Liddy can’t get enough dim sum in Dim Sum Palace, so here’s a guide to some of author-illustrator X. Fang’s favorite things to order!
Radish Cake: Radish cakes have been a favorite since I was a kid. In essence, it is a savory cake made from grated Chinese turnip or daikon radish and rice flour, along with some other magical ingredients. I love the slightly crispy top, the soft but not mushy texture, the savory morsels of Chinese sausage, and how every bite is perfect! There is a restaurant in Philadelphia that makes a terrific radish cake with a “Jewish twist” called Bing Bing Dim Sum, in which the radish cake is topped with some bonito flakes and a fried egg. It is decadent and delicious.
Rice Roll with Deep-Fried Dough (cruller): There are a variety of fillings in a rice roll, but for me, the ultimate filling is a deep-fried cruller. It’s carbs on top of carbs. This delicate rice noodle sheet rolled around a crunchy, greasy cruller with a light drizzle of soy sauce on top makes for a mouth symphony.
Shrimp Dumplings, also known as Har Gow: Shrimp dumplings look ethereal to me. Thanks to a wrapper made from tapioca starch, the shrimp dumpling has a translucent cover, allowing the abundant shrimp filling to peek through in a soft gradient. Each bite has the perfect “QQ” texture (a Taiwanese term that describes the perfect bounciness of food).
Sesame Ball: There’s something delightful about biting into a sesame ball. You bite into a crunchy deep-fried outer shell to find not-too-sweet red bean or lotus paste filling. As an adult, you recognize the immense skill that goes into creating one of these perfect treats, but as a kid, your imagination takes hold, and the sesame ball becomes a literal (albeit edible) ball on your tabletop soccer matches . . . until an adult gives you that look that says “BEHAVE!”
Egg Custard Tart: Besides being oh so delicious, the egg tart is also a wonderful example of the ways foreign cuisine has influenced dim sum culture. It was first introduced to China by the British in the 1920s, and after some modifications and adaptations, the egg tart as we know it is now an icon of dim sum!
Dim Sum Palace
By X. Fang
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774881989 | Tundra Books
Liddy is so excited about going to the Dim Sum Palace tomorrow with her family that she can’t sleep. So when a delicious smell wafts into her room, she hops out of bed, opens her door and steps into . . . an actual palace of dim sum! There are dumplings, baos, buns and more delicious treats than one girl can possibly eat. Liddy just has to take a bite, but she slips and falls . . . into a bowl of dumpling filling. The chefs are so busy rolling, folding and pinching dough that they don’t notice they’ve prepared a most unusual dumpling for the Empress – a Liddy dumpling! Worst of all, she looks good enough to eat . . .