Monday, February 22, 2010

In praise of Dim Sum

It's high time for dim sum.

I'll be going with a friend later this week for a dim sum lunch - to celebrate the Lunar New Year 4708: Year of the Tiger. Both of us can hardly wait.

The proper approach to enjoying a meal of dim sum includes taking the time to pay attention to your fellow diner(s) by engaging in conversation.
No, not just the mmmmmmm and ahhhhhhhh whilst downing each tasty bite, but
participating in lively and leisurely chitchat.
A wee bit of witty repartee goes a long way to making the most of the special occasion of sharing a dim sum meal. DollinkFriendL and I will most certainly do just that.

My fam-of-origin referred to eating dim sum in a restaurant as 'yum cha'. The expression 'yum cha' means to 'drink tea'. Those two words alone evoke a meal taken in a deliberately slow manner. Sipping cup after cup (traditional Chinese tea cups are small) of tea while nibbling on bite-sized morsels of tasty fare is the right way to go about 'yum cha'. Pausing. Considering. Savoring.

I have fond memories of special times with just me and my Dad in the mid 1970's - when we'd frequently head into San Francisco Chinatown to a dim sum eatery for lunch. Our favorite places were the little hole-in-the-wall dim sum dives. Once settled at a table and ready to tuck into the first of many dim sum dishes, Dad would be sure to say 'Mon mon sik'. Translation: 'Eat slowly'.
His other meanings --- 'No rush. Take your time. Drink the tea. Relax. Talk a bit. Eat a bit.'

Dad and I would proceed to sit for a good long time, beckoning at the waitperson to bring over one or two dishes at a time of both savory and sweet tidbits. We poured tea for each other. Sipped slowly. Chatted. Laughed.
This was definitely quality Dad N' Daughter time.

Taking tea, partaking of dim sum and making sure there was plenty of convivial conversation to enrich the dining experience.

Dim sum etiquette?
You bet'cha.

Now let's go eat.

1 comment:

House Dreams said...

how vividly you paint your meal with your dear father.