Delicious glimpses into Asian food culture, practice and history; tempting festive dishes to recreate for friends and family; cute children let loose in the kitchen; a timely tapping of cyberspace for culinary inspiration – there’s appeal for everyone on dimsum.my!
Hot from the entertainment oven, Star Media Group’s video-on-demand service seeks to provide the best of regional content for discerning viewers. And for food-lovers, the region provides rich pickings indeed.
Here is a look at the shows on offer for foodies thus far – although you can expect the gastronomic cache to grow soon.
“We’ve got new shows coming in every week for dimsum,” said chief marketing officer Lam Swee Kim.
“So there is always something new to look forward to. Of course, we are very focused on food – that is after all, a subject Asians are very passionate about – even our service’s name is ‘dimsum’!”
A Bite of China
A magic carpet ride through China’s gastronomic and culinary history, A Bite of China condenses a vast subject into moreish, substantial nibbles. Filmed in over 60 locations throughout mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the well-made documentary provides a fascinating look at regional cuisine.
Well-known Chinese chefs and food personalities such as Shen Hongfei and Chua Lam were brought onboard as consultants, providing insider insight.
The series looks at China’s varied natural landscapes – from plateaus to mountains, forests, lakes and coastlines – which have resulted in a huge number of potential food sources, taking viewers from the precious matsutake mushrooms of the mountains to winter bamboo shoots, fried with spices in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces.
It’s a veritable taste trek through the country – exploring staples, like rice in the south and wheat in the north.
Watch the making of “burnt” tofu in Jianshu, a city in the Yunnan Province – where small pieces of fresh tofu are wrapped in gauze and have all the liquid squeezed out, then sun-dried till black and cooked over charcoal. They puff up and acquire a rich flavour, and are then eaten with various sauces.
And then there’s the fascinating ritual of eating birthday noodles in Ding Village, where everyone picks out the longest noodle from their own bowl and places it in the birthday boy or girl’s!
“We really liked that documentary element of the show, and with China coming to global attention so strongly, we thought it would be good to showcase the country,” said Lam. When A Bite of China was first aired on China Central Television, it drew an estimated 100 million viewers!
Another documentary, Tea’s cup runneth over with fascinating facts and insight about the industry behind one of the world’s most-consumed beverages.
“Tea is a six-episode series focusing on the people in the tea industry, as well as the history, production, how different qualities and tastes are achieved,” said Lam.
The series focuses on how their lives are intertwined with tea itself – featuring everyone from tea growers to aficionados – and putting a very human face on the subject.
That’s over 60 individuals in the tea industry worldwide, all eager to share their experiences and expertise – and let’s face it, tea can be a pretty mysterious subject for many!
“To me, every cup of tea has a story behind it, and it’s a subject about which there is so much to say.”
Stay Healthy Stay Happy
With modern society’s emphasis on health and eating well, this is definitely a show with timely appeal. It features snippets and tips on how to create an environment conducive to wellness, and how to build healthy life habits, as well as addressing specific health issues like high blood pressure.
Hosted by Zhang Pei Shan, Pan Huai Zong and Selina Ren Chia Hsuan, the Taiwanese series highlights alternative medicines, and looks at debunking health myths.
And of course, all this is underscored by recipes for dishes both delicious and nutritious – with a focus on different ingredients in each episode such as Chinese yams, pineapple and papayas.
The journey towards gourmand-hood often begins in the formative years, and eating well means knowing where your food comes from. Mini Cook seeks to take children on a farm-to-table journey, discovering fresh produce and what to do with it.
Mini Cook turns kitchen labour into a game under hosts Brother Lemon and Sister Yogurt, so that it really appeals to the young and young-at-heart.
“Mini Cook is under the Momo series, and it features a lot of educational and good moral content as well,” said Lam. “It’s a very interactive show which encourages kids to cook, as well as to respect the animals that are the sources of their food. There’s a lot of show and tell, but most of all, it’s just fun, with singing and dancing hosts!”
Plus, cute kids cooking their hearts out is always a winning formula.
Touch Screen Cuisine
All the dishes you could ever want at the touch of a screen – the Internet holds many answers, including those to your questions of what will whet your appetite and capture your foodie imagination.
But how many times have you seen a tempting-looking morsel online and tried it out at home only to achieve the epic kitchen fail? Touch Screen Cuisine is all about recipes that work in both theory and reality.
Premiering on dimsum.my, Touch Screen Cuisine sees celebrity guests cooking from the online recipes created by food bloggers – with the blogger in question also cooking, sharing tips and tricks, tasting the final dish from the celebrity, and occasionally even tweaking the end result for an even better creation.
To make it even more challenging, the guests – all Mediacorp artistes – don’t know what recipe they are cooking till the moment of truth. Episodes will feature Elvin Ng baking Owl Caramel Cookies, Kym Ng trying her hand at Teochew Png Kuih and Jeffrey Xu attempting Singapore Black Pepper Crab.
An entertaining show, with the added bonus of having other people test the reliability of recipes for you.
Feng Shu’s Cooking Class 2015 Chinese New Year Special
This popular Taiwanese cooking show features regional experts showing viewers how to cook dishes that are both simple enough for even the most inexperienced cooks, yet delicious.
Focusing on special fare for the Lunar New Year, episodes in this particular series include recipes for Chicken Soup with Red Cedar and Lettuce, Traditional Chicken with Black-eyed Peas and Rice Wine, the intriguingly-named Claypot Carp with Unique Marinade and a fragrant Pork Leg Stewed with Nuts, Star Anise and Cinnamon.
“There are always certain dishes for Chinese New Year, auspicious dishes and must-haves, and Feng Shu’s Cooking Class 2015 Chinese New Year Special will show viewers how to prepare some of them,” said Lam.
This is definitely a must-watch, with the Lunar New Year hot on the heels of the Christmas season.