If you ask my son what is a dim sim, his answer will be: ‘Not as dim as it seems’. Ha…… it is his special joke. But thinking about it again, it is correct that dim sims are not as simple and cheap as they look. It is a really clever invention. They have become so popular in Australia, and regarded as one of Melbourne icons. Dim Sims are some kind of Chinese inspired dumplings that are modified to suit Australian taste buds. All take away shops around Australia, especially in Melbourne and Victoria, sell this well loved snack that is cheap, yummy and filling. It is even regarded as a part of Victorian history.
Historically, dim sims were associated with the Chinese settlers during Victorian Gold Rush in 1850s. I would imagine if the Chinese miners made one of their well loved dim sum dishes, the meat dumplings, they would have used local ingredients. Food were obviously scarce at that time and the ingredients to make dumplings would had been modified completely by using the most available meat and vegetables. Probably, this was why dim sims were made of a mixture of mutton, beef, cabbage and onions which were cheap and readily available at that time. The original Chinese meat dumplings are bite size, dainty looking, made mostly of pork and prawn. The original Chinese dumplings have thin skin, but dim sims have thick skin to hold much larger portion of fillings as in the past they had to make much larger size to satisfy hungry miners.
Apparently, these large and thick dumplings called dim sims had become popular during the gold rush and later on in 1945, Chinese chef from Melbourne, Willy Wing Young created his very own style of dim sims to sell. Not very long dim sims were also produced commercially until to this day. Now, dims sims are readily sold next to other popular snack food such as meat pies, pasties, hot dogs, sausage rolls, potato cakes and hot chips. Though Chinese spring rolls are also well liked, but they are not as popular as dim sims.
One of the most famous dim sims today are sold in South Melbourne Market. It was started by a Chinese man Kuen Cheng. His dim sims are home made, round in shape, while the commercialised ones are kind of long. Dim Sims can be steamed or fried and eaten with soy sauce or chilli sauce. The commercialised dim sims have acquired taste of a mixture of beef, mutton and cabbage. Chinese food take away shops and restaurant sell their home made style which are more refine and sweeter in taste. Well, I must say it once again that it is very true that dim sims are not as dim as they seem………By the way, my son does not like home made dim sims, he prefers the true cheaper Aussie dimmies.