Siu Mai dumplings are pork and shrimp bites enclosed in a wonton, and usually served in a bamboo basket. These open-wrapped parcels of deliciousness are a ‘dim sum’ favorite and very healthy too as they are steamed. (Dim sum is a real Chinese tradition that originated in the Canton (Guandong) province of China. Teahouses opened up to provide travelers on the Silk Road with teas and snacks served in bamboo baskets, giving them their ‘yum-cha’ break.) I first tried dim sum in Hong Kong when I was about 13. My father took my brother and me on a trip to visit my aunt. I remember being woken very early on a Sunday morning (suffering horrendously from jetlag) and taken to a bright colorful restaurant in Kowloon Bay. We must have arrived at 8 a.m. because, my aunt explained, we had to get there early to avoid the lines. The timing was perfect: soon after we arrived crowds of Hong Kong residents gathered. We proceeded to eat our way through plates and baskets full of delicacies wheeled to our table on carts. Being Taiwanese, I couldn’t understand the waiters as they spoke only Cantonese but my aunt was very well versed and had everything under control. What a joyous breakfast and lunch it was – we didn’t leave until noon! Whenever I make this recipe, it takes me back to Hong Kong.
© 2006 Ching-He Huang. All rights reserved.