A dim sum-mer to be relished

A dim sum-mer to be relished

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Executive chef Tsang Fan-yiu with junior reporters (from left) Brianna Chan, Steven Chong, Jelyn Advincula, Minal Daswani, Andrea Leung, Gigi Choy, Natalie Fung, Heyna Wong and Karen Yan who show off their creations at the workshop
Executive chef Tsang Fan-yiu with junior reporters (from left) Brianna Chan, Steven Chong, Jelyn Advincula, Minal Daswani, Andrea Leung, Gigi Choy, Natalie Fung, Heyna Wong and Karen Yan who show off their creations at the workshop
Photo: Edmond So
Last week, nine Young Post junior reporters had a wonderful experience making dim sum at Super Star Seafood Restaurant. This was the first time most of them had ever tried to make the traditional Chinese delicacy. Chef Tsang Fan-yiu showed the reporters how to mould the dough into fancy sea-animal shapes and they ended up with some tasty treats. Here, they report on what they learned.

Steven Chong

Every Sunday I have dim sum for breakfast. Har gau, siu mai and the sort seemed ordinary, but last week I found the creative side of dim sum. Roll it a bit, clasp a bit, press a bit, and a dumpling becomes a mini-sea horse!

This workshop gave me an opportunity to bring my creativity into play. Although it was not my first dim sum-making session, I still found it enjoyable watching the chef press the dough into a thin pastry. I'm sure that he was putting years of effort into practice. It was an honour to see his performance.

On top of that, I was impressed by the perfection of dim sum. A colourful dough requires exquisite ingredients for the pastry and fillings. It has to be cooked in a fast and easy way to retain the moisture and freshness.

Next month we will celebrate my mother's birthday. Let me try to make dim sum for her with my 'sum' ('heart' in Cantonese).

Brianna Jade Chan

I had always thought that making dim sum required a lot of skill and patience. This was a great opportunity to try my hand at making the most famous snacks from China. I enjoy cooking, but had never tried making such delicacies before.

What is the relationship between dim sum and art? I'd never thought about it before, but since taking part in this workshop, I've realised there are some similarities. One must be creative and have a steady hand for dim sum to look attractive. I learned the basics of making some of my favourite dim sum, including har gau that looked like sea horses, steamed-bun penguin look-a-likes and spring rolls in the shape of squid. To my delight, the food turned out well in looks, taste and texture.

I hope more people would be interested in learning how their favourite dim sum is made, as each and every piece is crafted with care. The next time you go to a restaurant for tea, appreciate how much effort a chef puts into these tasty delicacies for us to enjoy.

Andrea Leung

Before taking part in this workshop, I had thought making dim sum was very complicated and was not sure whether I could handle it. However, it turned out that making dim sum can be very easy.

We were taught to make three types of dim sum in the shapes of the sea horse, penguin and squid. To help us, the restaurant had prepared most of the ingredients, such as the stuffing, beforehand and the chef Mr Tsang demonstrated twice before we started. Despite that, we were still a little confused. Mr Tsang helped us a lot and gave us valuable feedback. He encouraged us to use our creativity.

After steaming the dim sum for about half an hour, we were all delighted to see our own lovely creations and were unwilling to eat them. I will definitely follow the recipe and make it again with my family.

Karen Yan

We learned how to make dim sum with the award-winning chef Tsang Fan-yiu. It was a very valuable experience because most of us who had cooked before had only made Western food.

We made three types of dim sum and the squid-shaped-andflavoured spring roll tasted the best to me. The chef also prepared some marshmallow rabbits and honey-egg crackers for us to taste.

Of the three types, the penguin was the hardest to make because it had the most complicated steps and was the most difficult to mould. But all the hard work was worth it because it was the best dim sum I'd ever eaten.

Heyna Wong

I couldn't imagine I had joined this workshop with eight others. We made dumplings, we laughed together. Some of us are foreigners and do not speak Cantonese. However, throughout the process, we shared our unique Chinese culture with the foreigners.

The dim sum we made was just so yummy. I let my friends try it and they were amazed at the food.

Before, I had thought it would be very difficult to make dim sum, let alone delicious dim sum. But I now realise everyone can make delicious dim sum for family and friends, if we have the time and interest to do it.

The chef was so nice - he came round to teach each participant how to master the technique. We could all feel how he enjoyed creating new types of dim sum.

Jelyn Advincula

I had walked into the bright, spacious, reserved room expecting to learn how to make those yellow dim sum pieces that you always order in Chinese restaurants. They are so common and the taste never lets you down. But when I saw the glossy photos of the dim sum we were going to make that day I was surprised. It wasn't the food you typically eat; it was the food you stare at until you are compelled to eat it because there is nothing else tasty enough and handy enough in the kitchen.

When the chef showed us how to make the sea-horse-shaped dumpling, he made it look so easy, just a couple of movements rolling and pinching the dough. But when you get back to your own cooking table, put the stuffing in the middle of the dough, fold it in half and seal the edges - you forget what to do next. You create silly little folds made up in your head and come up with something akin to a sea horse's mouth. After some time, you learn how to make the mouth and fins and feet and hands a little better, you work with the dough better, and your dim sum looks a little closer to something that you wouldn't just stuff into the mouth before admiring it first with your eyes. I would recommend this workshop to anyone who likes having fun with food.

Minal Daswani

We went to Super Star Seafood Restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui and were taught how to make three types of dim sum. We first learned to make a sea-horse-shaped dumpling with a shrimp and spinach filling. The chef then taught us how to make a sweet 'penguin'. I found this the hardest because the filling kept spilling out. Afterwards, we made squid dumplings that were like spring rolls but with a squid filling and pastry legs.

My favourite was the sea-horse dumpling, followed by the squid dumpling. I think my penguin dumplings were the best, presentation-wise. The hardest part of making the sea-horse dumpling was creating the marks on the sides while trying to keep them from ripping. The toughest part of making the 'penguin' was ensuring the stuffing stayed in.

The workshop was an enjoyable experience and I hope we get to do something similar again in the near future.

Gigi Choy Naigee

Cantonese food has always been my favourite cuisine, and dim sum is certainly one of the most interesting dishes. Har gau, char siu bao, cheung fun, spring rolls ... they make your mouth water, for sure!

Under the supervision of a chef, we learned to make three types of adorable animal-shaped dim sum. It was easier than I'd thought, probably because the ingredients were prepared in advance and all we needed to do was to mould each piece into the right shape. Even so, some practice and skill was still needed to make a pretty 'penguin'.

Being a successful chef certainly requires patience, delicate fingers and creativity. This experience makes me appreciate the efforts of professional chefs: they work in a hot kitchen with steamers around and try their best to serve customers fresh and delicious food. The next time you eat dim sum, remember to thank the incredible chef.

Natalie Fung

Exquisite 'sea horses', compact 'penguins' and sophisticated 'squid' laid out as your meal - can you believe your eyes? Chef Tsang shows you how to do it.

The workshop was my first experience working with a chef. Gazing at the 'miracles' created by him, I held my breath, totally astonished. With his rapid movements, plain flour, sugar, butter and assorted ingredients turned into appealing animal-shaped dim sum.

When it was our turn to show off our cooking skills, I could hardly do anything well. The custard spilled out, the spring roll wrappers were torn off ... I sighed in despair. Fortunately, Tsang's guidance brought me closer to my target.

The best moment was the feast, enjoying our mouth-watering creations. My snacks looked a lot different to Tsang's, though the flavour was good and the fillings generous. The food vanished in my mouth.

Through the 'adventure', I gained a different interpretation of art. Art may be abstract, but it can be integrated into dim sum.

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