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Chinese snacks and sweets info Tips and Information

Chinese snacks and sweets info and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.


chinese snacks and sweets info

There is an enormous variety of Chinese savoury and sweet snacks which are eaten between meals and during banquets. Such treats have been savoured by the Chinese for hundreds of years. Originally they were enjoyed only by members of the Imperial household whose chefs concocted savoury delicacies such as minced pheasant dumplings and sweet ones made from steamed milk and sweet bean sauce. Over the centuries these and many less expensive versions have found their way into the diet of the ordinary Chinese. By 1900 Cantonese restaurants were the acknowledged masters of this speciality. Appropriately the Cantonese term for such snacks is dim sum which means eating snacks for pleasure or order what you fancy. Today Hong Kongs Cantonese restaurants are some of the best places to enjoy dim sum because there the range of snacks is both wide and adventurous.
Dim sum are eaten between mid morning and late afternoon and most usually as a light inexpensive lunch. Many dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong are enormous consisting of a number of cavernous rooms which are jam packed at lunchtime as family and friends meet to gossip or discuss business. The noise is deafening.
In many restaurants no menu is presented. Diners are provided with a pot of tea cups small plates and chopsticks. Waiters and waitresses circulate around the huge rooms pushing trollies containing various dim sum. Diners stop the trollies and select whatever appeals to them sometimes accumulating as many as 3 dozen different small dishes. Tea is drunk throughout the meal which is why dim sum is sometimes referred to as yam cha the Cantonese words for drinking tea. At the end of the meal the bill is calculated by counting up the number of small plates or steamers on the table. It is all great fun.
Dim sum come in all flavours and can be hot sour sweet or spicy. They are prepared in many different ways although some of the most popular are cooked in attractive little round bamboo steamers which are then transported in stacks on dim sum trolleys. Some of the most popular dim sum snacks are:
  • Spring roll (chun guen): the familiar deepfried pastry filled with vegetables and meat.
  • Barbecued pork bun: (cha siu bau): steamed or baked buns filled with delicious pieces of roasted pork.
  • Pork dumplings (siu mai): dumplings filled with minced pork and steamed.
  • Steamed spareribs (pai gwat): spareribs cut into short pieces and steamed with black bean sauce.
  • Shrimp dumplings (har gau): delicate light dumplings filled with shrimp and pork and steamed.
  • Fried taro dumplings (woo kok): mashed taro root filled with pork and deepfried.

    If you have never tried dim sum do seek out a Chinese restaurant which serves them. (You will find not every Chinese restaurant offers them as they require the expertise of special dim sum chefs.)
    As for desserts I knew nothing of them as a child. In authentic Chinese tradition my mother served fresh fruit at the end of a family meal usually fresh oranges cut into wedges. Puddings icecream and sweets were unknown to me until I ventured out into the nonChinese world. Of course Chinese desserts do exist although they are not a feature of the cuisine as they are in the West. They usually come in the form of sweet dim sum but I find most of them overpoweringly sweet. I have therefore included recipes for some of the simpler and less sickly Chinese desserts. Of course one may serve European style desserts at the end of a Chinese meal but my experience is that the subtle and complex tastes and flavours of Chinese dishes are best appreciated when followed by a simple dessert of fresh fruit.
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