I am taking a break from reminiscences of my past to the present.
Today I will share my ‘Yum Cha’ experience. This is one fun ‘Yum Cha’ experience somewhat different from a family ‘Yum Cha’ meal. The experience of a ‘Yum Cha’ feast with a mix company of European Kiwis, Samoan, Spanish, Malaysian, Filipino and Chinese is something not to be missed.
Eating “dim sum” at a restaurant is usually known in Cantonese as going to “drink tea” (yum cha, 飲茶), as tea is typically served with “dim sum”. “Dim Sum” refers to a style of Cantonese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates (similar to Tapas). Dim sum is also well known for the unique way it is served, wherein fully cooked and ready-to-serve dim sum dishes are carted around the restaurant for customers to choose their orders while seated at their tables. This meal is known as “Yum Cha” in New Zealand and Australia while in Malaysia we call it “Dim Sum”. They mean the same thing where some countries refer this meal to “drink tea” (Yum Cha) while others refer to the food (Dim Sum).
Last week about 20 of us gathered into this packed Chinese Restaurant to “Yum Cha”. While everyone was busy eating, I managed a few snap shots (shown below). Most of the “Dim Sum” did not last long enough for the photo shots. The difference between eating this meal with friends of all races and with my family is that as a family we know what we like and tend to be selective in our order repeating items we normally have each time we “Yum Cha”. With this group of friends, some of whom never had “Yum Cha” before was a real adventure. The trolleys came and the servers just put almost everything on the table so I got to taste “dim sum” that I would never have ordered. Lots of chatter and laughter around the table, all good fun and nothing was wasted. The best compliment we had was from the owner of the restaurant who was pleasantly surprised with our mixed races and commented that we seemed to enjoy each others’ company despite race or creed.
After the “Yum Cha” some of us even braved the rain and visited the nearby Fo Guang Shan Temple. This temple is adapted from the palatial design of the Tang Dynasty, using greyish green glazed roof tiles, maroon stone pillars and vertical slat window frames to project magnificence, grandeur, cultivation and strength. The courtyard is lined with stone lanterns of the Tang Dynasty, with pine trees, bamboo, cherry blossoms and willows imparting an atmosphere of grace and elegance. It was a first experience for most and surely not the last. The meetup was great especially with good food, nice places and good company. This is certainly one of the “must do” things on a cold winter afternoon.
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