Originally a Cantonese custom, dim sum is inextricably linked to the Chinese tradition of “yum cha” or drinking tea. Teahouses sprung up to accommodate weary travelers journeying along the famous Silk Road. Rural farmers, exhausted after long hours working in the fields, would also head to the local teahouse for an afternoon of tea and relaxing conversation.
Still, it took several centuries for the culinary art of dim sum to develop. At one time it was considered inappropriate to combine tea with food: a famous 3rd century Imperial physician claimed this would lead to excessive weight gain. As tea’s ability to aid in digestion and cleanse the palate became known, tea house proprietors began adding a variety of snacks, and the tradition of dim sum was born.
Today, dim sum is served throughout China. In The Taste of China, Ken Hom shares his memories of enjoying regional variations of “small eats”: jiaozi in Beijing, pearl balls in Shanghai and spicy huntuns (wontons) in Szechuan province. But, he agrees with others that the best dim sum in China is found in Canton, with its wide assortment of sweet and savory dishes ranging from meatballs to sweet cakes. Still, it is probably true that the best Cantonese dim sum chefs are found not in China but in Hong Kong, where restaurants begin serving dim sum as early as 6:30 in the morning and continue through mid-afternoon
Sumber : sarilautnelayan