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Yum Cha literally translated means "drink tea". It is the name of the traditional Cantonese form of brunch involving small dishes known as "dim sum" served with Chinese tea. Dim sum are small portions of food served in bamboo steamers meant to be shared by the table. 

A popular method of dim sum service since the 1960's involves a trolley or cart being pushed by a server. The server calls out the names of the dishes they have whilst pushing their cart between the tables and diners indicate whether they want the dishes being offered.

It is a wonderful communal way of eating with the wide variety of dishes to choose from. With so many dishes on offer, there is always something delicious to suit everyone!


While Mandarin is the official spoken language in China, there are actually many different types of Chinese. With over 80 million native speakers worldwide, Cantonese is the most commonly spoken dialect of Chinese after Mandarin.

Originating from the Guangzhou region of China (formally known as Canton), Cantonese is the main spoken language in Hong Kong, Macau, and the Southeastern Provinces of China. Cantonese is also widely spoken by Chinese communities in Western nations (such as New Zealand, Australia, Britain and America) as the majority of early immigrants came from Cantonese speaking regions. Cantonese is also widely spoken by ethnic Chinese communities in Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Cantonese is a tonal language with nine sounds and six phonetic tones (by comparison, Mandarin has four tones). This means saying a word with a slightly different inflection can completely change the meaning. 

There is no single formal system of romanization for Cantonese pronunciation to spell out Chinese word sounds using the English alphabet. The most commonly known systems are Yale Romanization and Jyutping. The Mandarin equivalent is called Pinyin.

As someone who considers English their main language, I found the Yale Romanization system to be the most intuitive and this is the system used for Cantonese pronunciation in Hurrah for Yum Cha! 


The Chinese characters used in Hurrah for Yum Cha! are Traditional Chinese characters.

Traditional Chinese characters were the official written form of Chinese since the 5th century AD. Traditional Chinese characters are still the dominant form of written Chinese in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. In the 1950s, the People's Republic of China introduced a system of Simplified Chinese characters in Mainland China to make the characters less complicated to write. Although Simplified Chinese is the official government endorsed written form, Traditional Chinese is still used informally in China.

One of the benefits of Traditional Chinese characters is the characters retain elements of the original pictogram form of historical Chinese which captures the meaning or sound of the word.

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