The term, “dim sum” – a Westernized term of the Cantonese term dim sam – roughly translates to “touch the heart.” In my opinion, the phrase is rather appropriate considering the custom of dim sum, a Cantonese tea and brunch tradition, offers bite sized entrees in portions of three to four pieces meant to be shared among its participants (often family members or close friends). Many families have taken upon the tradition of adopting a weekly ritual of dining with family on weekend mornings (almost like the ever popular Sunday brunch practice in New York City). Dating back to 1948, the dim sum appetizers consist of numerous appealing types of dumpling, seafood, and desserts. The validity of a dim sum restaurant is often judged upon popular dishes such as har gau (steamed shrimp dumplings), cha siu bao (steamed barbeque-pork stuffed buns), cheong fan (rolled rice noodles), and daan taat (egg custard tart).
The dim sum brunch tradition is not only an integral part of Cantonese heritage, but also a significant part of my personal family history. Weekend dim sum was essentially the only time my mom took out of her busy schedule to truly sit down and enjoy a meal with the family. Often times, even when meeting up with extended family (such as the annual family reunion), the restaurant of choice was to choose a location that served dim sum. Thus, I have chosen to use the term “dim sum” as the primary inspiration point for the princess line dress design.