Now that daytime dining is back in full swing, it’s time to dream about delicious ways to spend an afternoon. If you need to push the boat out further than the less-than exotic prospect of lunch at noon, how about satisfying your rediscovered daylight cravings with lunch, brunch or breakfast, or a combination of the three? The Cantonese are well ahead of us then, with their answer to all three meal times: dim sum, which is eaten from sunrise through to a mid-afternoon snack, and is Hong Kong’s answer to the Friday brunch. Dim sum is not only about dumplings. An expression for a meal time and style of eating, rather than a dish, it describes the perfectly wrapped treats, steamed and fried dumplings, buns, rolls, puffs and tarts. If you’re new to this edible art form, here’s our fool-proof guide that’ll have you ordering like an expert in no time. View Top dim sum restaurants in Dubai
Har gau How now, har gau? These classic steamed dumplings can help you learn your vowel sounds, while putting a chef’s kitchen skills to the test: the dough should be elastic yet translucent, the prawns plump and juicy.
Glutinous rice in lotus leaf Everyone loves opening a parcel and here’s one you can eat. Sticky rice with a meaty stew at its centre steamed in a lotus leaf ‘wrapping’. Don’t eat that bit though.
Cheung fun Keen on cannelloni, but wish it was healthier? Meet cheung fun. These huge, slippery, steamed rice flour tubes come stuffed with the likes of juicy prawns, and sit in a puddle of thin sweet and salty sauce.
Bau We kowtow to the ‘bau’ (which means ‘bun’). There’s actually more than one way to stuff this doughy bad boy, but the most common version in Dubai is the barbecue chicken riff on China’s ‘char sui’ original.
Sesame paper prawn roll Go to one of the smarter dim sum spots and seek out this superior version of the ubiquitous spring roll. Sample a rice paper tube filled with prawns, smothered in sesame seeds and fried until golden, and you ought not to be disappointed.
Xiao long bau There’s no going halfsies with these Shanghainese soup dumplings. Put one in your mouth and the pretty steamed parcel will pop, releasing a steaming hot ginger broth and a juicy little ball of meat stuffing.
Siu Mai These ‘open’ dumplings, designed to represent an abundant and overflowing basket, come with a dense minced chicken centre, a hint of juicy prawn and a tiny orange garnish: crab roe if it’s a posh place, or a piece of carrot at the cheaper end.
Beef spare ribs This cheap cut is typically bathed in a sweet, dark marinade ahead of being given a right roasting (the good kind).
Egg tart Sweet dim sum are traditionally eaten during the meal rather than as a dessert. This Hong Kong classic is thought to have filtered over from Macau, where the Portuguese colonials instilled a love of their baked custards tarts.