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Do people consider DIM SUM as breakfast?

I don't.

Apparently some on these boards do.

Your take?

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    1. Read this article:


      But in China they got late night Dim Sum and Early morning Dim Sum. Dim Sum around the clock. But I normally think of it as brunch. If its late at night I just think of it as food to eat.

      1. Sure. It's generally for both breakfast & lunch, but never for dinner. One of the oldest dim sum resto in HK (known as the bird restaurant) has a set clientele for breakfast.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PeterL

          Was the bird restaurant the place depicted in the infamous shootout scene in the movie "Hardboiled" with Chow Yun Fat?

          1. re: PeterL

            I remember all of the birds in HK. We stayed on the island, in a small hotel. There was a dining area on a porch, across the street from a park. Everybody brought their birds to the restaurant in cages, and in the park, in the early morning, there were scores of people doing their Tae Kwon Doe- again with birds in cages, and peacocks strutting wild. It was magical- and made my breakfast taste better.

          2. I consider it late brunch.

            1. Depends on how you define breakfast brunch and lunch in general, and in practical or social terms.

              A couple of pieces of dim sum and tea...breakfast on a weekday. Sharing 20-30 plates with some friends on the weekend...brunch.

                1. re: gini

                  I would have to say definitely breakfast on weekends when I get myself to Boston's Chinatown by around 8:00AM dim sum restaurant openings.

                2. Basic dim sum in a coffee shop - breakfast

                  Dim sum in a full scale place with carts - brunch/lunch/tea

                  Dim sum at dinner -- breakfast or lunch items served as appetizers

                    1. re: a_and_w

                      Because dim sum can be eaten at many times during the day and it is really considered something to accompany a good pot of well-cultivated tea ...

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Oh, I get you now. It sounded like you were saying dim sum can NEVER be breakfast.

                    2. Since I usually show up around 10 am to avoid the crowds, I think of it as breakfast/brunch. I suppose it could be lunch as well, but it's certainly an early part of the day meal. Most dim sum services I know of go from around 9:30/10 am -2pm or so.

                      1. I consider it brunch. Then again, most of the places I've been to usually only serve it between 11am and 3pm, so prime brunch-time. I usually don't eat beforehand, but that's just me. I tend to get there around 11 as parking is easier to find (near me) and so I don't have to wait in ridiculouly long lines. The number of options after 2pm usually drops off a lot too.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                          I've had it FOR breakfast; either out or at home. But then, I'll eat just about anything at anytime so I'm not the best person to ask.


                        2. If they serve it from ten o'clock until three o'clock on a weekend, then it is by my definition emphatically breakfast. On a weekday, it's lunch. I've enjoyed it for both of those things.

                          1. You'll find dim sum being served in this town from around 8 to 3 so technically it can be breakfast, brunch, or lunch depending on the situation. Usually it's the senior citizens that go in the morning to drink tea and gossip while having a few items while as a family people would go for either brunch or lunch.

                            1. Yes, it's breakfast. The rule at our house is that breakfast must be hot and whatever the girls ask for, I make. They usually ask for siu mai, won ton or chow fun. I cook it at 7 in the morning. I also buy it and bring it home in time for them to eat before school. Best brkfst in town!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: dimsumgirl

                                I think I'd like to be adopted into your family... ;-)

                                1. it was breakfast in my house growing up as well.

                                  it can be considered brunch on the weekends, depending on what time you go.

                                  1. YES! Especially if I'm hungover :)

                                    1. Well, the word dim sum is really the American language's warped take on the actual Chinese word sounding somewhat like "dian xing," which many of you know really means something closer to a snack eaten with tea.

                                      So technically, it could be eaten anytime, anywhere. :-)

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: chica

                                        Not warped. Dim sum is phonetic for the Cantonese pronunciation.

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                          Funny, growing up I rarely heard Dim Sum used to coin the meal. I did hear "yim cha" (the downstream country toisanese of yum cha) or "to drink tea" from my grandmother.

                                          Dim Sum is what you ate and Yim Cha was the meal (breakfast, lunch) or act. Sort of liking going to get pancakes (breakfast).

                                          1. re: ML8000

                                            I've just gotten used to telling my non-Chinese friends that we're going out for "dim sum" and not to "drink tea" because that's what they always call it and I don't want to bother correcting them (also, the term drink tea has a connotation that associate with some else, like perhaps afternoon tea).

                                            1. re: ML8000

                                              Yes, we say "yum cha", but only Sino-heads can understand that.

                                              What's warped is when Shanghainese or Sichuan restaurants trumpet "DIM SUM" on their menus.

                                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                Yes many people don't know the differences of Chinese cuisine.

                                            2. re: Melanie Wong

                                              Well, some would say Cantonese is in fact "warped" ...

                                            3. re: chica

                                              The correct pinyin rendition of Mandarin would be "dian xin". It would be pronounced something like "dee-ann sheen". Of course, the correct tones are a different matter altogether.

                                              "Dim sum" is the traditional rendition in Cantonese. "Yum cha" is Cantonese; growing up, we usually used it as a description of the act of eating at a dim sum restaurant. The Toisan rendition (a country dialect of Cantonese) would be closer to "yim cha" or "ngeem cha", but there's no good way to represent the first syllable. Another Toisan alternative that I've heard would be "cha ngow", which I believe means "tea & snacks."

                                              BTW, I consider it breakfast or brunch, but I don't mind "breakfast served all day". :-)

                                              1. re: raytamsgv

                                                Yeah, I remember my mom used to call it "cha ngow" before any restaurants in our city started offering 'dim sum' and we had to get it from a Chinese bakery/pastry shop. When I was a kid, "cha ngow" = "pink boxes tied with red string"!

                                                1. re: ricepad

                                                  We had the same pink boxes tied with red string. I guess that makes us both a bunch of old-timers!

                                                2. re: raytamsgv

                                                  But remember, Dim Sum is a Cantonese invention.

                                              2. Yes, dim sum is breakfast or lunch.

                                                1. Considering most of us can only get it at brunch, I consider it brunch. But really, I would eat it any time of day except as breakfast.

                                                    1. It's tasty not matter what time I eat it at!

                                                      1. Dim sum is just food on wheels. It's fast, it's hot and it's goooooood!!! It can be breakfast, lunch, dinner or in between, whenever you feel hungry. Asian don't have a specific breakfast, lunch or dinner food. To us, it's good food. Enjoy!!!!!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: quimao

                                                          "Asian don't have a specific breakfast, lunch or dinner food."

                                                          For the record, that's not really true, but yay to the rest of your post.

                                                        2. 1.2 billion consider it breakfast , so you decide !

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: tk467

                                                            Well, billions and billions also consider McDonald's good food ...

                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                              Well to be fair about it, billions (outside the western world) find McDonald's as "exotic" as something like fresh line-caught Opakapaka served three ways with Peruvian spice, organic hogwash Walla Walla sweet onions on top of a bed of troll-picked greans, followed by fresh loganberry and wasabi sorbet. It's all relative.

                                                            2. re: tk467

                                                              They have late night dim sum in China.

                                                            3. I have it as breakfast or brunch. However, I prefer it for breakfast to avoid the longer lines.

                                                              1. Really, it's just random. What makes eggs and bacon specifically a breakfast food? Absolutely nothing!

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: david t.

                                                                  People eat eggs for breakfast? Bizarre!

                                                                  1. re: david t.

                                                                    Eggs, bacon, potatoes. A blast of protein and starch to power the peasant
                                                                    through a hard day on the fram, constructed out of things actually
                                                                    growing on said farm.

                                                                    So if dim sum is a breakfast, I wonder if chinese farming culture is different
                                                                    enough from european/american that the farmers don't need the huge
                                                                    powerup at the start of the day?

                                                                    1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                      "Drinking Tea" isn't the only breakfast-like activity in abouts Southern China/Hong Kong. It's also common to have congee, rice noodle rolls, fried dough sticks and maybe some stirfried noodles. Rice is also eaten.

                                                                      I don't think the origins of dim sum and tea drinking was to fill a farmer up for a day of hard work, it's more of a family activity that is done on days of rest where you're supposed to sit around for a long time drinking tea, snacking and talking. I think it was more of a city dweller type of activity when it first originated (and still is to this day).

                                                                      And you don't think dim sum items aren't carb/protein laden? Rice, rice noodle rolls, dumplings, glutenous rice, etc.

                                                                      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                        They have breads in Dim Sum. Just remember, the chinese invented seed drilling, row farming, and it was the europeans that took the iron plow from them. They pretty much excelled in farming.

                                                                      2. re: david t.

                                                                        Once the food breaks down does it matter what you eat? Who says we have to eat eggs, bacon, and bagels for Breakfast?

                                                                      3. Dim sum is breakfast for me, 'cause when we're planning to go out for dim sum, I don't eat anything in the morning!

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ricepad

                                                                          Then in that vein, just b/c I don't eat b/fast prior to brunch doesn't make brunch b/fast, does it?

                                                                          1. re: OCAnn

                                                                            Brunch is not quite breakfast, it's not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don't get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal!

                                                                        2. Interesting. Depends on how you define dim sum. My original exposure to dim sum is more like a snack. dim (touch) sum (heart) i.e. touch of the heart (i.e. satisfy your cravings) for now. It can be eaten any time. Schools can have dim sum breaks, parents offer dim sum as an after school snack. When one has company, dim sum often is offered (such as water melon seeds, winter melon candy, beef jerky, fruits etc.) The British equivalent would be the "tea time" pastries. But dim sum is NEVER refer to as a meal, as it is not meant to fill you up. In my life time, I've seen many types of pastries, crackers, cakes, potato chips, fruits, candies, meats etc. etc. offered as "dim sum." But, now a days, the more commonly (? or just US?) accepted definition of dim sum is more like a meal. (Who says one can't eat potato chips for a meal?)

                                                                          So, to the OP, I eat dim sum, as a type of food, any time. The ones I like, I eat a lot of, just like I can polish off a bag of Doritos any time ;-) But dim sum as a style of eating (touch-of-heart), as in English tea, I have it in the morning - "break fast," something to tie me over till lunch. Enjoy the company that I am with is more important, good dim sum that touches the hearts definitely helps.