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Old April 29th, 2005, 01:32 AM   #1
hkskyline
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Dim Sum (點心)

Dim sum is bad? Hong Kong bites back
By Keith Bradsher
The New York Times
THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2005

HONG KONG A report by the Hong Kong government suggesting that eating many kinds of dim sum regularly may be bad for your health has provoked a strong reaction.

Practically every Chinese-language newspaper in Hong Kong has run a banner headline about it across its front page. Scrolling electronic displays in subway cars have flashed the news, and the report has become a topic of breakfast, lunch and dinner conversations at Chinese restaurants across the city.

Longtime dim sum lovers are indignant. "The government is putting its thumb on every part of citizens' lives, and it shouldn't be telling anyone how dim sum should be served," said Wong Yuen, a retired mechanic and truck driver who says he has eaten dim sum every morning for the last two decades. "People can make their own decisions. If it's unhealthy, they can eat less. They don't need the government to tell them."

Dim sum, which means "touch of the heart," is usually eaten at breakfast or lunch and includes steamed or fried pastry dumplings stuffed with anything from pork and beef to shrimp and egg custard.

Many other savories, like mango pudding and egg tarts, are also dim sum. For instance, the Cantonese restaurants of the local Maxim's chain serve 100 kinds of dim sum, while regional cuisines from elsewhere in China have their own kinds of dim sum.

But based on laboratory analyses of 750 dim sum samples, Hong Kong's Food and Environmental Hygiene Department found high fat and salt and low calcium and fiber in everything from fried dumplings to marinated jellyfish. The report suggested that local residents should eat these kinds of dim sum in moderation and choose more dim sum like steamed buns and steamed rice rolls.

Regular dim sum diners should order plates of boiled vegetables, which is not customary, to go with their meals, the report said, and should beware of some steamed dim sum for which the ingredients are fried, like bean curd sheets.

The report came as a shock here because dim sum is a part of the culture of Hong Kong.

Families gather every Sunday morning in dim sum shops across the city, grandparents showing grandchildren how to hold their chopsticks properly. Wealthy taitais, the fashionably dressed wives of powerful men, take breaks from their shopping marathons and spa visits to try costly varieties of tea and nibble the occasional har gau, a shrimp dumpling, or kwun tong gau, a shark's fin dumpling in a rich broth.

The mainstays of dim sum restaurants across Hong Kong are retired men like Wong who come every morning of the week to socialize, sip tea and occasionally order a small freshly steamed bamboo basket with several delicacies inside.

These are the avid dim sum consumers whom the government here is trying hardest to reach and who are not enthusiastic about hearing the government's warning.

The restaurants have large tables seating a half-dozen or more customers, and diners are routinely seated with strangers. Sitting on Tuesday morning in the Sun Chung Wah Restaurant, where the ham shui kok, or fried pork dumplings, leave little yellow lines of grease on a plate, Wong, who is 86, periodically gestured with his chopsticks as he explained how important these dim sum breakfasts were to him.

"I meet people here every day," he said. "We don't know each other at the beginning, but we talk."

Dr. Ho Yuk-yin, the community medicine specialist who oversaw the government report, said that no one wanted to stop such meals. But residents, especially older residents, need to be aware of the risks of relying too much on dim sum.

There are some hints here that even without the government warning, a new health consciousness is starting to spread here. In the more expensive restaurants, working women and taitais alike can sometimes be seen dabbing their dim sum with tissues to soak up some of the grease and daintily pulling away the fried exteriors of some dumplings with their chopsticks before popping them into their mouths.

Some women - few men - even pour a little hot water, provided to dilute tea, into a small bowl and dip the dim sum in it, for a rinse to remove oil before eating it.

Perhaps proving the cynical adage that it is more expensive to eat healthful foods, the restaurants that are trying to reduce the fat and the salt in their dim sum are often not cheap.

One of them is the Man Wah Restaurant at the top of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, with magnificent views of Hong Kong harbor and I.M. Pei's Bank of China tower.

The restaurant stopped using monosodium glutamate, or MSG, 15 years ago. In a more controversial decision, it switched from lard to vegetable shortening five years ago. But Henry Ho, the restaurant's Chinese culinary adviser, said the renunciation of lard had cost the restaurant valuable points in the city's fiercely contested dim sum competitions.

"We are gradually reducing the fat in the dim sum because the hotel won't let us have a high fat content and because we are concerned about health," said Kong Churk Tong, the chief dim sum chef, who has more than 30 years of experience and stood in his kitchen wearing an immaculate tunic and tall chef's hat, all in white. "A high fat content adds to the flavor."

Wong Kin Yum, the chief dim sum chef for the 28 Cantonese restaurants of the Maxim's chain, said that steamed dim sum had long been more popular than fried, and the gap had widened over the past two decades as more diners have become aware of the health risks associated with fried foods.

Maxim's restaurants and especially Man Wah are not especially economical, with a dim sum lunch at the Man Wah running $25 a person with inexpensive tea and no wine.

By contrast, Wong, the retired mechanic, paid just $2.82 for tea, a bowl of porridge with pork and preserved duck eggs and a plate of cheung fun, a steamed, folded sheet of wheat flour with pork inside.

He brushed aside the government warnings as he relished his food. "I'll just keep eating pork," he said, "the greasy kinds of pork even."
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Old August 24th, 2009, 04:46 PM   #2
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Old August 24th, 2009, 04:54 PM   #3
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hkskyline resurrecting ~3 year old threads, strikes again!
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Old August 25th, 2009, 02:08 PM   #4
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你好!

我叫高賽飛, 我現在住在上海,我後天要去香港辦一個新的簽證. 我想知道香港最好吃的點心酒樓. 就是吃早茶的那種. 我去香港的時候都去佐敦的 '聯邦皇冠大酒樓' 我覺得那邊還不錯, 你們可以推薦更好更地道的酒樓嗎? (請寫地址或貼他們的網站) 謝謝喔
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Old August 25th, 2009, 03:26 PM   #5
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Where have you had the best dim sum meal in Hong Kong then?
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Old August 25th, 2009, 04:30 PM   #6
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聯邦. 可是我要吃香港人吃的點心 阿 最地到的酒樓.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 06:54 PM   #7
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Do we still have those traditional tea houses that serve dim sum and let the old people hang their birds up?
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Old August 26th, 2009, 10:25 AM   #8
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Well I will be in hk tomorrow and friday on bizniz, I will be bust tomorrow so I hope to be eating my dim sum friday morn.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 02:24 AM   #9
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蓮香樓 in Central is probably one of the most traditional tea house still around today.
See: http://www.linheung.com/

But there is no reservation. Tables are shared. Very limited service.
And be ready to fight for your food.

Check these out for a intro:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOPYdRyH2As#t=8m15s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtxwX9B6KfA
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Old December 6th, 2009, 05:50 PM   #10
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Fans give Wan Chai landmark rowdy send-off
1 December 2009
South China Morning Post



One of the city's few remaining old-style Cantonese restaurants, the 60-year-old Lung Moon Restaurant in Wan Chai, closed down last night after serving a final banquet to a full house of customers.

The music and chat were loud during the evening but along with the sadness at the loss of a beloved establishment, there were grumbles about the cost - customers said the owner had ramped up prices during the last month until dim sum cost almost three times what they had.

The 4,000 sq ft, four-storey restaurant was sold in June to a developer for HK$420 million, 120 times what the owner paid for it in 1975, after its operators said business had dwindled in the face of competition from fast-food shops in the past decade.

Wreckers are expected to clear the site for redevelopment into a residential block and shopping mall.

Yesterday morning, familiar faces sipped tea while hundreds of fresh visitors streamed in to steal a glimpse of the past. People took pictures against the backdrop of the dragon gate and red lanterns at the entrance.

Food fans scrambled to try the signature dishes, such as charcoal-roasted pork, goose and big buns.

Mong Kar-mo, 76, had yum cha at the restaurant yesterday morning as he had every day for the past 15 years. Though he was a bit down about it closing, Mong knew that "all good things must come to an end".

"There are times to say goodbye," he said, savouring his last few bites of turnip cake. "But I will definitely miss this place. I've met many friends here - other customers and the members of staff. If not for this place, we might be strangers."

Sitting next to Mong, Tsang Kam-yuen recalled how they became friends 10 years ago when they shared a table because the restaurant was full and discussed current affairs. "It's like young people like chatting on the internet, we old folks enjoy expressing our opinions here," Tsang said. "We talk and we make friends."

A student who visited the restaurant with a camera lamented its closure. "It's a shame that a special place like this is going to be pulled down," Andrea Lau, 19, said. "I like the old-styled decor."

A newspaper vendor who has operated in front of the restaurant for 49 years recalled that in its heyday in the late 1970s, the restaurant operated 24 hours and diners could rent a newspaper for 50 cents if they did not want to buy it. He will have to fold up his stand when demolition begins.

When the farewell banquet began at 8pm, the restaurant was filled with noise from more than 400 guests and a live band. Diners filled all three floors, a rare scene in recent years.

Managing director Thomas Tse Kai-yin thanked the diners for their support. But some old customers were unhappy that their last impression of their haunt had been sullied by a price rise: a bamboo basket of dim sum cost HK$20 yesterday in the morning session, compared with HK$7 a few months ago.

Tsang Kam-yeun, 80, a regular customer, said: "To be honest, I am a bit disappointed and angry. My feeling is we treat the owner as a friend but he doesn't think the same."

Tse has decided to give away one of three rusty cash registers from the 1960s to the University of Hong Kong and another to the Tao Heung Museum of Food Culture. He will keep the dragon gates and a woodcut in case the family opens a new Lung Moon.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 03:28 AM   #11
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id happily give 5 years of my life in exchange for hitting the dim sum 3 times a week!!!
it realy is to die for!!!!
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Old March 14th, 2010, 05:52 PM   #12
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