Dim Sum Menu Items

2009/02/27 14:49:51
This is an update of a post that I made about two years ago. Sundancer7’s request for more dim sum information on another thread inspired me to dig out 30+ years of notes and menus accumulated from numerous trips to several U.S. cities and Toronto ON.

For several years, I’ve thought about assembling a fairly comprehensive listing of [

Since my original post,  I’ve been able to locate internet photo links for each of the dim sum items, which will make identification a little easier when diners are ordering from trolleys rather than a printed menu.

Steamed Dim Sum Dishes

JIAOZI (jao-tze, Mandarin) or GOW GEE (Cantonese)Chinese Dumplings
Gow Gee, made of ingredients wrapped in a translucent rice-flour or wheat starch skin, may be either steamed or pan-fried. When people refer to Jiaozi, they generally mean dumplings that are boiled in water or broth.   http://tinyurl.com/d45ktl
HAR GAO (aka Ha Gow, Har Gau)Shrimp Dumplings 
Crescent-shaped shiny dumplings filled with minced shrimp and bamboo shoots and wrapped in a light translucent rice-flour or wheat-starch skin.  Four dumplings to a steamer basket.
SHAO MAI (aka Siu Mai, Siew Mai, Shu Mai)Pork and Shrimp Dumplings
Muffin-shaped dumplings made with won ton egg pastry skins and filled with minced pork, shrimp, bamboo shoots and black mushrooms and dotted on top with an orange-colored mixture or minced carrot. Four dumplings to a steamer basket.
FUN GUO (aka Fun Gwar,Fun Gor)Minced Pork and Dried Shrimp Dumplings
Shaped like a half moon, these dumplings have a translucent wheat-starch skin wrapper stuffed with minced pork, bamboo shoots, dried shrimp and Chinese parsley. Three dumplings to a steamer basket. 
NGAU JUK KAU (aka San Juk Ngow Yuk, Ngau Yuk)Steamed Beef Balls
Ground beef mixed with minced ginger and dried tangerine peel, shaped into large meatballs and steamed on bean curd skin strips. Often topped with Worcestershire sauce. Two meatballs to a steamer basket.
NGAU BAK YIP (aka Ngow Toe)Steamed Beef Tripe
Honeycomb Tripe cooked until tender and steamed in black bean and garlic sauce. Served in a small dish with a small dish of chili dip on the side.
PAI QUAT  (aka Pai Qwat, Pai Gwat)Pork Spareribs in Black Bean Sauce
Small pieces of spareribs meat still on the bone are steamed with a garlicky black bean sauce. Served in a small dish.
FUNG TSOW (aka Fung Zau, Fung Jeow, Fung Jaw)Steamed Chicken Feet
Either stir-fried or deep-fried, then marinated in black bean or oyster sauce and finally steamed. Typically dark red in color. Served on small plates with a vinegar dipping sauce on the side.
ARP JEUNG (aka Up Cheung)Steamed Duck Feet
Duck webs steamed in oyster sauce.  Served on small dishes.
 SEEN JUK GUENBean Curd Rolls
Bean curd skin stuffed with minced pork, shrimp and vegetables, rolled and deep fried and then steamed with sauce. Two rolls per serving.  
CHA SIU BAAU (aka Char Siu Bow, Char Siu Bao)Barbequed Pork Bun
Fist-sized steamed or baked leavened sweet wheat bun, either steamed to be fluffy and white, or baked with a light sugar glaze to produce a smooth golden-brown crust. Filled with minced barbecued pork. Break bun and dip in soy sauce before eating. 
GUY BOW (aka Gai Bow)Chicken Bun
Similar to Cha Siu Baau, but with a minced chicken and black mushroom filling. 
DOW SA BOWRed Bean Paste Bun
Similar to Cha Siu Baau, but filled with a sweet red bean paste. Topped with a red dot to signify that it’s sweet, not savory. 
WOO TAO GO (aka Wu Tao Go)Taro Root Pudding Cake
Taro roots are mashed and mixed with minced dry-cured pork, dried shrimp and green onion, placed in a cake pan and steamed. The purple-gray colored cake is then cut in squares with a soy sauce dip on the side. Two slices per serving. 
LARP CHEUNG GUEN (aka Lap Cheung Guen) -- Steamed Chinese Sausage Rolls
White rolls partially encasing sweet Chinese sausage which sticks out at both ends. Two rolls per serving. 
LARP CHUEN GUY FARNChinese Sausage and Chicken over Rice
Small marinated on-the-bone chicken pieces and a piece of sweet Chinese sausage are steamed over a rice casserole.
 PAI QWAT FARNSpareribs over Rice
Small pieces of marinated on-the-bone spareribs are steamed over a rice casserole. 
Pan-Fried Dim Sum Dishes

Law Bark Go (aka Lo Bak Goh, Law Bok Gow)Chinese Turnip or Daikon Radish Cakes
White Chinese turnip (similar to Japanese daikon) is shredded and mixed with minced Chinese Larp Cheong sausage and green onion in a rice flour batter. The mixture is then placed in a cake pan and steamed. Once cooled, the cake is sliced and pan-fried and then sprinkled with soy sauce before eating. Two slices per serving.
LO MAI GAI (aka Ngor Mai Guy)Glutinous Rice Tamale with Chicken
This cubic lotus-leaf package contains glutinous rice, stuffed with chicken and pork, sausage and/or vegetables. The package is cut open and sometimes drizzled with a soy-based sauce before serving. One tamale per serving. 
YEUNG LA JEEL (aka Ha Yu Yeung Lot Jiu)Stuffed Green Peppers
Green bell pepper squares are stuffed with ground fish meat or shrimp paste, pan-fried and then drizzled with a black bean sauce. Three pieces per serving.
http://tinyurl.com/bma3zs     Also, Gee Yuk Chen Jiu (Pork Stuffed Green Peppers). 
YONG TAU FOO (aka Yeung Dow Foo)  Stuffed Bean Curds
Hollowed-out squares or  triangles of bean curd are stuffed with seasoned ground fish meat, pan-fried and drizzled with black bean sauce. Two or three pieces per serving.
WAR TIP (aka Wor Tip)Northern Chinese Pierogies
Flour and water dough is rolled out, cut in small rounds, stuffed with a minced pork and vegetable filling, folded into a crescent shape and pan-fried until crunchy on the bottom with the top remaining soft and pliable. A Worcestershire sauce dip is served on the side. Three dumplings per order.
CHEUNG FUN (aka Cheong Fan)Rice Noodle Rolls
Wide, long white rice noodles, sometimes speckled with green onions and dried shrimp, are steamed and then stuffed and rolled. Popular fillings include shrimp, beef, barbecued pork, chicken and various vegetables. The slippery noodles are pan-fried until slightly brown and sometimes served with sesame seeds and hoisin, soy or chili sauces.    Two noodles per serving.
Some common Cheung Fun dim sum dishes are: Ngow Yuk Cheung Fun (beef rice rolls); Cha Siu Cheung Fun (barbecued pork rice rolls); Ha Cheung Fun (shrimp rice rolls).
Deep-Fried Dim Sum Dishes

HARM SHIU GORK (aka Hom Suey Gok, Ham Sui Gok)Salty Water Dumplings
Half-moon-shaped dumplings of glutinous rice-flour dough stuffed with minced pork and vegetables and then lightly flavored with five-spice powder. The dumplings, which are deep-fried to a golden brown, are crunchy outside and slightly sticky inside. 
 Other deep-fried Gork dumplings include Gee Yoke Gork (pork and water chestnuts in an egg pastry), Jar Ha Gork (shrimp turnovers in a rice pastry) and Woo Gork (pork, shrimp and vegetable turnovers in a taro pastry).
HEUN GUEN (aka Chun Guen, Chun Juan, Cheun Gyun)Spring Rolls
Spring rolls can be meat-filled, vegetarian or a combination. Long thin rolls are stuffed and then deep-fried. Vegetarian spring roll fillings may include shredded dried mushrooms, carrot, bamboo shoots, wood ear fungus and cabbage. Non-vegetarian spring rolls may also include shrimp or shredded pork. The rolls are then deep-fried until crispy. The rolls are usually cut into sections at table and sprinkled with Worcestershire sauce, if desired. Two spring rolls per serving.
HA DOR SEEShrimp Toasts
Bread pieces are smeared with raw shrimp paste, cut into triangles and deep-fried to a golden brown. Sometimes topped with Chinese parsley sprigs or sesame seeds. Three triangles per serving.
JAR SEEN YOW (aka Yau Yu Sou) -- Crispy Fried Squid
Sliced squid pieces or tentacles are dipped in seasoned flour and deep-fried. Normally served on small plates with a sweet and sour dip on the side.
WOO GORK (aka Woo Gok, Wu Gock, Woo Kok)Taro-Root Dumplings
Mashed taro root and flour are mixed, stuffed with diced ****ake mushrooms, pork and dried shrimp and formed into long oval dumplings. The filling is lightly flavored with five-spice powder. The deep-fried dumplings are cut in half before eating.
YEUNG HI KEEMStuffed Crab Claws
Claws are wrapped with a shrimp-meat mixture, deep-fried and served with a hoi sin sauce dip on the side. Two claws per serving.
JAR WUN TUN (aka Jow Won Ton)Fried Won Tons
Ravioli-like dumplings, with a minced pork, shrimp and water chestnut stuffing, are deep-fried to a golden brown. A sweet and sour dip is served on the side or poured over the won tons. Three or four won tons per serving.
Dim Sum Dessert Dishes

DAHN TARD (aka Dun Tot, Dan Ta, Dan Tart, Don Tot, Dan Tat)Custard Tart
Small, flaky pastry tarts, filled with egg custard, baked until golden brown and served warm. The filling is soft and sweet. Two tarts per serving. 
JIN DEUI (aka Jeen Dui, Jin Doi)Fried Sesame Balls
Glutinous rice balls stuffed with sweet red bean or lotus seed paste, rolled in sesame seeds and deep-fried until golden brown. The rice dough is sticky, chewy and crunchy. Two or three balls per serving.
GOW CHUN GO (aka Gow Chung Go, Chien Chang Go)Nine Layer Cake
Made with two types of sweet egg dough batter – one white and made with milk and the other pink and made with a red-colored rice mixture. Each layer is steamed separately and then stacked before being cut into cubes.

DOW FOO FAR (aka Dou Fu Fa) -- Soybean Curds
Cooked soybean milk is coagulated into soft curds. It’s served hot or cold topped with brown sugar or sugared water. 
MA LAI GO (aka Mar Lai Go)Steamed Sponge Cake
Three-inch square steamed cake made with eggs, flour and brown sugar. Light and sweet, but somewhat bland. 
BAK TONG GOWhite Sugared Pudding Slices
Rice flour, baking powder and sugar are mixed. Sugar water, egg whites and wheat starch are added and combined. The dough is allowed to rise to a spongy mass in a cake pan. Then it is steamed, cooled and sliced into thick pieces. 
Dim Sum Related Dishes

CHOY SUM or GAI LANChinese Greens
Kong stalks of these green vegetables are blanched and served with a soy-based sauce. Other vegetable dishes sometimes are not available during dim sum hours.
CONGEE (aka Joke, Joak, Zhou)Rice Porridge
Limited varieties of congee are usually available during dim sum hours.
The most common congee  probably is Pei Dahn Sow Yuk Joke (Preserved Black Duck Egg and Pork Congee
Congee specialty restaurants, such as this one http://tinyurl.com/cxbnb3,
 serve dozens types of congee varieties but very few dim sum items.

post edited by GeoNit - 2009/02/28 10:46:32
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/02/27 14:57:48
Man I miss the west coast.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/02/27 14:59:55
Woo gok (the deep-fried taro dumplings) are my absolute favorite thing to have when I have dim sum, with two caveats:  1) they have to be freshly fried -- if they've been sitting around and have cooled off, they are pretty disgusting, and 2) be prepared to have the exterior crust shatter and cover the tablecloth, and you, with crumbs that can be challenging to brush off.  Well worth it, though.
My current favorite woo gok are served at Dragon Castle in London (near the Elephand & Castle tube station).   Generally speaking, I've had better woo gok in Canada and the UK than here in the US, but I certainly haven't tried every dim sum place in this country, so your experience may differ from mine.  
I've never been served woo gok cut in half, though.  Maybe the comment above is instructing the person who is eating them what to do.  If so, I never got the memo, which is probably the reason I make such a mess when I eat woo gok.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/02/27 15:49:06
thank you for such a comprehensive list.

The only ones I refused to try are duck and chicket feet.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/02/27 15:52:42
The links did not work for me. Did they work for anyone else?
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/02/27 15:54:36
I only clicked on two of them.  One worked.  The other didn't.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/02/27 15:57:07
one of my favourites is a banana leave stuffed with sticky rice, sausage, ribs, and a bit of chicken.
Filet Mignon
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/02/27 16:16:12

thank you for such a comprehensive list.

The only ones I refused to try are duck and chicket feet.

A few years ago, we were having dinner at at Chinese restaurant.  The waitress knew that we were adventuresome eaters so would always tell us what the "real chinese food" specialties were that evening.  One evening, she told us about a duck feet dish.  The three year old grandson insisted on ordering it and so we let him.
He  kept saying how good it was.  (I am sure that he liked the attention he was getting from the waitstaff and the owner more than the actual presentation)  He kept chewing away and saying how wonderful it was  (it was not to my taste) and everytime we went to a Chinese restaurant for the next two years, he would ask for duck feet!

Double Cheeseburger
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/02/27 16:25:39
@Greymo: I suspect he liked the attention. Knowing how most little kiddoes are, that is what the appeal was. How cute and adorable!!

Laughs..I have tried chicken feet at home. GROSS. But, that is nice to say, it is not my something that appeals. Nor do I care for pig ears.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/02/27 16:31:34

thank you for such a comprehensive list.

The only ones I refused to try are duck and chicket feet.

I think you would surprise yourself at just how good they are.
My Czech mother made chicken noodle soup all winter long.  The thing was, her chicken noodle soup was  with chicken feet.
They are chicken flavor on crack.  Love them.  Just close your eyes and nibble and let your tastebuds be the judge.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/02/27 16:37:08
@wartoad: When we were kids and Dad was still alive (he died young), she made soup with the bones and necks and feets.

Then after soup, she and dad would nibble on them. We three girls look back to them in horror.

Laughs..i like your suggestion. Maybe that is what i should try. Close my eyes and nibble on it.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/02/27 16:38:14
addendum: WarToad..sorry for putting it the diminutive.
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/03/04 03:13:07
Nice list, thank you!  Must be some regional differences in the actual presentation/eating, however.  I've never been served any dipping sauce with chicken feet, since it usually comes in a sauce of its own. 

I've also never seen char siu bao dipped in soy sauce.  Steamed bbq pork buns are a childhood favorite of mine, and this seems like an awfully strange way to eat it and doesn't sound terribly traditional.  May I ask where you saw this practice?

How many pieces of X per serving usually varies, too.  It's against tradition to serve things in groups of four, but I've seen it done, particularly for small dumplings like shu mai.  Dishes like the custard tarts can also be served in threes, depending on size.  I kind of prefer it that way, as they usually come toward the end of the meal and I'm too stuffed to eat more than a couple bites of it.  ;)
Born in OKC
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/04/29 05:12:41
GeoNit -
My opinion remains the same several years after I first saw your dim sum list:  This is one of the best and most useful posts ever on this message board!
There is one change I'd suggest in the event you ever make another revision.  That would be to add the chinese characters or ideographs for each item.  I sometimes see dim sum menus with no translation.  I would try to puzzle out the meaning if I had the chinese as a reference.
Re:Dim Sum Menu Items 2009/04/29 11:23:44
As a "gwai lo" I share your frustration with no English  translations on menues and Chinese character only "specials" posted on restaurant walls.

I think Gary Soup provides some menu translation lists through links  on his website:  http://www.eatingchinese.org/ .