Chef So Kai Chiu (below) of Conrad Hong Kong shares secrets to making steamed shrimp and bird's nest dumplings.

Dim Sum Delights

From dumplings to dessert, don't miss Chef So Kai Chiu's favorite yum cha dishes.

Steamed shrimp and bird's nest dumplings topped with gold leaf

Fried spring rolls with prawns

Sweetened walnut cream

A Taste of Hong Kong

Authentic Dim Sum Draws Loyal Locals and Captivates International Visitors By Nina Fedrizzi

Dim sum is for travelers. It's true—that's how it originated: in roadside teahouses around Guangzhou, China, where locals would offer travelers, farmers, and workers small baskets of steamed or fried buns, dumplings, and rolls alongside their afternoon tea. Eventually, dim sum became a meal in its own right, and in Hong Kong especially, weekend yum cha (which literally means "drinking tea" and includes a meal of dim sum and hot tea) evolved into a ubiquitous family ritual.

Of course, in some cities, the search for such authentic local cuisine can get complicated, involving serpentine journeys down long streets and back alleys before you settle on (what you hope is) the perfect bite. Guests at Conrad Hong Kong don't have to work so hard. In fact, they need only visit the hotel's award-winning Golden Leaf restaurant, which recently expanded its yum cha meal service. The menu now offers 20 dim sum options that put a contemporary spin on classic Cantonese dishes.

Dim Sum Delights

From dumplings to dessert, don't miss Chef So Kai Chiu's favorite yum cha dishes.

Steamed shrimp and bird's nest dumplings topped with gold leaf

Fried spring rolls with prawns

Sweetened walnut cream

"The menu was created based on traditional recipes, but we've modified some of the ingredients in order to suit a more modern palate and to make the dishes more healthy," says Golden Leaf's chef of 15 years, So Kai Chiu. Since tea is an essential part of the meal, Golden Leaf's menu offers diners nine high-end varieties—from oolong to white peony—with descriptions of their health benefits.

"Dim sum has to be hot and fresh," says Chef So. And ordering this meal is an art form in itself. According to So, an experienced diner knows how to order not just the appropriate number of items for the table but also how to select dishes with the right sweet-savory combination.

Yet for all its emphasis on traditional methods, Golden Leaf is far from the noisy, bustling eatery some visitors might associate with dim sum. This is elegant, sophisticated dining, with a setting to match. Located in the hotel's lower lobby, the restaurant's warmly lit interior is accented with hanging lanterns, antiques, and carved teak and rosewood furniture. Instead of rolling trolleys, the dim sum is carefully presented by knowledgeable servers who are happy to answer questions. Also prevalent here: a loyal base of Hong Kong locals, for whom weekend yum cha at Golden Leaf has a regular calendar slot. After all, dim sum is for travelers—and everyone else.

"Each dim sum course

is the ideal portion for four or five people to share."

—Chef So Kai Chiu

At Golden Leaf, Chef So Kai Chiu infuses traditional dim sum dishes with modern flavors.

At Golden Leaf, Chef So Kai Chiu infuses traditional dim sum dishes with modern flavors.

At Golden Leaf, Chef So Kai Chiu infuses traditional dim sum dishes with modern flavors.

Yet for all its emphasis on traditional methods, Golden Leaf is far from the noisy, bustling eatery some visitors might associate with dim sum. This is elegant, sophisticated dining, with a setting to match. Located in the hotel's lower lobby, the restaurant's warmly lit interior is accented with hanging lanterns, antiques, and carved teak and rosewood furniture. Instead of rolling trolleys, the dim sum is carefully presented by knowledgeable servers who are happy to answer questions. Also prevalent here: a loyal base of Hong Kong locals, for whom weekend yum cha at Golden Leaf has a regular calendar slot. After all, dim sum is for travelers—and everyone else.

Dumpling Demo

Creating dim sum that is as delicious as it is beautiful is an art form. Making and pleating the delicate dough requires mastery of technique and years of practice to reach perfection. Here, Chef So Kai Chiu shares a behind-the-scenes look at how he makes the Golden Leaf's steamed shrimp and bird's nest dumplings.

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1. Make the dough with a mixture of wheat starch, corn flour, and boiling water.

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2. Roll the dough into a long cylinder, cut it into 1-inch pieces, then flatten each to create individual wrappers.

3

3. Place 2 to 3 teaspoons of filling in the middle of the wrapper.

Dumpling Demo

Creating dim sum that is as delicious as it is beautiful is an art form. Making and pleating the delicate dough requires mastery of technique and years of practice to reach perfection. Here, Chef So Kai Chiu shares a behind-the-scenes look at how he makes the Golden Leaf's steamed shrimp and bird's nest dumplings.

1. Make the dough with a mixture of wheat starch, corn flour, and boiling water.

2. Roll the dough into a long cylinder, cut it into 1-inch pieces, then flatten each to create individual wrappers.

3. Place 2 to 3 teaspoons of filling in the middle of the wrapper.

4. Gather the edges of the wrapper to gently pleat.

Find more culinary inspiration on the Conrad Hotels & Resorts Pinterest boards. pinterest.com/conradhotels

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4. Gather the edges of the wrapper to gently pleat.

Find more culinary inspiration on the Conrad Hotels & Resorts Pinterest boards. pinterest.com/conradhotels