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The Dim Sum Field Guide

by: Carolyn Phillips

Berkeley CA: Ten Speed Press 2016, $14.99, Hardbound
ISBN: 978-1-60774-956-1

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Summer Volume: 2017 Issue: 24(2) page(s): 21

This book has more dim sum delights than most think exist be they dumplings, buns, meats, sweets, and other specialties. There are more than I have tried in the more than seventy years of eating them world-wide. Other experts will tell you the same thing. Some are embarrassed at how many they did not know existed. Peruse and check out your own dim sum knowledge.

Included are steamed, wrapped, unwrapped, baked, pan and deep-fried. They are hot, warm, or chilled; called cakes and tarts and other names. Included are author drawn b/w illustrations that remind of the real things. They sir the brain about their ingredients, and educate, remind, and quickly bring their contents to mind.

Size, type, and ingredients are detailed yet there are no recipes. For that, one needs another source. While reading this small volume check out Volume 5 of its first incarnation which can be found in the November issue of the 2012 Lucky Peach magazine. If you do not know that magazine, seek it out. There are more than twenty issues, many with gems such as this early rendition.

This book may be small, but in it one learns how to order in a tea house, tea varieties you should try and enjoy, what can be found in the dim sum place, their contents, about the author, a six-page cross-referenced index, and one with its acknowledgments. This book is small enough to tote in a large purse or big pocket. Carry it to your next dozen tea house visits, learn more than you think you will, read it at home or there, and see stretched necks peering your way, voices asking to borrow it.

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