Jade Villa

聚都粤菜酒家

- Jade Villa Chinese Restaurant -

Authentic Chinese & Cantonese Cuisine - (757) 473-2228

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Dim Sum

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.

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It took several centuries for the culinary art of dim sum to develop. 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. 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. In the US, dim sum came about as a natural result of 19th century Chinese immigrants - most of whom were from the Canton region - settling on the East and West coasts. Some gourmands believe that dim sum inspired the whole idea of "brunch" - combining breakfast and lunch into one large midmorning meal.

Many of the dim sum dishes are either steamed or deep-fried. Among the former, you'll find everything from steamed pork spareribs and char siu bao - steamed buns with roast pork - to har gao, those wonderful shrimp dumplings with the translucent skin. Deep-fried treats include mini spring rolls and Wu Gok, a type of taro turnover. Egg custards are a must dessert. All of the above are washed down with copious amounts of green tea.

Instead of ordering from a menu, you choose from an assortment of dishes that servers push around on carts. If you're looking to have a romantic lunch, then a dim sum restaurant probably isn't the best choice. First off, the atmosphere is hardly conducive to romance, what with the clattering of trays, people calling out their orders, and large groups of people talking at each table. Besides, the best way to enjoy dim sum is with a group; otherwise you'll fill up on a few items and miss the opportunity to sample everything. On the other hand, you can always take home the leftovers!

For the novice, the noisy atmosphere in a dim sum restaurant can take a bit of getting used to. But it's a great way to sample a variety of intriguing tastes and flavors. Somehow the typical Sunday brunch - with its standard fare of eggs, sausage, bacon and other dishes – can’t match the culinary appeal of Chinese dim sum.