I have yet to meet a person who has had dim sum and not thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Then again, I have yet to meet a non-Chinese speaker who does not repeatedly order the same dim sum items over and over again for fear of getting chicken feet or making a fool of themselves with the tricky pronunciations.
Personally I have a few favourites, such as cha siu baau (BBQ pork buns) and siu mai (pork and shrimp dumplings), and those must never miss our table, however I do recognise that I always enjoy dim suming more if one of our chinese speaking friends is with us. Suddenly the menu takes on a whole new life and little plates of deliciousness appear that we would not have known to order.
Comparing the size of the Chinese menu and the translated versions does often make me think that the restauranteurs are punishing us for not speaking the local lingo. Fair enough, though with the help of one of my favourite Asian themed iPhone apps, I can have my dim sum and eat it too!
Yum Yum Dim Sum app is an excellent app which has been designed by Tipatat Chennavasin, a self proclaimed food lover and glutton. He is however also digital artist and the blend of these two passions is clearly visible in this app, as it is not only visually appealing but also very easy to use and navigate.
As the name suggests, the app is dedicated to dim sum and Tipatat has had the good sense to leave it at that, avoiding the mistake many developers make by filling their apps with other features and content we don’t want or need.
Each dish is depicted in a card with a picture and the name in Chinese and English. By tapping on the card we see the back of it which includes a description of the dish and the preparation method. Pressing the “Say It” button will do just that, pronounce the Chinese name.
Where I find the app particularly useful is in the navigation which makes searching known dishes as easy as discovering new ones. All items are listed in four groups: by language English or Chinese, food (beef, fowl, dessert, dip etc.) and preparation (steamed, baked, fried etc.).
The only functionalities I would add, if I was being very picky, would be a random dim sum picker (or roulette?) and the ability to add favourites once tried and tasted.
Available in Apple’s iTunes here.