China’s always been one of those countries that fascinates me. Its rich history, diverse culture and enchanting landscapes certainly make China one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. China is said to be the world’s longest surviving ancient civilization; its written records date back at least 4,000 years ago. Given that it has had a significant amount of time to flourish, China’s traditions and practices have developed into what is now among the most distinct cultures in the world.
Why do you think there are so many Chinatowns across the globe? People are interested in Chinese-made products and trading goods, but let’s be honest: it’s all about the mouthwatering food.
When a lot of people think about Chinese food, the first meal that often comes to mind is dim sum. Dim sum translates to ‘snack’ or ‘light pastry’, but to the Chinese it can mean much more. It’s been said that dim sum also means ‘touch the heart,’ which might explain why it’s so popular across the globe.
Top three cities to sample dim sum in China
The Forbidden City of Beijing is riddled with restaurants that serve some of the nation’s most note-worthy dim sum dishes. There are plenty of incredible locations to eat the best dim sum in Beijing, but two restaurants in particular are creating a buzz around town.
- The shrimp dumplings of Beijing’s LiYuan got a special mention, as they are perfect for pairing with a pot of hot tea.
- The ever-popular Jing Ya Taang has a “dim sum hour” which lets customers feast on various goodies – pretty unique if you ask me!
- If you’re an expat, check out Mr. Shi’s Dumplings as it has built an excellent reputation even for the most sensitive to foreign taste buds.
Should you find yourself in Shanghai, Travel + Leisure picked some of the best world-class dim sum spots in town.
- Crystal Jade, originally from Singapore, won’t disappoint with its Cantonese dim sum options such as crackling pork belly and sticky mango pudding.
- Those with a more refined palate should check out the Michelin-rated Xin Dao Ji. It’s been known to be a must-try for solo travelers and groups alike.
- Travelers who are interested in sampling some of Shanghai’s seafood dim sum would love Lei Garden, as it offers unique dishes such as braised abalone.
Indulging in delectable dim sum joints in Guangzhou is one of the reasons tourists flock to this bustling town.
- Southern Garden Restaurant has been serving great food since the 1950s and is known for serving up some of the most authentic Chinese fare in town. Vegetarians rejoice: the menu includes an extensive list of veggie options!
- Guangzhou Restaurant has been catering to dim sum lovers since 1935 and is most famous for prawn and pork dumplings. Just a heads up to travelers: the staff doesn’t speak English, so do your research ahead of time.
- Younger establishments include Summer Palace with its must-try steamed BBQ pork buns and Meixin Garden, which serves traditional as well as uniquely flavored dim sum for tourists.
Dim sum games for the global foodie
It’s food like dim sum that has spread Chinese influences across the four corners of the globe. Apart from being featured in innumerable Chinese and foreign movies, video game developers have also come up with ways to merge their love for dim sum as well as across mobile entertainment platforms. For instance, the time management game Dim Sum Master allows players to create virtual dim sum dishes for the customers’ delight and Spin Genie’s wide array of slot titles also has Win Sum Dim Sum with its designs patterned after the delectable cuisine. Thanks to interesting games such as the aforementioned, new people are finding out about the cuisine through trending games as opposed to reading about them online or in a newspaper. How times have changed.
Although the games we’ve mentioned are great, it goes without saying that dim sum is still best enjoyed as a real meal, and China’s highly urbanized locations are at the forefront in terms of serving these exceptional dishes.
Now that you have a selection of food stops, you won’t have to worry about finding a spot if you get hungry during your travels.
What’s your favorite international dish? Have you ever tried dim sum?