What to order in a Yum Cha meal

Wander Woman

GROWING up Chinese, having dimsum is a given. This is the Chinese counterpart of the Western brunch. Instead of bagel, eggs benedict or sausages, we have dumplings, noodles, rice rolls. I know it sounds heavy and loaded with carbohydrates and truth be told, it is a heavy meal. We call it Yum Cha.

In Dai Tung in Vancouver, the restaurant was packed to the brim on a weekend Sunday brunch. The usual suspects of a dimsum brunch were what was ordered by our kind relatives. The hakaw which is the steamed prawn dumpling is a regular. I liked the steamed prawn with scallop dumplings that were rich with every bite. Our relatives also ordered the Chiu-chow dumplings with prawn, pork, chives, jicama, radish and coriander and peanuts. Huge balls of brown beef meatballs wrapped with tofu sheets or skin is one of my favorites as the ball is flavorful, and steamed. Stewed beef tendon and tripes in Dai Tung's special sauce was also served in bamboo dimsum baskets. Of course, the pork dumpling was also served. In most dimsum places, they do not have chili garlic sauce we are accustomed to in the Philippines. And no, they do not have Philippine lime or calamansi. I miss Mister Siomai, the fastfood of all dumplings with its chili garlic sauce with a slice of calamansi.

Rice rolls, made from rice flour, tapioca and wheat starch, is like the Chinese version of crepes. The basic rice roll is filled with different fillings such as assorted meat, beef with cilantro, crispy fish cake and shrimp paste. These rice rolls are designed with a leafy green, normally Gai lan, on the side, and sweet soy sauce. This sweet soy sauce is usually made of soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil.

Other dishes that play a starring roll on dimsum brunches are the deep fried dishes. The pan fried buns with pork and vegetable is a common one. Think of it as siopao but deep fried. There is also the Pan fried bean burd wraps with Shrimp and pea leaves. And another particular one is pan fried daikon cake with Chinese sausages. Daikon is the local labanos in the Philippines. And just like our lumpiang Shanghai, which originated from the Chinese merchants and introduced the dish to the Philippines, a dimsum brunch is not complete without a deep fried spring rolls filled with shrimp and pork. Taro, or gabi in Filipino is used as dumplings that are deep fried with minced pork. And the root is also used in another dish with is pan fried and shredded. This is more the sweet side and our relatives look at this dish as more of a dessert.

As with every Chinese meal, it has to have noodles and rice. Our relatives ordered the Yee mein with Chinese mushroom and yellow chives. The Fu Chow style seafood fried rice was also shared. This is a wet style fried rice with prawns, seafood, egg and creamy sauce with sliced broccoli stalks- not your usual dry fried rice, definitely.

So next time you are feeling adventurous and want to veer away from the usual tapsilog, or a Western breakfast, try Yum Cha instead.

Dai Tung is at 1050 Kingsway, Vancouver, British Columbia +160-872-2268

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