In the old days all self-respecting Chinese restaurants that serves dimsum in the morning (typically from 6:00AM to 10:00AM only) would have a dimsum crew in the kitchen. The crew is led by a dim sum master chef which is trained in the art of dimsum making. dimsum chef is a distinct skill set from the chef that cooks other meals in the restaurant. This crew typically starts work as early as 2AM each day to prepare all the dimsum to be sold that day. While there may be 50 or so traditional Cantonese dimsum dishes most restaurants served may be 25 verity each day. There are always the most popular one like har gow 蝦餃 or shao mei 燒賣 that are served each day but for some you only find them by chance as the restaurant rotate the assortments. This crew mostly make every dish from scratch, including the verity of different wrapper skins. Today many of the classic dishes has all but vanished, leaving may be only 25 or so. Instead many newly invented ones take their place mainly due to the change in taste and to please foreign palate.
So why would one bother to make dimsum at home? It is much easier just go to a Chinese restaurant that serves them. The answer is quality and the hard to find dishes. I have eaten dimsum at many places in North America. Unfortunately except in big cities with huge Cantonese Chinese population and picking the best restaurants I found them often lacking and the tendency to race to the bottom due to sacrifice of quality and shortcuts. One biggest complaint is excessive use of MSG. Here in Portland, Oregon I stop going to dimsum many years. In this day and age even finding a truly good dimsum in Hong Kong and it's nearby cities is not easy without a lot of prior research and local knowledge. Now the nearest cities I would go eat dimsum is Richmond or Vancouver BC. I had good dimsum in San Jose, CA also.
Craving for dimsum I have made a few different dishes over the years. Very often I don't have all the necessary ingredients on hand so at time I would compromise.
steam beef meat ball with aged tangerine skin
i would transfer to serving plate if i have guest
very thin and uneven - also it tests one's patience to separate them
the secret behind xiao long bao 小籠包 is the jelly-like pork booth
flour dough for the skin
it is my first attempt to wrap xiao long bao - very rough looking
they are lined with napa cabbage leaves and steamed
traditionally one dip xiao long bao in red wine vinegar and julienne cut ginger root