Dim sum is the original brunch, before the concept of brunch was even invented. The welcomed chaos of yum cha -- which translates to “drink tea” in Cantonese -- includes push carts of steaming veggies, scattered stamps on a card that establish how much your bill is going to be, and an array of small plates that, as a whole, create a filling meal alongside pots of hot tea.
However, for the uninitiated, it can be a little bit overwhelming. Some establishments follow the traditional method of wheeled carts where you flag down a server and point to which dish you want next on your plate. Other spots provide menus you can order off of, with items -- like fried rice -- that extend outside of the category of dim sum. And some places provide you with a paper menu and pencil so you can tick off exactly what you’re craving.
With at minimum 15-20 options on the menu, what dishes should you order? And what’s actually in them? Although Ali Wong has established it’s all mostly shrimp and pork, we’ve decided to give you a more detailed look at the dim sum dishes you’ll find at your local yum cha spot so you can get the real deal. Don’t forget to request chili sauce and hot mustard too -- the perfect accompaniments to dim sum.