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If you wanted to have good momos while you are in Kolkata, all you have to do is step out of your house and go to the nearest momo joint, which presumably would be in almost all localities in the city and gobble up your favourite chicken momo. How are momos different from dim sums? Well, they are close cousins. Momos are the staple of Tibetans and have a different version in Nepal too. Thanks to the proximity of these places and the influx of people of Darjeeling and Sikkim in Kolkata, we have so many momo joints. Whereas dim sums are from China and they essentially mean small or bite sized snacks which can be had with tea. Apparently, dim sums are had with unlimited Chinese tea and that is what is known as Yum Cha.
What are dim sums?
Anyone can say that dim sums are dumplings which have originated from China. But then traditionally, all Chinese dumplings are dim sums but that's not it. These dumplings which form a part of dim sums are very different from momos. They have a very fine or thin wrapping and the stuffing is more wholesome. Sometimes, the wrapping is even made out of potato starch instead of flour. And most importantly, dim sums are not just about dumplings. They have a wider variety. Siu mais, where the casing is open on top with the stuffing visible is also a dim sum. Chinese buns stuffed with pork, turnip cakes, steamed meat balls, egg custard tarts, steamed spare ribs and many more form part of dim sums.
While the popularity of these many varieties of dim sums is not prevalent in India, definitely not in Kolkata, dumplings are slowly becoming hot favourites.
Places to go for your dumpling addiction in Kolkata:
Yauatcha at Quest Mall - Their dim sums are delicate and mostly spectacular. Must try dim sums are crispy prawn Cheung fun, poached Peking dumpling and fried turnip cakes.
Mamagoto at Park Street - Must try dim sums are the chicken rainbow dumplings, Mama's shrimp dumplings with nori and shrimps and the old school gyoza which comes in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian variety with a spicy soy dip.
Bodega Cantina Y Bar at Park Street - Camac Street Corner - They have a few dim sums which adorn their menu and are a must try. Poached chicken and chive Peking dumplings, Shanghai chicken pot sticker and the sticky pork belly bao are scrumptious and finger licking delicious.
Asia Kitchen by Mainland China at Acropolis Mall - Edamame dumpling, prawn hargao and smoked duck rolls are a definite must have.
Mainland China at Multiple Locations: They do have a variety of dim sums to choose from, in case you are going for a la carte. Try the Asian green gyoza, basil flavoured chicken dumpling, prawn siu mai and you will not be left disappointed. They also have an array of dumplings for Jains, made with no onion and garlic!!
Chinoiserie at Taj Bengal - Yes, we are talking about five stars and obviously the price point will be different. But that should not stop dim sum addicts to try out their favourite snack at this gorgeous place. You can choose your type of dim sum and then your preference of stuffing to make your own dim sum. And if you are confused, go for the prawn hakao, prawn and crab shao mai with fish roe and a steamed rice paper roll with duck stuffing to satiate your cravings.
Zen at The Park Hotel - They have an all out separate dim sum menu with mouth watering delicacies. One must try the barbequed pork buns, lo mai gai which is a chicken dim sum wrapped in lotus leaf, yellow pumpkin dim sum with prawn and crab and edamame and pepper dim sum amongst many.