The Story of Dim Sum, and Then Some

We are super excited about this week's show as it's a food we grew up eating in Hong Kong almost every weekend. This food is of course dim sum, and we tried our best to keep it under 40 minutes but we just had so much to say on the topic.

You'll hear from Wilson Tang, owner of Nom Wah Tea Parlor, the oldest dim sum restaurant in New York City, as well as Alex Chau, owner of Ding Dim 1968 in Hong Kong which celebrates the master chef's (his uncle) 50 years of craftsmanship.

We explain what exactly this cuisine is, and more importantly, its place in the tradition of yum cha of the Cantonese people. We touch on the possibly anecdotal history of how dim sum was born and the yum cha etiquette of tapping your fingers to thank someone for pouring tea for you.

We name the three must-know dim sum dishes, and share our personal favorites. And as it turns out, neither Lynda nor Iris is opposed to sucking on chicken feet.

Don't know what makes good dim sum? Alex tells listeners what to look for when judging the quality of it as well as sharing Ding Dim's belief on what makes a good dim sum chef.

"We always think experience, passion, and persistence makes good dim sum. Of course not everyone has talent, but as my uncle the master chef told me, everybody can make good dim sum as long as they are persistent, believe in the recipe, and stick with it". - Alex on what makes a good dim sum chef

Iris talks about the Cantonese diaspora and why dim sum and Cantonese food is perhaps one of the more familiar Chinese cuisines to Westerners.

We then cover the various recent changes and trends in the world in dim sum in both Hong Kong and New York, which seem to parallel each other. Goodbye dim sum carts, hello healthier items and all-day dining! We also cover the newest hate-it-or-love-it innovation in dim sum. Tune in to find out what "butt juice" has to do with yum cha. Wilson also tells us about the difficulties in finding dim sum chefs in New York and how it might become a lost art.

"It's going to be hard going forward. This is kind of a lost art. The average age in the kitchen of Nom Wah in Chinatown, it's over 50. It's becoming increasingly hard to find chefs that have the skill set to hand-pleat the dumplings or to make this certain kind of dough. It takes a long time to really learn how to do all the different marinades, make all the different skins, and make all the different fillings." - Wilson on the challenges facing dim sum restaurants

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