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Do people consider DIM SUM as breakfast?

ipsedixit Aug 29, 2006 08:29 PM

I don't.

Apparently some on these boards do.

Your take?

  1. OCAnn Aug 29, 2006 08:30 PM

    To me, it's brunch.

    1. designerboy01 Aug 29, 2006 08:33 PM

      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. PeterL Aug 29, 2006 08:36 PM

        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
          Low Country Jon Aug 30, 2006 12:31 AM

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

          1. re: PeterL
            macca Aug 30, 2006 10:40 AM

            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. donnaaries Aug 29, 2006 08:41 PM

            I consider it late brunch.

            1. m
              ML8000 Aug 29, 2006 08:42 PM

              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. gini Aug 29, 2006 08:48 PM


                1 Reply
                1. re: gini
                  Taralli Aug 30, 2006 05:06 PM

                  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. p
                  Peter Cherches Aug 29, 2006 09:13 PM

                  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. a_and_w Aug 29, 2006 09:21 PM

                    You don't? May I ask why?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: a_and_w
                      ipsedixit Aug 29, 2006 09:31 PM

                      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
                        a_and_w Aug 30, 2006 06:05 PM

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

                    2. sku Aug 29, 2006 09:27 PM

                      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. Chocolatechipkt Aug 29, 2006 10:39 PM

                        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
                          TexasToast Aug 29, 2006 10:52 PM

                          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. Will Owen Aug 30, 2006 02:17 AM

                          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. b
                            Blueicus Aug 30, 2006 02:25 AM

                            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. d
                              dimsumgirl Aug 30, 2006 02:30 AM

                              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
                                Anne H Aug 30, 2006 02:59 AM

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

                              2. Das Ubergeek Aug 30, 2006 02:50 AM

                                It's brunch to me...

                                1. mabziegurl Aug 30, 2006 03:18 AM

                                  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. Olivia Aug 30, 2006 03:33 AM

                                    YES! Especially if I'm hungover :)

                                    1. chica Aug 30, 2006 05:18 AM

                                      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
                                        Melanie Wong Aug 30, 2006 09:24 AM

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

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                                          ML8000 Aug 30, 2006 10:35 AM

                                          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
                                            Blueicus Aug 30, 2006 03:46 PM

                                            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
                                              Melanie Wong Aug 30, 2006 10:46 PM

                                              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
                                                designerboy01 Sep 3, 2006 06:47 AM

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

                                            2. re: Melanie Wong
                                              ipsedixit Aug 30, 2006 08:03 PM

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

                                            3. re: chica
                                              raytamsgv Aug 30, 2006 10:06 PM

                                              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
                                                ricepad Aug 31, 2006 02:43 PM

                                                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
                                                  raytamsgv Aug 31, 2006 05:18 PM

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

                                                2. re: raytamsgv
                                                  designerboy01 Sep 3, 2006 06:58 AM

                                                  But remember, Dim Sum is a Cantonese invention.

                                              2. p
                                                Pan Aug 30, 2006 08:38 AM

                                                Yes, dim sum is breakfast or lunch.

                                                1. d
                                                  david t. Aug 30, 2006 09:54 AM

                                                  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. s
                                                    sirchompsalot Aug 30, 2006 11:30 AM

                                                    Sum do !

                                                    1. f
                                                      fascfoo Aug 30, 2006 02:32 PM

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

                                                      1. q
                                                        quimao Aug 30, 2006 05:13 PM

                                                        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
                                                          Pei Aug 30, 2006 07:22 PM

                                                          "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. t
                                                          tk467 Aug 30, 2006 07:24 PM

                                                          1.2 billion consider it breakfast , so you decide !

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: tk467
                                                            ipsedixit Aug 30, 2006 08:04 PM

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

                                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                                              ML8000 Aug 30, 2006 08:52 PM

                                                              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
                                                              designerboy01 Sep 3, 2006 06:47 AM

                                                              They have late night dim sum in China.

                                                            3. s
                                                              S_K Aug 30, 2006 11:26 PM

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

                                                              1. d
                                                                david t. Aug 30, 2006 11:28 PM

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

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: david t.
                                                                  gini Aug 31, 2006 12:26 PM

                                                                  People eat eggs for breakfast? Bizarre!

                                                                  1. re: david t.
                                                                    Chuckles the Clone Aug 31, 2006 04:53 PM

                                                                    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
                                                                      Blueicus Aug 31, 2006 06:20 PM

                                                                      "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
                                                                        designerboy01 Sep 3, 2006 06:54 AM

                                                                        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.
                                                                        designerboy01 Sep 3, 2006 06:56 AM

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

                                                                      3. r
                                                                        ricepad Aug 31, 2006 02:44 PM

                                                                        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
                                                                          OCAnn Aug 31, 2006 05:10 PM

                                                                          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
                                                                            a_and_w Aug 31, 2006 09:39 PM

                                                                            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. c
                                                                          chowchowchow Sep 2, 2006 06:50 PM

                                                                          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.

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