Everyone knows that at 4 in the afternoon English people are having the traditional tea time. But did you know that Chinese people have their own traditional “tea time”? Well, the Chinese tea time has nothing to do with the English one, and in fact you could only “drink tea” in you travel to Guangzhou. You certainly must be wondering : “sure you can drink tea everywhere, but what does she mean by drinking tea in GuangDong ?”. Let me introduce you my favorite moment of the day of my Guangzhou tour.

When a Cantonese person asks you if you want to “drink” some tea, it means that he wants to take you for a kind of brunch. In Cantonese they call it going to yum cha (饮茶) at restaurants called cha lou (茶楼) between 5 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. In general the elderly likes to gather in one of these restaurants after their daily morning exercises and for many in southern China, yum cha is considered as a weekend family day. You can go there alone, with friends or family members for a simple brunch or big occasions.

Of course, during the brunch they drink tea too, and on every table you can always find some teapots, tea is a very important part of the brunch, it accompanies the food. And here we are, what I prefer the most is the FOOD ! Do you know what Dim Sum is ? I’m pretty sure you know what is it, because in Chinese western restaurant you always eat it. Dim Sum (点心), refers to Cantonese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. In addition the way you order and the way you got Dim Sum served is unique : waiters are just carting around cooked and ready-to-serve dishes around the restaurant, customers just pick some dishes up to their table, and for each plate the waiter checks the dishes grid.

The most popular Dim Sum :

  • Siu Mai 燒賣: Small steamed dumplings with either pork, prawns or both inside a thin wheat flour wrapper.
  • Ha Gau 蝦餃: A delicate steamed dumpling with whole or chopped-up shrimp filling and thin wheat starch skin.
  • Cha Siu Bau 叉燒包: the most popular bun with a Cantonese barbecued pork filling
  • Lo Mai Gai 糯米雞: Glutinous rice wrapped in a lotus leaf into a triangular or rectangular shape. It contains egg, dried scallop, mushroom, water chestnut and meat. The leaf cannot be eaten !
  • Spring Rolls 春捲: a roll consisting of various types of vegetables
  • Egg tart 蛋撻: composed of a base made from either a flaky puff pastry type dough or a type of non-flaky cookie dough with an egg custard filling baked
  • Braised chicken feet 凤抓

Jack Li
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