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Aug 8, 2011

ക WhyAskWhy¿ (10) ~ DimSum 點心 & Finger Tapping

The saying goes "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" or rather "The shortest road to a man's heart is down the 3 inches throat?" Which ever way it would find the way to touch the heart thus the Chinese word *點心* DimSum [Cantonese] or Diǎn Xin [PinYin] which loosely translated to "touch d'heart". DimSum originated with the Cantonese in Southern China. Dumplings, delicate rolls and tiny balls which were filled with finely chopped vegetables, meat or fish, steamed in xiaolong, a little round bamboo basket.


Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Majority would usually love to drink Chinese tea with DimSum however the younger generation would prefer coke or icy cold soft drinks. Ever noticed during a yum cha 飲茶, drinking tea in any Chinese restaurant it is customary to pour tea for others during dim sum before filling one's own cup? A custom unique to the Chinese is to thank the person pouring the tea by tapping with one, two or three fingers on the table. Why*Ask*Why how this fingers tapping on the table started?

Emperor Qianlong (1711 -1799)  Image courtesy of Wikipedia
According to legend it traced back to Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) 乾隆帝; *Qiánlóngdì* of the Qing Dynasty, reigned the country for sixty years from 1735 who was a passionate poet and essayist. Due to his strong passion towards massive art collection, it has propelled him to travel incognito throughout the country with his landscape paintings to compare them with the actual landscapes. Emperor Qianlong was the most famous in Chinese history for his wénwǔ *文武*, civil and military ability. Further more he has the world's most sensitive taste buds who enjoyed an abundance of exotic delicacies during his travel which also acclaimed him the most renowned traveller of 'The six Southern and four Eastern tour'.

It was at one teahouse Emperor Qianlong was particularly fascinated by the way people were able to pour tea without spilling a drop. The Emperor decided to have a go to try out pouring for his companions. However his actions would constitute a breach of protocol for allowing his companions not to bow before him. If they bow in public his secret identity as a commoner would be exposed. The Emperor established a "bow" with their three fingers each time he refilled their cup - two fingers represented the prostrate arms and the middle finger the bowed head. His first try was a blunder spilling tea all over the table. Constant practice makes perfect eventually the Emperor succeeded without spilling a single drop. So happy tapping when someone fills up your tea cup as a sign to say thank you..Bananaz's Beleaf It Or Not..


Emoticon Banana bailando

80 Bunchesஇ:

Twilight Man said...

Hello Handsome Bananaz! You always amused me with your Chinese legends and beliefs. I wish my grandpa had shared such things with me. Never mind, I have brother Bananaz here to teach me.

You gave me a jolt to recall that it was 9 years ago when I visited Emperor Qianlong's palace in Chengde where he had few tea parlours within his large gardens. I am lousy at pouring tea or pissing! Spills! LMAO!!!

London Caller said...

I love dim sum!
Back then, you could order lots of dim sum.
If you didn't touch them, they would not charge you.
Now, if you order a lot even if you don't touch them, you have to pay, right?
Ha ha... Is it a good thing?

Small Kucing said...

ooo so that is the reason for the tapping.

wenn said...

indeed yum cha goes well with dim sum.

foongpc said...

Interesting! Thanks for sharing! Ooh! I love dim sum!! Thinking of going for breakfast dim sum this Sunday! : )

foongpc said...

Oh! I always like hot chinese tea with my dim sum. Please don't spoil the whole dim sum meal with Coke or soft drinks! Haha!!

TZ said...

Dim Sum is my favor... so when you wanna to go for another round of dim sum eh~

Isaac Tan said...

read the last paragraph like 3 times, and i'm glad to say, I finally got it!! Sorry, Isaac is a bit slow at 2am in the morning :)

Thanks for sharing Banana's BeLeaf It Or Not XD

bluedreamer27 said...

I love dumplings... especially the shark's fins
Though I'm really not into Tea hehe just can't take the bitter taste of it
Really? tapping fingers .. that's an interesting one... so is this being applied until today??

rainfield61 said...

That's a good story. I believe that you have done a lot of "research".

Well done.

Daisy said...

That is very interesting story about the tapping fingers, Bananaz. I learned something here today and that's always a good thing. :)

lina said...

You really have oodles of knowledge Bananaz!

lina said...

I think I learned about the tapping on my first ever visit to Shenzhen, taught by my very jovial tour guide that time.

Interesting to learn origins of a custom. :)

lina said...

So long haven't eaten dim sum. :(

lina said...

I prefer tea over soft drink if I go eat dim sum. :)

yvonne said...

O.O so this is what the finger tapping about... *paiseh* I've been seeing this gesture for the longest, since don't-know-when and I thought it was the hand signal to tell the pour-er, erm, "Ok, enough already". Muahahaha!

Next time if someone pour tea to me, I'll tap my finger "meaningfully", not "blindly".

eugene said...

And you are right,i mean damn right about the tapping of the three fingers,, i salute you,,, not many people would know this,,,,,

Hey bro,what soft wear you use to write in mandarin quickly, i love to blog in Mandarin, once in a while but i find Pingyin a hassle lah, so can share ha,, like typing fast fast one like english.

hey send my regards to Mango,ya, wishing her selling bungalows, apartment,condo,land and more business streaming in ya

Hayley said...

Interesting!
I've seen people doing the tapping and I thought it means 'thank you', even when people refilling the glass of liqour/beer =)

Sheoh Yan said...

Today only I learned a valueble lesson that what the finger tapping is for when people pouring tea. Thanks Wise Bananaz. It was originated from 乾隆帝, and 3 fingers are needed. Thank God that you tell me, otherwise I tap only the middle finger.lol!

suituapui said...

They say knocking on the table with two knuckles - politeness of a higher order. You are saying thank you ON YOUR KNEES... Hmmmm....when are you taking me for dim sum? I'll knock, knock, knock...everytime you serve me tea. LOL!!!

MODERN ROBINSON CRUSOE said...

Nice posting with background info on the origin of tapping finger - ah i learned sth from Pisang today

mNhL said...

Thks for sharing this interesting story.

Coincidentaly I also posted dim sum in my blog yesterday. haha....

Annie Q said...

thanks for sharing this. Now i know the reason behind when someone pour tea for you and you tap your finger, but i never do so, i will said thank you. hahahha When i first see why people tapping their finger, i find a bit strange, then i said to myself, maybe this is the culture here. I hardly drink tea, i am a coffee person. :D

sexyjessie said...

I will be the last person to pour myself the cup of tea if I'm the one who served. Kudos to me. ;)

I always thought the tapping means, "can I some more please?"

Now, I know the meaning of this tapping, thanks for sharing. :)

Pete said...

he he he, now I know....everytime I pour tea for other people, I become the emperor leh.....ha ha ha!

[SK] said...

oh yeah, very interesting post!! i have always been wondering why people tap their fingers, i know it's a signal to say thank you, but really i do not know how this became a practice..

[SK] said...

but i think it's two fingers that people practice now right?? haha, maybe because it's not for the Emperor so we just tap two fingers for the normal citizens.. maybe one day if the Datuk or Agung is going to pour tea for me, i will use three fingers then, hahaha!! :D

[SK] said...

i always think the best thing to go with dimsum is hot tea.. really do not like icy cold soft drinks to go with it.. hot tea can help to reduce the greasiness, so i guess more suitable; whereas icy cold drinks will just freeze the grease and stuck them inside the stomach.. oh, i realised that by just typing!! shall reduce my consumption on cold drinks then~~

London Caller said...

Thanks.
My area is safe!
But elsewhere is like a war zone!
Must go back to Malaysia.
Our mata is better!

Casendra said...

Very betul, hehehe... but like SK said, I also thought is 2 fingers instead of 3...

CH Voon said...

i am not the fan of dim sum, but sometimes it is ok to taste some... life mah... must try to experience :P

CH Voon said...

that mean i am old generation who still drink tea when eat dim sum.... not coke or other gas drink when taking dim sum

Yee Ling said...

never know this...thanks for sharing. But i still prefer to say thank you..ahhahahah

Alice Law said...

My husband should read this, he has this practice which he bows with his fingers whnever ppl pour tea to his cup.... and I 120% sure he didn't even knw its origin, simply tiru orang tua saje... tsk tsk!

Thx for the facts!

Wai Kitt said...

I just had dim sum last sunday for breakfast.Honestly i don't eat dim sum so often because it is so costly. You such a patience man to do such a research. Thanks for the facts.

Bananazஇ said...

Twilight Man இ Bananaz replacing your grandpa then..oh sounded so old. Not easy to pour tea without spilling. Some people would put tooth picks at the tea pot's mouth. Thought you meant having tea with Emperor Qianlong 9 years ago haha.

London Caller இ Think its only fair to stop people from touching but more to lessen 'hoarding'. Imagine all tables are full of DimSum and they take their own sweet time and Bananaz favorite har9 is out of stock but lying idle in other people's tables. The owner will lose out on the biz point of view if all were returned and those who cant wait left the restaurant without eating their favorite.

Small Kucing இ May be one of the reason, heard other version of the Emperor playing cheat with his officials during a game of Chinese chess. Each time the Emperor is losing would pour tea for his opponent and due to protocol the opponent has to get up do his bow and the Emperor would do a switch. Until one day the opponent objected and able to corner the Emperor using the finger tapping as bowing. haha. How true?

Bananazஇ said...

Wenn இ Yum cha and dim sum is like a marriage cant leave one another alone.

foongpc இ When Bananaz were younger would order kopi ice some more haha.

TZ இ Seldom go for dimsum very costly leh haha. Once or twice a month maybe.

Bananazஇ said...

Isaac Tan இ See too much boose got hangover or need to fine tune Bananaz's banana English haha. Glad you got it sorry after reading 3 times haha

bluedreamer27 இ Yeah finger tapping its happening everywhere in Malaysia until today. Not sure in HongKong, China and Taiwan have not be observant enough.

rainfield61 இ tQ have done lots of 'research' on Qianlong but the finger tapping is not 100% confirmed. Probably holds water knowing the Emperor loves food and very outgoing.

Bananazஇ said...

Daisy இ Not sure they do that in States. Perhaps if you go for DimSum in Chinatown the next time try to observe whether the locals tap their fingers when tea is poured.

lina இ Oh great they do that in Shenzhen! Meaning China would do the same then. Tea goes well with dimsum.

yvonne இ That's what I thought when I was a little boy. This is only a legend the hearsay could not be 100% true, but the tapping is to say thanks and widely practised.

Bananazஇ said...

eugene இ Right on bro..confirmed tapping of the 3 fingers eh. Sorry no software lah doing the longgggg way copy and paste into the MDBG Dictionary coz Bananaz dunno Chinese. Best person to check with should be [SK]. tQ will convey your greetings to ma Mango.

Hayley இ Yeah the finger tapping has extended to liqour and beer as well. Infact it is just to say thanks even pouring coffee also can tap the fingers if no time to say thanks or mouth is too full..haha.

Bananazஇ said...

Sheoh Yan இ Nowadays can see people tapping with one finger. Interesting if tapping with middle finger make sure its on the table and not towards the person haha.

suituapui இ Many forms of knocking and tapping more of courtesy. Can also use pen/handphone to knock on table haha. Your wish is my command knock three times on the ceiling if you wanna Dimsum twice on the pipe for BKT hehe.

MRC இ Glad we are all learning day by day, btw very often see this "sth" what does it means?

Bananazஇ said...

mNhL இ Sama sama..Yup saw your Dimsum entry phew lots of food.

Annie Q இ Now that you mention mostly men would do the tapping but seldom ladies. Coffee with Dimsum? haha

sexyjessie இ Sama sama Bananaz thought the same to say enough when younger haha.

Bananazஇ said...

Pete இ Emperor Pete 萬歲 萬歲 萬萬歲 *wànsuì wànsuì wànwànsuì* Long live your majesty.

[SK] இ Legend or hearsay but quite close to it. Yeah 2 fingers are quite common. If Emperor Pete pour for you must also say wànsuì..haha. Heard cold drinks are not good for health.

London Caller இ Glas you are away from the bridge over troubled water. Our mata? Sama juga no comments.

Bananazஇ said...

Casendra இ 2 fingers are even as Chinese belief good things come in pairs.

CH Voon இ Ah Mr BOOH our friend from Russia. Hope you are doing better now in Russia. Bananaz also not a fan of DimSum of course hot tea goes well with it.

Yee Ling இ Welcome back from your hiatus. Most ladies prefer not to tap haha.

Bananazஇ said...

Alice Law இ Dont under estimate him maybe he will tell you better tea and the fingers story haha.

Wai Kitt இ True we tend to compare the cost of a normal breakfast and Dimsum which could even be triple the price. Eat moderately should be OK but not everyday haha.

ladyviral said...

Wow! I never knew!
I always thought it was to tell the person filling up the tea cup when to stop the filling. Once the tapping stop means it is enough...

So I see! Wow! Learn seomthing new today :D.

HappySurfer said...

Dim sum, lovely for a leisurely brunch. I once went to a restaurant (more like a coffeeshop) for dim sum and was aghast when I noticed the pot of porridge was parked at the entrance (not covered somemore) where people went in and out. Luckily I didn't order the 'choak' otherwise I would have choked on it. Never gone back there since. Sigh..

Bananazஇ said...

ladyviral இ Oh many would have thought it was a stopping sign and Bananaz is not exception until I probe further.

HappySurfer இ My oh my adding 'pepper' into the 'choak' to choke the 'Dimsumers'. Things like this often happen in eateries. Ignorance is bliss, dirty eat dirty fat hahaha.

lena said...

hi, interesting to know about these finger tapping. so it's thank you? I actually thought it is something like,"just continue pouring the tea until i stop tapping". i thought it's like an indication to the person when to stop pouring. But i never tap, just not used to doing that..Next time i see my friend tapping, i must ask,'hey, do you know what are you tapping for?'

Merryn said...

interesting facts and of couse i beleaf what bananaz write! now i wanna go practise tap tap too :D

Faisal Admar said...

I love chinese tea :-) but never drink with dumpling.

Bananazஇ said...

Lena இ Yes its sort of quite close to say stop had enough but more for tQ purposes. Yes why not you try ask your friends when they tap their fingers. Bet most of them would say "I dunno my dad taps so I follow". Maybe some may have a different version haha.

Merryn இ Wah so confident to beleaf Bananaz even I also not certain muahaha.

Faisal Admar இ You love Chinese tea too guess those prepared at home with small pot and electric stove etc..

London Caller said...

Ha ha... Don't say like that lah!
Still got faith on our mata.
At least they can "misuse" ISA, catch all they think can pose a threat to our society mah!

khengsiong said...

Dim sum is Cantonese. I hope Chinese Malaysians won't rename it to dianxin...

EastCoastLife said...

A Taiwanese friend told me the story and since then, I always observe with amusement while diners tapped their fingers when the waiters or waitresses filled their tea cups. :P

EastCoastLife said...

I recently went to Guangzhou and oh my, there is such a wide variety of delicious and cheap dim sum which I cannot find in Singapore. Think I want to live there. :)

London Caller said...

Oh yes, I am off to France for my life and safety.
London is not longer safe!
Ha ha~ Kidding only.
I booked my holiday before the riots started.
So I see you next week.
Au revoir, mon ani (pardon my broken French)! Ha

Life Ramblings said...

i love dim sum but seems like it's getting more and more expensive these days. the quality has deteriorated tremendously and the portion is getting smaller too.

Life Ramblings said...

very hard to find cheap and good ones n'days.

Life Ramblings said...

i definitely like my dim sum with chinese tea. cokes and soft drinks are unhealthy and they're not my kind of thing.

Life Ramblings said...

The story behind the finger tapping is very fascinating. i'm not aware of such a thing until i read your post.

Life Ramblings said...

have a nice yam cha session with your loved ones this weekend and happy tapping!

Autumn Belle said...

I had always thought that the tea is to help dissolve away the high amount of fats that are present in dim sum and also Bah Kut Teh, hence good tea to go with good DS and BKT. Oh dear, I wonder if the younger generation drinks iced lemon tea or coke with BKT !

Thanks for the story about tapping fingers. Now I know what to do during yam cha session.

Lrong said...

Ooh, I should be having the dimsum next time I return home... your post makes me hungry for it...

Bananazஇ said...

London Caller இ Our mata need to earn their respect not much faith in them.

Khengsiong இ So used to the word DimSum better not changed it and get people confused just like from Peking to Beijing took a while to roll the tongue.

EastCoastLife இ Yeah Bananaz do tap even though by waiters/waitress more of a courtesy to say tQ. Oh Guangzhou has lots of to offer there.

Bananazஇ said...

London Caller இ Have fun in France and enjoy the food & views there. Bon appetite, merci beaucoup

Life Ramblings இ Another smart way of cutting cost and woo diners is to shrink the portion than to increase in price. Kids love coke sorry I was once like them haha but not now would go for hot drinks only. Try asking your friends the next time you see them tapping and see what they have to say..haha.

Autumn Belle இ Yeah the young kids do anything with coke. Read some email that the tea dissolved the fats but also slow down our digestion which is no good. How ah to believe or not to? Anyway its always better to drink hot tea than cold soft drinks. Happy tapping.

Lrong இ Japan dont have much DimSum but lots of raw food yeah. Happy DimSuming and tapping when you are back home haha.

Bengbeng said...

i jus love dimsum there is jus a littlebit of everything but in the end i jus end up mostly with the basics, chu bi pui, chee cheong fun n broth. guess i am not adventurous. and yes, i would love to invite u out for dimsum one day.. God willing, perhaps I will have a chance to meet Bananaz. Knowing that u r more in my age grp makes it more inviting.. bell bottomed era

MODERN ROBINSON CRUSOE said...

sth = short for something ; influenced by all shortcuts

One said...

For a bananaz, you know quite a bit. I've heard of the bowing story but not about touching the heart. I'll look at dim sum differently now. As you know, there are many 'bananaz'-like people around.

Quay Po Cooks said...

I learn the meaning the finger tapping from my Quay Lo not from my parents. In fact he knows the Chinese history better than I. In the sense, he is more Chinese and I am more Quay! Have wonderful week my friend.

Bananazஇ said...

Bengbeng இ Haha bell bottom kaki huh. One day when you are better we go makan.

MODERN ROBINSON CRUSOE இ AHA sth is short something! tQ.

One இ All these accumulation of of hearsay and mixing with non-Banana quite a lot.

Quay Po இ Not surprise Quay Lo are more Chinese than Chinese just the reverse like the egg outside white yoke yellow haha. You both have a wonderful weekend too.

Wenny said...

Pardon me ... i didn't know anything about this finger tapping thing until I read it here. Thanks for a free lesson that I should have learned years' ago ... [*bowing my head ashamed*]

Bananazஇ said...

Wenny இ You are not alone many do not know about it and how true izzit? haha. Cheers!

Lily Riani said...

i heard about this too, i love to hear on chinese custom.... do story more *wink wink*... i always want to know the bride combing hair custom, whats the significant

Leovi said...

That rich ... Yes, the stomach is very important in matters of the heart.

Wenny said...

Just as curious as Lily, I hope you'll write more about those wedding customs like why if a young one get married must walk under the elder sibling's pants and why must walk over the charcoal stove. I am still blurred on these stuff eventhough the elders tried to imposed them on us long longggggg time ago :)

London Caller said...

I'm back.
Alamak, I forgot to bring you baguettes or croissants.
Anyway, they don't make good kaya toasts. Ha!

Bananazஇ said...

Lily Riani இ You remember the hair combing thing haha. Shall try to dig ears deeper to hear more about Chinese customs for you. Selamat berbuka puasa.

Leovi இ To 'cure' hunger must touch the heart first then the stomach haha.

Wenny இ Heard about the pants more of respect to the elder sibling who is not married and the charcoal fire is to get rid of bad luck etc. Will do the same like mentioned to Lily and post about it.

London Caller இ Welcome back. Its perfectly OK with me its the thoughts that count that sudah kaya already. Merci beaucoup..~;).

Darma Yoga said...

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Bananazஇ said...

Darma Yoga இ tQ for dropping by. Shall visit yoru blogs soon.

 
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