The dim sum dish, in all its myriad variations, is a perennial Filipino favorite. We routinely gobble down the bite-sized dishes for merienda, lunch, dinner, and for some, as a post-partying hangover cure. Dim sum is even considered as a traditional lucky dish for the northerners in China.
“Where I come from, in the Northern part of China, we stuff some of the dim sum with coins randomly. We then serve it to family members. Those who get the dim sum with coins will have a lucky, prosperous new year,” shares Jennifer Wang, Shangri-La at the Fort’s Chinese operations manager.
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We imagine a person biting down on a coin inside their dumpling. “Isn’t that bad for that person’s teeth? Biting down on a coin?” we jest. Jennifer shoots back, “Well, with all the money and prosperity he or she is getting that year, they can have it fixed in the dentist’s office as many times as they want.”
Dim sum making class
ANCX recently visited Shangri-La at the Fort’s swanky Canton Road to taste the new Chinese New Year menu devised by their chefs, and also to experience a unique dim sum making class conducted by their Chinese executive chef Wang Wei Qing.
The dim sum class was held inside the Peking Room, a private function space with its own kitchen, comfort room, and interchangeable table configurations. Chef Wang was already inside, rolling the dough for our class. He met his guests with a charming smile, and gestured for us to take a seat while they prepare the ingredients.
We often saw dim sum made thru glass walls in Chinese restaurants, and think, 'how easy!' How wrong we were. The idea for the class was to make dim sum into animals, vegetables, fruits, etc. Since it’s the Year of the Rat, the first task was to create a mouse using the pre-made, multi-colored dough prepared by the staff.
Chef Wang was a patient teacher. We flattened, rolled, and pinched our dough, and managed to create numerous white colored mice, with pink ears, and black eyes. We were thoroughly proud of our creations, and Chef Wang gave us a thumbs up. He then shamed us all by making his own versions of dim sum mice.
Next we made an orange pumpkin stuffed with sweet, lotus paste. After that, we made more rats, some rolled into shaved coconut, to give them a furry look. The class was thoroughly enjoyable, and best done with a big group.
Dim sum making is an important family activity in China, says Jennifer Wang. “In China, dim sum making is a time for family bonding. It’s an activity where the family gets to have fun and spend quality time together.”
After the class, the restaurant staff took away our creations, and we were then ushered to our tables for lunch. The dim sum making class is offered by Canton Road to guests this coming Chinese New Year, although people will need to book in advance for the class. The Dim Sum Class experience is offered at PHP 28,888, and is good for 10 persons. Lunch is served to the guests after the class.
We got to experience the dim sum making class lunch menu as well. We had chicken in shaoxing yellow wine sauce, double-boiled chicken with black garlic, crispy prawn balls in orange sauce, cod fish with mozzarella cheese, US beef tenderloin and foie gras, and fried rice. After lunch, the Canton Road staff then gave us boxes filled with our creations, now cooked and ready to eat.
For those who plan to celebrate Chinese New Year in Canton Road, Chef Wang Wei Qing will also be curating a series of limited-time offer set menus good for ten persons. There will be a traditional Salmon Yee Sang, along with oriental cuisine favorites such as Ming Dynasty Peking Duck and Stone-fired Suckling Pig. These seasonal set menus are inclusive of one bottle of wine and select non-alcoholic beverages and are offered for lunch and dinner from January 22 to February 8.
For those looking for more Nian Gao (or Tikoy), Canton Road is accepting pre-orders until January 25. Orders can be picked up at Canton Road three days upon confirmation of order. The signature delicacy comes in three flavor options: radish, coconut milk, and taro. These are available in double-fish or round shape varieties inside a one-tier or two-tier box starting at PHP 2,126 nett per box.
For more information, visit Shangri-la.com.