Dim Sum: A Pictorial Guide To Help You Navigate This Chinese Meal

Shu Mai - A Dim Sum Pictorial Guide

Have you ever eaten dim sum before?

Dim sum is something I think most people have tried before. But I also grew up in Vancouver, Canada, a city with a very large Chinese immigrant population. Growing up my parents and I went for a weekly dim sum around the city. We dined on shumai, har gau, sticky rice, and gai-lan. I often forget that this is probably not the case with everyone who didn’t grow up in cities with loads of amazing Chinese restaurants. 

Updated May 2019**




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I made this pictorial guide in collaboration with Tourism Richmond for those of you who are unfamiliar with dim sum and want to try it. It may seem overwhelming and foreign but it is delicious and a great social meal. Bring a couple of friends and try things out!

There’s the classic style of dim sum with women who push around carts with the steamer baskets of food or the kind where you order exactly what you want and it comes out to your table as it’s ready. When I was exploring Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver that has great Chinese restaurants, I called up my good friend Dickson because I am not an expert by any means. I like to call Dickson my Chinese food spirit guide. He orders our dishes, teaches me about the food, and then we chow down! 

Dickson actually has started a new venture called Dicky’s Dumps (hahaha). He’s selling dumplings now. I know his cooking skills so I am sure they are amazing. When I am home next I will definitely be making an order! Check out his Instagram for the latest info on his dumpling drops! 



My food guide Dickson

A Pictorial dim sum guide!


A Chinese porridge made of rice 

Congee - A Dim Sum Pictorial Guide | www.rtwgirl.com

Xo chaung chow lo bak go 

A pan-fried turnip cake in xo sauce (spicy seafood sauce)

Xo chaung chow lo bak go

Chiu chao fan guo

A steamed dumpling with pork, shrimp and peanuts

Chiu chao fan guo

Har gau

A steamed prawn dumpling

Dim Sum - Hargow | www.rtwgirl.com

Shu mai

A steamed pork dumpling and a favourite of mine

Shu Mai - A Dim Sum Pictorial Guide

Lo baak gou

A turnip cake. I’m new to these and I love them! This one had pumpkin in it

Turnip Cake - Lo baak gou

Cha siu bao

A bun filled with bbq pork

BBQ Pork - Cha siu

Lo mai gai

Sticky rice that has been cooked with chicken, sausage, and scallions inside a lotus/banana leaf

Sticky Rice - A Dim Sum Pictorial Guide | www.rtwgirl.com

The inside of the lo mai gai

Lo mai gai - A Dim Sum Pictorial Guide | www.rtwgirl.com

Cheong fan

A rice roll. This one had prawn inside of it.

Prawn Rice Roll - A Dim Sum Pictorial Guide | www.rtwgirl.com

Xiao long bao

A soup dumpling and more of a Shanghai-style dim sum item.

Xiao Long Bao - A Dim Sum Pictorial Guide | www.rtwgirl.com

Crab xiao long bao - A Dim Sum Pictorial Guide | www.rtwgirl.com

Crab xiao long bao. See the difference? 

And of course, there’s dessert involved in dim sum!

Mong gor bo din –

Mango pudding!

Mango Pudding - A Dim Sum Pictorial Guide | www.rtwgirl.com

Dan tat

An egg tart. You’ll often see them in the carts. A custardy, flaky dessert. Yum!

Lido Egg Tart Richmond, BC | www.rtwgirl.com

In no way am I an expert at dim sum. In fact, I have not included every possible type. These dim sum items are ones that enjoy eating. For example, I am grossed out by chicken feet but I have dining companions who love to eat it. 

If you find yourself exploring Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver, my dim sum favourites are Kirin, Dinesty, and Vivacity. For xiao long bao and Shanghai-style dining, check out Shanghai River.

What are your dim sum favourites? Leave them in the comments!

Save this dim sum guide to Pinterest

A Dim Sum Pictorial Guide

*Disclosure: Many thanks to Tourism Richmond who provided support for this dim sum guide. All items that were eaten and restaurants were my choices. As always, opinions stated are my own**

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