Dim Sum Tasting Tour

With one of the largest Chinatowns in North America, and more than half of the city’s population claiming Asian ancestry, meeting friends for a dim sum brunch is a Vancouver weekend tradition. Dim sum is a style of Chinese cuisine that is served as small dishes, usually in the morning through until mid-afternoon, along with copious amounts of tea. In some places, it’s instead called "yum cha", which literally means "drink tea". These servings of bite-sized morsels are easily shared among friends and family, making dim sum a great alternative to an eggs-and-bacon brunch. 

Vancouver has many fantastic places to go for dim sum. In Chinatown try Floata Seafood Restaurant, the biggest Chinese Restaurant in Canada. Kirin Restaurant has locations in downtown Vancouver, in Richmond, and on Vancouver’s west side at 12th Avenue and Cambie Street, all of which offer excellent, high-end dim sum dishes. Below are a few must-try dishes to get your dim sum feast started. 

Dish: Pork and Shrimp Dumplings

WHAT TO KNOW: Also known as siu mai, these dumplings are a traditional dim sum dish, often filled with ground pork, chopped shrimp, green onions and ginger, then topped with fish eggs. While perusing the dim sum cart, you’ll notice that many of the options are in dumpling form, ranging from steamed shrimp dumplings to pan-fried potstickers, but siu mai is one staple you won’t want to go without.

Dish: Turnip Cake

WHAT TO KNOW: Dim sum often includes one or more cake-like dishes, such as water chestnut cake and green onion cake, but one of the most well-known is turnip cake. Made with shredded daikon radish, turnip cake is pan-fried and has a thin, crispy layer on the outside and a soft inside. They are more savoury than sweet and often come with some kind of sauce, such as hoisin or oyster sauce.

Dish: Barbeque Pork Buns

WHAT TO KNOW: Bau, or buns, are a must-try dim sum item. Imagine fluffy, white steamed buns, stuffed with an assortment of fillings, from vegetables to bean paste. The most popular are the barbecue pork buns, which are filled with sweet and savoury Cantonese barbecued pork.

Dish: Lotus Leaf Rice

WHAT TO KNOW: This delicious rice dish is a mixture of sticky rice and various ingredients, typically chicken, pork, egg and water chestnut, all wrapped in a bamboo or lotus leaf and steamed. 

Dish: Egg Tart

WHAT TO KNOW: At the end of a dim sum feast, make sure to finish on a sweet note. Although traditional Chinese sweets include everything from mango pudding to deep-fried sesame balls, you won’t want to miss the egg tart. These miniature pie-like desserts tout a flaky pastry crust, filled with sweet, creamy egg custard. 

❐ For a full listing of places to enjoy Dim Sum in Vancouver, click here.