Dim Sum… the best way to learn Chinese

Language is for communication (yes, before one can move on to appreciate the aesthetics of a language). It is always easier to learn a language through “using” it in a social situation, rather than classroom setting. That is why a shop owner in touristy Patong Beach, Phuket, can communicate and negotiate with a potential customer in a good few languages (Seriously, I was spoken to in Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean. I deliberately looked at the shop owner with a blank look just to see how many different languages he could speak! It’s pretty impressive).

dim sumIt was my birthday a couple of weekends ago, I decided to take a few of my foreign friends (and my bilingual friends) for Dim Sum in Central London. Besides having enjoyed a delicious lunch, all of them pick up a few useful words which I’ve listed below.

The phonetics is all in Cantonese, not only because I’m from Hong Kong but also due to the fact that Dim Sum is invested and mainly served in the Canton area (South East) of China.

Some of my favourite (and common Dim Sum…)

Chinese characters (traditional)
Phonetics (Cantonese)
So what exactly is that?

蝦餃
Har Gau
Prawn dumplings, steamed

燒賣
Shao Mai
Mixed pork and prawn dumplings, steamed (compared to Ha Gau, this is more meaty)

腸粉
Cheung Fun
Very thin rolls made of rice pasty. One can have plain ones or stuffed one (with Char Sui, prawns, etc)

叉燒飽
Char Sui Bao
Buns (wheat free as it is made of rice flour) stuffed with BBQ pork

干炒牛河
Gon Chao Ngau Ho
Stir-fry Ho Fan ( a kind of rice pasta) with beef – Okay, this is not exactly Dim Sum but I always order this because the guys are never full from eating all the delicate Dim Sum’s)

dim sum - 1

dim sum - 3dim sum - 2

Do throw the above words / Dim Sum in when being asked what you would like. Your Cantonese friends would be impressed!

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One Response to “Dim Sum… the best way to learn Chinese”

  1. Winnie October 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    Thank you for your support!
    Are there any particular aspects of Chinese culture you would like to read about?

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