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Dim sum is one of the most popular and delicate styles of Chinese food. It originated in the Cantonese-speaking areas of China centuries ago and has spread across the world. But dim sum is not just about the food. It’s an event as much as a meal. Families and friends gather together to enjoy the food, drink tea and chat, sometimes for hours.

In fact, the ritual of dim sum involves the tea as much as the food. The Cantonese even call eating dim sum “yum cha”, which basically means drinking tea. Lots of social customs have evolved around this event. Some rules, like washing the dishes and utensils with the tea, may have lost their original purpose as society advances. But they’re still practiced in many traditional dim sum restaurants.

Watch the video above to learn more about the customs associated with dim sum and how to really enjoy this classic Chinese cuisine.