The new season calls for light appetites and lighter meals to go with the appetite. Often times, we end up eating less per meal but more meals, nibbling our way throughout each day. Dim Sum is just about perfect - literally mean ‘little morsels', dim sum can be regarded as one of the most complex food item in the Chinese cuisine, covering various culinary techniques through their preparation. The joy of having dim sum in a city like Hong Kong is not only will you have the traditional Har Gau (Shrimp dumplings), Shao Mai (Shrimp and pork dumplings), and ChaXiuBao (Barbecued Pork Buns), you are also likely to encounter dim sum varieties that keep us going back every once in a while. Starting with this season, two restaurants are presenting their novel morsels to delight a diner's appetite.
Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira is presenting a selection of new dim sums, adding extra colours into their rich variety of dim sums available at the restaurant. The "Steamed Sweet Potato with Shrimp and Vegetable Dumplings" come four dumplings in each bamboo basket. Purple-colored sweet potatoes are peeled and cut into small bite-sized chunks and steamed until soft. Other filling includes pea tendrils and fresh shrimp. Wrapping up the three main ingredients, each dumpling is folded with clean pleats along the ridge of each dumpling, and steamed until perfection. Unconventional it may seem, the sweet potatoes act as a sweet element that surprises the palate when one would expect only of the usual vegetable and shrimp combination.
Glistening like crystal prisms are ‘Steamed wild mushrooms and black truffle dumplings'. With a more translucent wrapper, these vegetable-filling dumplings are lighter from texture to flavor. Zucchini and a blend of different mushrooms are diced and stir-fried, finally finished with the addition of black truffle paste for extra a taste of luxury. The mushroom flavor is potent, but even better is how light it tastes with the crunchy cubes of zucchini.
"Steamed Scallop and Egg White Dumplings with Birds' Nest" are exactly what the name suggests - with fluffy stir-fried egg whites and scallops as filling, the crown-shaped dumpling is topped with fine juliennes of Chinese ham, a dollop of bird's nest and bejeweled with salmon roe. The scallop has a light flavor but it shines through the dumpling, complimented by the savory intensity of the Chinese ham.
For a sweet finish, the Steamed Red Date Pudding presents a different kind of fruity dessert. Red dates from Xinjiang province are famous for its plump appearance and moist fruity interior. These red dates are steamed, mashed and mixed with cassava flavor to make a pudding batter, which is then steamed alternating with a lighter-colored layer made with cassava flour with coconut milk. The contrasting layers of pudding brings richness and fruitiness all in one slightly chewy bite of pudding.
Above and Beyond, the Chinese restaurant at Tsim Sha Tsui's Hotel Icon, is collaborating with Guangzhou's White Swan Hotel, inviting the latter's famed Dim Sum chef, Chef Qiu WeiGuo to Hong Kong for a "Traditional Cantonese Specialty Dim Sum" promotion, which runs from July 2 to 15. Chef Qiu will be presenting an array of traditional Cantonese dim sums that emphasizes not only on the technicality of creating dim sums, but also the versatility of their development over the years, combining elements from the East and West from culinary influence to ingredients used.
The "Baked Chicken Liver Pastry" is a case in point. Chef Qiu slow-cook chicken livers and mash them into filling, which will be wrapped in sweet pastry dough and shaped into tiny chickens and baked until golden brown. The chicken livers, despite advanced cooking before filling the pastry, remains soft and creamy.
Another prime example of head-to-tail eating in the dim sum kitchen is the "Baked Duck Brain Pastry with Sesame". Prepared in similar fashion as the chicken liver pastries, duck brains are cleaned and mashed into a pate-consistency for filling a flaky pastry. The key to a well-flavored pastry in this case, is to add batons of scallions before putting the filled biscuits into the oven. The crusty biscuits are flaky on the outside, and creamy in the inside. A smear of mustard will help lighten the richness of the biscuit.
Other specialty dim sums from the promotion includes a "Steamed Bun filled with simmered pomelo skin and pork belly" as well as a Pork-fat steamed Beef Shaomai with dried tangerine peel, and many more.