We as humans have a very limited attention to detail and often mistake a lot of things with one another. A crocodile has often been called an alligator; A turtle is often called a tortoise; and Ryan Reynolds is often mistaken for Ryan Gosling! -that’s right folks; there are actually two of them. They aren’t the same person using two different names; just like our beloved street food ‘Momos’ aren’t using the name dim-sum to get into classier Chinese restaurants!
The terms Momos and Dim-sums have often been interchangeably used like Jacuzzi and hot-tubs or Xerox and photocopy. But, momos and Dim-sums are not quite the same. In fact they are more different than you’d think. Let’s start by getting to the root of things.
Dim sums originated from the Cantonese regions of China, while Momos are Tibetan. The Tibetans carried this recipe along with them while they travelled to Nepal, Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan. This is why you won’t find Momos in the menus of authentic Chinese restaurants.
The Momo Magic!
Momos are balls of stuffed dough with vegetables or meat, which are steamed or sometimes even fried. They are usually eaten independently with a piquant sauce, but can also be submerged in a broth to form Momo Soups.
Dim-Sums Are Actually Tea Snacks
Dim-sums however are far more complex compared to momos, owing largely to the presence of nearly 2000 different types of it. Anything that qualifies as a bite-sized snack from dumplings to spring rolls, pork buns, meatballs, puddings, cakes and tarts are all included in it. And while Momos always have a standard base made from white flour, Dim-sums (having a knack for being mysterious) can be made of rice flour, wheat starch and even potato starch.
In terms of purpose, Dim-sums are offered as an accompaniment with tea in China. They are light snacks that aren’t meant to fill your stomach. They are essentially eaten like you would eat a samosa or pakora with tea. Momos in contrast are quite filling, and is considered an unofficial dish of Tibet.
The Travel To India
Dim-sums arrived in India much earlier to Momos but weren’t able to gain as much popularity. This was mostly due to the fact that we weren’t letting go of our own chai-time snacks anytime soon. Those samosas I tell you… (Drools!!).
Momos on the other hand came around with a very cool and casual persona; as a cheap and easy-to-sell ‘anytime’ snack. Served with hot and spicy chili sauce (just the way we like it!), and easily available anywhere at cheap rates. It wasn’t long before entire cities were falling for the seduction of Momos.
The Secret of Dim-Sums
Just because you can’t find Dim-sums on every corner of a street, don’t start hating Dim-sums so soon. There is more to them than you can see. Dim-sum is actually a part of a traditional Cantonese tea-brunch called Yum Cha. In Yum Cha, tea is served endlessly, while an assortment of dim sums are continually displayed around. A partaker of Yum Cha calls out for the dim sums, and downs them with the endlessly served tea.
Dim-sum is actually a part of a tea-brunch activity, which is why they aren’t found on the streets. Yum Cha as a whole is a great recreational activity and particularly fun in large groups.
We foodies at Swiggy believe that every dish and every ingredient has a unique persona, and we cannot tolerate any injustice towards food in regard to identity, or anything else. So go ahead and order your favourite continental dish from the Swiggy app now!