Dim sum, a centuries-old Cantonese tradition, is a feast for the eyes. This mid-day eat-fest, made up of mouthwatering tapas-sized dishes, is one of the China’s most colorful cultural rituals. From stunningly bright steamed greens, to deep, rich spare rib reds, dim sum epitomizes the diversity and variety simmering within Chinese cuisine.
Even more varied were the attendees at the Yale School of Management’s most recent Dim Sum Brunch, held at Chao Chao, New Haven’s sumptuous new Taiwanese eatery on February 9, 2014. Sharing a table with the Chinese organizers were Americans, Middle Easterners, and Africans from the classes of 2014, 2015, and the newly-founded Masters of Advanced Management program. These guests were lucky; advance RSVPs for this highly popular event had been snapped up in a lighting-fast 15 minutes.
Dim sum is a gradual, ever-changing meal. Attentive waiters and waitresses provide a steady stream of small plates (pork buns, vegetables, shrimp) to the table, which are then passed around to eager eaters. As you can imagine, this ebb-and-flow format is highly conducive to conversation. Some guests were close friends. Others were excited to catch up with folks they usually only see between classes. The rest took the opportunity to make totally new acquaintances.
Several themes would emerge over the course of the morning; the excitement of travel and experiencing new cultures, ideas for celebrating the Lunar New Year, and, of course, the ups and downs of internship and full-time recruiting. Food, of course, was a hot topic as well; while some students had never been exposed to dim sum, many were self-described “foodies,” excited to savor a new culinary experience.
Naturally, China was discussed too. “Dim sum brunch was a great way to hear from students different perspectives about current events on China. I was intrigued about how diverse our views could be on the same event. It not only provided students with common interest a platform for discussion, but also fostered communication between students with different cultural backgrounds,” said one attendee.
Cultural exchange may seem to come naturally in business school, but due to the rigorous demands of a typical MBA schedule, true exchanges are often more elusive than we think. I’m proud to help organize opportunities, like our brunch, that help the rich cultures of Yale mix. And even prouder that dim sum, a crucial part of the Chinese community, provides such a deliciously appropriate backdrop.
—Kelly Xu and the Dim Sum Brunch Organizers