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Chinese Cuisine: History

Chinese cooking is one of the most ancient and varied global cuisines. Each of the 23 provinces within China has its own cooking style – from the fiery heat of the Sichuan, Hunan and Jiangzi provinces to the mutton and lamb dishes in Beijing. Of all the Chinese regions, it is the cuisine in the Guangdong – or Canton – province that is the most varied and most well-known. The Cantonese are renowned for eating unusual dishes including offal, chicken feet, snakes and snails. When Westerners speak of Chinese food they’re often referring to Cantonese cuisine.

The Heritage of Dim Sum

Dim Sum is a certain style of Cantonese food that is inextricably linked with yum cha, or the act of drinking tea – in fact the two phrases are usually interchangeable. The unique culinary tradition of dim sum began thousands of years ago with people travelling along the ancient Silk Road through China. In response to many needing a place to rest before continuing their journey, little teahouses opened up along the roadside of southern China. Upon the discovery that tea also aids digestion, teahouse owners began offering bite-sized snacks as an accompaniment; thus dim sum & yum cha were born.

Modern Dim Sum

Dim sum literally translates as ‘touch the heart’ in Chinese. Indeed, according to tradition, small portions were designed as such – to merely touch the heart and not to sate the appetite. Over time, dim sum has thereby evolved as snacks and this cuisine is a vital part of Chinese culture. In many parts of the world, Dim Sum is now a common weekly ritual enjoyed by friends and family together – the three/four piece servings understandably great for sharing.

It is a culinary belief that Dim Sum inspired ‘brunch’ as it is so often enjoyed mid-morning. Traditional dim sum restaurants do not even serve dinner instead, in Southern China, many restaurants open incredibly early and close in the early afternoon. However, more modern yum cha restaurants serve dim sum throughout the day and into the evening to satisfy increasing demand for these little bites.

Dim Sum at Jun Ming Xuan

Dim sum has evolved from its roots of a relaxing roadside respite to a worldwide recognised tradition. Likewise, the dim sum itself has evolved and can reflect each individual chef’s signature flair and unique skill. Nevertheless, despite the influence of culture, humanity and modern evolution, the spirit of dim sum remains steady and one that we ourselves maintain and look after; an ethos of a culinary experience to be shared with the people you love.

We strive to provide our diners with the finest and freshest Dim Sum in London. Be it steamed or fried, our bite-size dumplings are full of flavour and truly mouthwatering in taste.As Giles Coren of The Times even stated in his personal review:

“For lunch we go to the best dim sum restaurant in England. I’ll say that again: Jun Ming Xuan, the best dim sum restaurant in England.”