Dim sum means “small treats that touch the heart.” They began as a type of snack in teahouses in the Canton Province of China. Typically they're eaten from early morning till late afternoon, and provide a perfect way to snack while socializing, doing business and enjoying tea. I love to eat multi-course meals comprised of lots of little dishes or tastes, so dim sum suits me just fine. Savory pastries, steamed or fried dumplings, filled buns, noodles and sweet treats are an integral part of dim sum menus. Amerasia, as the name implies, is an Americanized version of the dim sum experience.
I'll never forget my first dim sum experience. I was studying cooking at the China Institute in New York and there was a special midterm dim sum banquet thrown for our class. A master chef named Chef Ma prepared the feast. The experience blew me away. I had never seen so many dishes served at one sitting and there were exotic animal parts like shark fins in soup dumplings, chicken feet with black bean sauce and even duck webs, which I tried for the first (and only) time. There were so many wonderful tastes, textures and sensations that I became an instant dim sum lover. It's not that difficult to make your own dim sum dumplings. These duck dumplings are always a huge hit when I serve them. Peking duck is readily available at oriental markets and goyza wrappers are even sold at supermarkets these days. You'll need a crimper, a small plastic press, to form the dumplings, found at oriental markets or most cooking stores. This recipe is from the Chinese Favorites cooking class that I teach at Ta Lin International Market's cooking school. You can find a current schedule of classes on line at www.talininc.com.