Slideshow: The Serious Eats Guide to Dim Sum

Har gau (steamed shrimp dumplings)
Har gau (steamed shrimp dumplings)
Translucent shrimp dumplings with a wheat starch skin that's cut with tapioca to give it extra stretchiness and translucency. Pork, scallions, and bamboo shoots are often used to flavor it. These are one of the most difficult dumplings to make properly: the skin should be translucent yet sturdy, slightly chewy but not tough, with perfectly cooked, crisp shrimp inside.
Chiu-chao fan guo (steamed dumpling with pork, shrimp, and peanuts)
Chiu-chao fan guo (steamed dumpling with pork, shrimp, and peanuts)
A crunchy, fresh-tasting mix of shrimp, pork, and peanuts, often flavored with cilantro and crisp chunks of jicama. These are awesome if you're looking for a unique textural experience in your dumplings.
Siu mai (open-topped steamed pork or shrimp dumplings)
Siu mai (open-topped steamed pork or shrimp dumplings)
Open-topped steamed pork and/or shrimp dumplings made with a wheat flour wrapper, they often come topped with fish roe or grated carrot, or occasionally a single pea.
Jiu cai bau (steamed then fried chive dumplings)
Jiu cai bau (steamed then fried chive dumplings)
Wheat starch skin dumplings stuffed with chives that are subsequently pan-fried to give them a crisp crust.
Wu gok (taro dumplings)
Wu gok (taro dumplings)
Crispy, wispy, slightly sweet fried purple taro surrounding a center of savory pork filling, wu gok are a study in contrasts.
Cha siu bao (steamed barbecue pork-stuffed buns)
Cha siu bao (steamed barbecue pork-stuffed buns)
The classic steamed yeasted buns stuffed with Chinese-style barbecue pork (cha siu). The dough has a soft, dense crumb similar to American sandwich bread, while the filling is savory and sweet.
Cha siu sou (flaky barbecue pork-stuffed pastry)
Cha siu sou (flaky barbecue pork-stuffed pastry)
Sou is Chinese puff pastry with a flaky, slightly sweet flavor. They come stuffed with all kinds of things, but we like the pork-flavored ones.
Cheong fan (rolled rice noodles)
Cheong fan (rolled rice noodles)
One of our favorite dishes, fresh steamed rice noodles are rolled around a variety of fillings, most commonly beef, shrimp, or pork. They come drizzled with a sweet soy sauce.
Zhaliang (fried noodle-wrapped crullers)
Zhaliang (fried noodle-wrapped crullers)
An interesting variant on cheong fan, in this version, the slippery steamed rice noodles are wrapped around crispy, savory fried crullers flavored with soy, sesame, or hoisin sauce. Get'em fresh and eat'em fast to maximize that crisp/slippery/tender contrast.
Pei guen (steamed)
Pei guen (steamed)
The same as the fried version, but steamed instead of fried, and the ones you're more likely to see on dim sum carts. These often come flavored with bamboo shoot.
Lo baak gou (turnip cake)
Lo baak gou (turnip cake)
Shredded daikon radish is mixed with rice flour and flavored with ham, sausage, shrimp, or other vegetables before being pressed into cakes and fried. They're called turnip cakes, but are technically made with radish.
Taro cake
Taro cake
Like the Lo baak gou, but made with starchy taro. Soft and somewhat chewy on the inside, it gets a crisp crust from frying.
Fung zao (fried steamed chicken feet)
Fung zao (fried steamed chicken feet)
Also known as "phoenix talons," these are made by deep frying chicken feet until they become puffy and inflated, then stewing them in a sweet and savory sauce flavored with fermented soy beans. They have a unique, spongy, tender texture.
Ngao yuk kau (meatballs)
Ngao yuk kau (meatballs)
Steamed beef meatballs served with simmered tofu skin, they're often flavored with Worcestershire sauce.
Pai gwut (steamed ribs)
Pai gwut (steamed ribs)
Small sections of pork rib—usually no larger than 1/2-inch—that are coated in starch then steamed with fermented soy beans until they get a moist, slippery texture. They've got bones, so careful when you bite down!
Jin deui (fried glutinous rice balls)
Jin deui (fried glutinous rice balls)
Made from glutinous rice powder, these balls have the stretchy, chewy texture of Japanese mochi (which is essentially identical). They get coated with sesame seeds and deep-fried until they puff, and are then piped with a sweet filling like lotus paste or red bean paste.
Do fu fa (tofu pudding)
Do fu fa (tofu pudding)
Soft, silken tofu served with either a ginger or plain sugar syrup.
Ma lai go (Malaysian sponge cake)
Ma lai go (Malaysian sponge cake)
A soft, eggy, steamed sponge cake that comes from Malaysia.