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The Life and Mind of DamnBlackHeart
This is to help me stay actively writing. So expect to see rants, tips on writing, thoughts on subjects, me complaining of boredom, reviews, anime, movies, video games, conventions, tv shows and whatever life throws at me.
Book Review: The Dim Sum Field Guide by Carolyn Phillips
A whimsically illustrated yet authoritative guide to the “taxonomy” of dim sum, based on a popular Lucky Peach story.

Author and illustrator Carolyn Phillips demystifies the rich, nuanced culinary institution of teahouse snacks in The Dim Sum Field Guide, a pocket-size, definitive resource featuring 80 hand-drawn illustrations. With entries for all the dim sum classics – including siu mai, xiaolongbao, char siu, roast duck, and even sweets like milk tarts and black sesame rolls. This handy reference is perfect for bringing on-the-go to your next dim sum outing. Armchair travelers and Asian food enthusiasts alike will be delighted by this detailed yet accessible look at the distinctly Chinese art of eating well.

You might be asking what exactly is dim sum? It’s small bite-sized portions of food served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Many of which is a variety of dumplings, steamed dishes and other goodies. They range from from sweet, sour, salty and so on. Others have a combinations of meats, vegetables, seafoods, and fruits. The book explores the Cantonese form of dim sum, “which was born in the teahouses of Southern China—specifically, the capital city of Guangzhou that straddles the great Pearl River—about two centuries ago”.

It’s not only educational, but it’s also a useful guide that points out the many types of dim sum. Some that I wasn’t even aware of being apart of the category, such as egg rolls/spring rolls, spare ribs, to name a few. There’s also a bit of information on how to order in the teahouse, paying the bill, and basic dining rules. For example, the first thing you will be asked by your waiter is what type of tea you want to drink. There’s a section in the book that lists the type of teas that they will offer: green tea, oolong tea, black tea, pu’er tea, chrysanthemum tea, chrysanthemum pu’er, jasmine tea and lychee tea – all of which will taste great with dim sum.

After that, all kinds of dim sum is listed and it’s divided into categories to make it easier to know what type it is. It starts with steamed dim sum, dim sum that’s full of proteins, baked dim sum, dim sum that is pan and deep fried, hot and warm dim sum, sweet buns dim sum, chilled sweets dim sum, cakes and tarts dim sum and finally extras.

Each dim sum is accompany with an illustration on the left side of the page, while on the right side contains it’s identification, basic filling, if it’s served with sauce or dip, how it’s presented, its origins and species. Reading them all has certainly made me what to visit a teahouse to try them all. Sadly, there isn’t one nearby where I live at, but it’s something that I would definitely consider checking out with friends and family.

Overall, the book itself is lovely and I recommend it. It’s size makes it’s portable if you ever want to bring it along with you. It’s easy to read and understandable. Of course, keep in mind that this is a guide on dim sum, not a recipe book so you won’t find any of that in it. There’s also no photographs, but the illustrations are pretty accurate and can I can only imagine how yummy they look in person. Which is all the more reason for me and anyone reading to go explore the dim sum restaurants.

[Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.]

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