A dim sim is a Chinese-inspired meat
dumpling-style snack food popular in Australia. The dish normally
consists of a large ball of pork or other meat, cabbage and flavourings,
encased in a wrapper similar to that of a more traditional dumpling.
They are usually deep-fried or steamed, but can be barbecued.
Left: A steamed Dim sim.
Dim sims differ from typical Chinese dumplings in that they
are often much larger, have a thicker skin and are shaped more robustly.
Dim sims were brought to Australia by Chinese chef William
Wing Young for his restaurant "Wing Lee". According to Young's daughter,
celebrity chef Elizabeth Chong, her father was the first to create the popular
snack's style and shape in 1945, and to begin manufacturing them in commercial
Dim Sims are typically served with soy sauce.The dim sim has become a part of
Australian culture, and is considered by many locals as an Australian food.
Left: Dim Sims are
typically served with soy sauce.
Chinese view dim sims as Westernised food, as the dim sim has very strong
gingery taste to it that is uncommon in authentic Chinese food. Ginger is added
as westerners associate it with Chinese food, whereas Chinese use ginger during
cooking but do not eat it. Also, the deep fried version has a skin very unlike
the skin of deep fried authentic Chinese food.
There are four variants of the dim sim commonly found in
takeaway stores today:
Meat Dim Sim. This is the regular and most
common variety. It may be served steamed or deep fried and is usually slightly
cheaper than other varieties. The filling is mostly a mixture of ground pork and
lamb/mutton. When folded correctly, one end of the meat dim sim is left slightly
open and the overall appearance is a cylindrical shape.
Garlic Dim Sim. The garlic, or Hong Kong dim
sim is the most strongly flavoured dim sim. It is much rounder in comparison to
vegetable or meat dim sims and is fried to a distinctive dark golden brown
colour. The overall size is similar, or perhaps slightly larger than the meat
Chicken Dim Sim. Larger than the meat dim sim,
it contains chicken mince and cabbage and is folded to resemble more of a parcel
Vegetable Dim Sim. This is the largest dim sim
available and is nearly twice the size of a meat dim sim, and in comparison is
quite soft to touch, even after deep frying. It is mostly cabbage and carrot,
but may include other ingredients such as noodles. Vegetable dim sims are
unlikely to be served steamed.