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Tristan McLeay wrote:


> On Fri, 12 Sep 2003, Roger Mills wrote:
>
> > Not quite as dire as my experience with mis-hearing Sino-English.  While
> > having dim-sum in Detroit (I know, an unlikely idea), we asked the
waitress
> > what was in one of the dumplings, and all 3 of us distinctly heard "cat
> > meat", which she finally clarified to [kw&p?mi?], which {crab}indeed it
> > turned out to be.  Delicious too.
>
> I'm not sure what 'dim-sum' is, but here in Melbourne there is a joke that
> dim-sims contain cat meat, or were originally made of cat meat, or some
> derivative thereof. Apparently the source was a fish-n-chips shop* in St
> Kilda (a suburb of Melbourne) which did it, and were subsequently shut
> down.
>
Urban Legend Alert!? According to my sister, some years back the Board of
Health raided a well-known Chin. restaurant in Miami/Ft.Lauderdale/Palm
Beach or wherever, and found a stash of cats in the freezer. Whatever the
truth of the matter, she has become very picky about what she orders in such
places.
Personally, I passed on the chance to sup on puppydog, in up-country
Indonesia.

> *I don't know what the sell in the UK, but in Australia, it isn't a
> fish-n-chips shop unless they sell fish and chips (and other things in
> batter), souvlaki, hamburgers, dimsims and springrolls.
>
That's quite a mix. In the US if you want echt-ethnic food, you have to go
to an ethnic restaurant, and outside of major cities, even those are always
very echt.

Dim sum (US spelling) isn't really a dish, but a style of light snack/meal,
where the waiters wheel around a cart loaded with little saucers with small
portions of goodies (mostly dumplings, but not entirely). Rather on the
order of Spanish tapas. With some exceptions, every plate costs the same;
your final bill depends on how many empty plates there are on your table.

According to my sources, dim sum means something like "touch the heart".

I didn't discover Chinese food until age 20 or so, in Boston.  There was a
Chin. restaurant in Sioux Falls SD, which specialized only in chop suey and
chow mein AFAIK, but the parents never took us there ("Oh, you wouldn't like
it").  Nowadays, out in the provinces, all Chinese rest. food seems to taste
the same; I'm beginning to suspect it all comes from a central warehouse in
Chicago or somewhere. (Those who live in NYC, San Francisco or LA won't
understand this.)