and office workers on the go.
While dim sum (touch the heart) was originally not a main meal, only a snack, and therefore only meant to touch the heart, it is now a staple of Chinese dining culture, especially in Hong Kong. Health officials have recently criticized the high amount of saturated fat and sodium in some dim sum dishes, warning that steamed dim sum should not automatically be assumed to be healthy. Health officials recommend balancing fatty dishes with boiled vegetables, minus sauce.